DL - Shalrie Joseph

Shalrie Joseph making strides

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It has been a long, frustrating road to recovery for Shalrie Joseph, but the New England Revolution midfielder’s hard work is beginning to pay off.

It’s been nearly a year since Joseph has seen the gameday pitch, but after months of rehabbing a left calf strain, he has begun to integrate into full team activities as he nears a return to action.

“Every day is a small step for me,” Joseph told MLSsoccer.com. “Right now, it’s just maintaining where I am and making sure my fitness level is good, making sure I’m sharp when I come out here.”

By his own admission, his hard work and determination in trying to get back may have been his downfall at times.

Joseph had been close to returning earlier in the season, shortly after rejoining the Revs when he was obtained via the Waiver Draft in April, but he re-tweaked the injury, something that would rear its head on a few occasions.

“It took a lot longer [than expected],” said Joseph on the recovery process. “Earlier in the season I was here practicing and I was a day away [for returning], then I pulled it again. I’ve pulled it a couple of times this year.”

“With Shalrie, he’ll work through anything,” said coach Jay Heaps. “I think that’s probably why he’s had the injury of late. He wants to push through everything.”

It’s hard to fully fault the 35-year-old for trying to push back into the mix as he has worked tirelessly to return to full health, running endless laps on the practice field behind Gillette Stadium, even as his teammates were in the locker room gearing up for matches.

Prior to the Revs last game versus New York on August 2nd, Joseph was took the small step of being bumped up from ‘Out’ to ‘Questionable’ on the team’s injury report, a true sign that things were finally going in the proper direction.

The next step will be Joseph getting added to the gameday 18, something he feels he is ready for, while the coaching staff remains cautiously optimistic.

“I think we’re going to guide his role a little bit,” said Heaps. “Small things first. We want to make sure we use him in the right capacity to make sure we don’t have any setbacks.”

“I just got to be ready,” said Joseph. “I’m showing that I’m ready. I’ve practiced hard, shown what I’m capable of and hopefully he’ll give me the nod this weekend.”