Another season of Revolution Soccer has come and gone without silverware, and as we're left to ponder where things went wrong, there's a story flying slightly under the radar ahead of the home finale against Columbus on Saturday night: This could be the last time we see Shalrie Joseph in a Revs uniform on the Gillette Stadium field. Scary thought, isn't it? Joseph has been the face of this team (more so in the post-Twellman era) for the better part of a decade and this incredible run might just be coming to an end.
I can't help but get a little emotional at the end of the season every year, simply because when you follow the team so closely (especially the last few years as a blogger) it's almost like a piece of my life goes with them, and having to envision a life without Shalrie isn't a thought I wanted to have going into the offseason. I always envisioned the Revolution captain to go out with huge fanfare, on his terms, in front of all of the supporters who've loved him over the years, garnering all of the love and admiration he deserves.
All of this speculation, of course, stems from a tweet sent out by the 2003 second-round draft pick in midseason, when Shalrie Joseph sent this to Kyle Martino, "My heart skip a beat when I just read the news. I know I won't be back next year so am just happy to give it all this year.." The word "shockwaves" comes to mind when I recall what the reaction was like throughout the American soccer world in the days that followed. Even though Shalrie sort of back-tracked on the statement later on, we all knew that a lot of truth came within that tweet.
Like a lovestruck teenager in a summer fling, we all ignored the fact that it was coming to an end soon. The season continued, matches were played, new players joined up, and it was all business as usual for the team's captain. However, we're two matches away from the end of another season, and all of the emotion that the controversial tweet brought out in us has returned, only this time, we can't push the feelings back down inside, because the end of an era could be only two weeks away.
So, if this is it for Shalrie in New England, let me be the first to publicly say THANK YOU. You'll be remembered quite fondly (by this blogger, at least) as the kind-hearted, soft-spoken, powerful force in the center of the Revolution midfield for nearly a decade. You were always gracious and respectful in every interaction I ever had with you, were great with the youth soccer players and their families, and in the face of some of the most difficult times this organization has ever seen, you were always the steady, calming influence in the center of it all.