The New England Revolution revealed this afternoon in a press release that captain Shalrie Joseph has changed his mind concerning his call-up to the Grenadian National Football Team for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup and will be staying in Foxboro with the Revs. The MLS All-Star midfielder was set to miss at least the next two league matches while on international duty.
I wish I could reveal more, but this was essentially an add-on during a regular weekly/semi-weekly update that is emailed to press and posted on the official website. Apparently he walked into training this morning and told the technical staff he decided to stick around.
While I'm always an advocate of players representing their country and heeding the call of the national squad, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to have Shalrie with the Revs instead of at the Gold Cup. Especially with Benny Feilhaber spraining his ankle in Saturday's match, keeping the highest-quality midfield players on the field in Revolution blue is of paramount importance.
No reasons were given for the change of heart. I'd be inclined to bet that Feilhaber's injury played a part in the decision but even if Benny stayed healthy he'd be gone for weeks. If anything, his ankle sprain could lead to him being replaced in the Gold Cup squad and allow him to rejoin the Revs even sooner than originally anticipated, so there's no reason why Joseph would feel the need to change his own plans in response. I think at the end of the day, playing for Grenada just doesn't carry the same weight for Shalrie that it does for others. Unlike many of his national teammates, he's in the middle of his club season and MLS does itself no favors with its lack of international breaks. That would also serve to partly explain why he only has 20 caps for the Spice Boys over the last eight years.
This also negates just about everything I wrote about last week when Shalrie announced he accepted the call-up. Now, only Benny's absence will have to be dealt with, so really things will probably just revert to the way they were earlier in the season. At the very least it should make the adjustments simpler for Steve Nicol over the next few weeks.