The New England Revolution have traded club captain and longtime loyal soldier Shalrie Joseph to Chivas USA in exchange for Blair Gavin, the Goats' natural second-round pick in the 2013 SuperDraft, and allocation money. Joseph, one of the Revs' two designated players, leaves New England for the first time since his professional career began.
"Trading Shalrie was a not a decision we made easily," General Manager Michael Burns said. "Shalrie has been one of the faces of the club for a decade, but we had to take a hard look at our roster and decide where we needed to be as we look toward the future. Shalrie has accomplished so much as a member of the Revs, and we wish him nothing but best wishes as he moves on to the next stage in his career with Chivas USA.
"With this trade, we gain a significant amount of roster flexibility and add a player in Blair Gavin who has great potential, an additional draft pick next year, plus allocation money - all of which provides us options to improve the team," Burns continued.
Joseph, 34, was drafted by the Revolution in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft, but did not sign with the team until just before the 2003 season. After arriving, Joseph served 10 seasons in the New England midfield, evolving into one of the most talented and dominant defensive midfielders in the league. His potent combination of size, tenacity, athleticism, and deceptive technical skill anchored the Revolution midfield through the most successful period in the club's history, including three MLS Cup Final appearances (2005-2007).
The Grenadian international leaves with a major imprint in the club record books as well. He stands as the team's all-time leader in appearances (261), starts (254), minutes played (22,867), penalty-kick goals (12), and fouls suffered (421). He ranks second in shots (321), shots on goal (130) and game-winning assists (13), third in assists (34) and fourth in goals (37).
Furthermore, while in Foxboro, Joseph earned himself eight selections to the MLS All-Star team, as well as four MLS Best XI nods (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009). A finalist for the 2009 MLS MVP award, Joseph also helped drive the Revolution to a league-record six straight appearances in the Eastern Conference Championship game, winning three.
"This was a very difficult decision for us to make," said head coach Jay Heaps, who played with Joseph for the Revs from 2003-2009. "For as long as I can remember, Shalrie has been the Revolution's anchor and one of the team's leaders. Through the years, he helped set the tone every day, gave everything he had for the Revs and was consummate teammate. As his coach - and his friend - we'll miss Shalrie on the field and in the locker room every day, but we have to look ahead and make decisions with the best interest of the club in mind. We wish Shalrie all the best as he moves on."
In Blair Gavin, the Revs receive a 23-year old defensive midfielder with upside and a much lighter contract. According to MLSPU releases, Gavin is earning $60,000 in guaranteed compensation, compared against Shalrie's DP contract that reportedly counts around $350,000 on the books. Gavin, a college standout at Akron, has made 43 appearances for the Goats, scoring three goals and five assists after being drafted 10th overall in the 2010 SuperDraft.
Speculation is now running wild about what this could mean for the Revolution as the season continues. Clearing up this cap space could very well be an indicator that New England is poised for a big-time move, and the name on everyone's lips is USA captain and first-choice defender Carlos Bocanegra. The Revs hold the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order, giving them the first crack at Bocanegra if he agrees to terms with MLS.
However, it is also important to remember that New England is basically out of the playoff picture at this point. According to Sean Donahue of New England Soccer Today, the Revs have a 4.2% chance of making the playoffs in 2012. A blockbuster move may not be on the cards anymore; the Revolution front office may have just seen a good opportunity to get some value for Shalrie now, rather than waiting for diminished - or nonexistent - returns in the offseason.
Either way, stay tuned to this space for more as news breaks and things continue to develop.
What do you think of the Shalrie trade? Was it time, or is this a big mistake? Did the Revs get good value? Talk to us in the comments!