FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A careful evaluation of Shalrie Joseph's on-field deportment reveals a few of the traits necessary to succeed as a coach.
He brings a palpable dose of intensity to every game. He cajoles his teammates into matching his demeanor and positioning themselves correctly. He displays a technical proficiency few holding midfielders within the league can match. He sets high expectations for himself and his teammates.
While those habits explain why Joseph has established himself as one of the league's preeminent midfielders and show why he may ponder a career in coaching, the New England Revolution captain must do more than rely on his playing experience to fuel his future in the game.
Joseph's drive to learn more about the technical approach to the game and start laying the groundwork for his post-career plans inspired him to take the USSF National B license course in Bradenton, Fla. in early January.
“I'm looking forward to doing some coaching after my career is done here,” Joseph told MLSsoccer.com last week before the Revolution departed for an 11-day excursion to Orlando. “I needed to get all of the credentials and requirements done and I wanted to get it out of the way now. Me and Khano (Smith, former Revolution midfielder) just went down during the offseason to get it done.”
Joseph's experience as a professional player facilitated the opportunity to start at such a high level on the coaching ladder. Coaches typically advance in lock-step fashion through a series of state coaching badges before entering the national licensing process. USSF, however, offers seasoned professional players the opportunity to waive into National B license courses if they have completed five years as a pro (or five years as an international player) and five years as a coach.
By coupling his MLS experience with his time as a youth coach, Joseph qualified to take the course at the IMG Academy. The nine-day curriculum offered Joseph the opportunity to expand his knowledge by learning from seasoned coaches.
“It's a great learning process,” Joseph said. “I got to work with some of the great coaches down there. [U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director] Claudio Reyna was down there, and I picked up a few points from him. It was good to talk to people about what it takes to be a good coach and what it takes to get the best out of your players. I definitely learned a lot.”
Joseph said he plans to apply his new knowledge to the benefit of young players around New England.
“I have a club (Shalrie Joseph SC) and my academy (Shalrie Joseph Soccer Academy) now, so it'll translate to them,” Joseph said. “It'll definitely help me to communicate a little bit more effectively with them to see what the kids are looking for and how to make them into better players.”
Although Joseph said he plans to continue his coaching endeavors off the field, he noted that he is also pleased to turn his attention toward his duties with the Revs as they embark the next phase of their preseason in Florida.
“It feels good to be back and running around here,” Joseph said. “(Last week) was the first week where we got to be running around here and playing with the ball a little bit. Everybody's a little bit wild and there's a little bit of hustle and bustle, but it feels good to get everybody back here to train.”