Last week, the New England Revolution traded away captain, 10-year veteran, and face of the franchise Shalrie Joseph. Since then, plenty of stories and opinion have come out about the why and the how, and everyone's had their chance to chime in on whether or not it was a good move.
At this point, it doesn't matter. What's done is done, and the best thing we can do now is cherish the memories and move on. On that note, we at The Bent Musket would like to share our best Shalrie memories with you. Please share yours with us in the comments, and maybe Shalrie will read this and know that he'll always have a home in New England.
Steve: My favorite Shalrie memory has nothing to do with his play on the pitch, and it's very recent. Actually, it's from this season.
I played in the Revolution media game with a bunch of other media personalities from the New England area. We were split into five teams of roughly seven or so players (that's how many were on my team, anyway), and then assigned Revs players as coaches. My team was assigned several, but Shalrie Joseph was among them.
Some of the players didn't take the event very seriously, mailing it in and basically just staying aloof, while some players looked downright angry to be there. Not Shalrie. Joseph was warm, friendly, animated, and looked to be having a damn good time with us. It's not as though any of us were any good at soccer, and it's likely that more than one of us had said or written something quite unflattering about Joseph in the past, but that didn't stop him from extending us a kindness that really showed through.
Shalrie's on-pitch exploits are well-documented, and I thank him for them and remember them fondly. But for me, it's the Shalrie that I spoke to after games, who was there at Gillette for the Media game, who I will remember best, and I will miss most.
Corey: The Shalrie Joseph memory I would like to submit is the Revs vs. RSL on the 4th of July, 2011. This was probably the worst officiated game I have ever watched--2 PK's, 2 totally undeserved red cards--I mean it was just awful (this was the game where Jason Kreis reportedly told Steve Nicol that the two of them should just leave the pitch all together). The Revs came out miraculously with a 2 goal lead until RSL answered both. In the second half around the 60th minute or so, Shalrie put the Revs up again off a gorgeous free-kick header. Sadly, Espindola would eventually tie it again after Ryan Cochrane was sent off, and the game ended 3-3. But all along, despite the absolutely atrocious refereeing from Yader Reyes, there was Shalrie, in the middle of it all, keeping the Revs in it until the end.
It was already a dark period of the season and things were looking pretty bad for the Revs. Plus they were at Rio Tinto where they can hardly ever get a result. But, somehow, Shalrie Joseph found a way to keep his team in it. In that game, everything we love about Shalrie was there: the way he leads by example, the way he works his ass off until the final whistle, and the way he keeps believing that the Revs could still win, even when it looked nearly impossible. Shalrie may be gone, but anyone who has had the privilege of playing alongside him will undoubtedly continue those traditions. It's the New England way, and we have him to thank for that.
Matty: 2008 SuperLiga Final, Kamara had just put the Dynamo ahead in the first period of extra time in the 98th minute, and when it looked like New England was headed for another difficult defeat in a final, the Captain stepped up.
Sitting in the fifth row of the Fort, I remember seeing Shalrie break open at the top of the box and slot home the tying goal four minutes later. Not only did he step up in a big spot, he also buried his penalty kick moments later in the shootout. Gillette exploded with confetti, and finally, a trophy celebration for the Revs.
That's what I remember most about the Captain: always coming up big when we needed him on the field.
Abram: Shalrie joined New England right around the time I really began following them closely, which was after the 2002 MLS Cup. There are lots of individual memories of the good times that I have about the man, and for me he is the best Revolution player ever (all due respect to Ralston, Dempsey and Twellman). That said, most of my memories of him are of the non-playoff years. The bad times. The times when he played everything except goalie.
Most people's Shalrie memories will involve something that is important. My best memory of Shalrie is most likely not even an important game in the grand scheme of things. During the 2011 season, while attending graduate school in Alabama, I was watching a Revolution game (on MatchDay Live) and my brother-in-law decided to see it with me. He's always been a big EPL fan. When the lineups were introduced, I went on a giant rant about Shalrie being played as a forward. In my mind it was the most ridiculous of many ridiculous Steve Nicol moves of the year. My brother-in-law then joined in on the rant. Despite never really watching MLS, he started saying that it shows the quality of the league that a team can just throw a defensive midfielder into the role of forward and expect him to do anything.
The game was maybe seven minutes in and Shalrie scored off a header. I don't remember the opponent, I don't even remember the final score; I just remembered that one goal. I remember the jubilation that he had proved me wrong. I also remember watching him link up time and time again - out of position - with the rest of the team. I remember watching him boss the midfield, despite being in an incredibly advanced role. I also remember my brother-in-law, at the end of the game, talking about the Shalrie's quality. Asking me why Shalrie was in MLS. To me, this game was everything I loved about Shalrie even though he wasn't in his normal spot. The best memories I have of Shalrie are always those moments where you can't figure why he's in New England. And to me, the moment when my brother-in-law realized that there is indeed very high quality in MLS - due to Shalrie - is my favorite memory of him.
Brendan: Opening day 2011. March 26th we opened up the 2011 campaign against DC United. I had invited tons of newbies to the match to try to indoctrinate them into the culture and club. In retrospect 2011 became the worst year to make a sales pitch to my friends.
I was standing in the Fort with my rookie friends explaining to them who's who on the club. I was explaining to him who Shalrie Joseph was, how he was a general etc. He responded asking something like, "oh dude's a bruiser" and I had to explain yes he is but he also has a Figo-like quality and vision, being able to connect a through ball perfectly across the field. I could see my friend struggling to understand what a through ball was or understand my point.
Thank God actions speak louder than words because in the 8th minute Shalrie, from midfield, launched a dart to Zack Schilawski that hit him on the money which led to the first goal of the night.
I didn't have to explain what I was talking about any more. If there was any doubt in my friend's mind of Shalrie's ability it was silenced in the 17th minutes when he walked up to his take a penalty kick, with his calm as a monk on morphine demeanor. He hammered it home with ease.