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February 8, 2013 at 1:02 PM

A stop and chat with Shalrie Joseph

We got a chance to speak with Sounders FC invitee (for now) Shalrie Joseph after Friday’s practice and here is a transcript of that interview…

* * *

(Welcome to Seattle…) “It’s nice to be here. A little cold, but I can’t complain about that.”

(But you’re used to cold, right?) “Yeah, 10 years in New England, I can’t be complaining, but it just feels good to be on the grass and running around and playing soccer again.”

(How are things for you right now with some uncertainty going into the season?) “Yeah, unsure definitely. It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks here and there in LA. Now I’m just here enjoying getting back to playing again. It feels good to train with some guys who actually appreciate what I can bring to a team, and for me it’s just trying to stamp my authority, get out there and kick the ball around and just get back to what I love doing, which is playing soccer.”

(Is it tough not really knowing what the future holds?) “Yeah, it’s a little bit frustrating, but I’m getting a great opportunity to come train with some good guys and train with a great organization. That’s all I’m looking forward to doing right now.”

(When did you kind of have a sense things weren’t going as planned at Chivas USA?) “I think Day 2, to be honest about it. Day 1, it was frustrating to be there and Day 2 I realized this might not be the place for me. And after speaking to the coach and hearing what the coach wanted, it definitely wasn’t the place for me and it was on to what I can do next for my career. I had the opportunity, I talked to my agent and he said, ‘Where would you like to go?’ and this was the first team I picked out of a hat that I wanted to play for. I know the organization, I know the coaches, I know some of the players and I think they have a winning organization. And I think I can be a great part of this if I get the opportunity. I wanted to come here and train and see what it’s like.”

(Did you know you wanted to move on last year or was it when the new coach came in?) “With all the changes they were making — the coaches, the staff and all of that that was going on — then I realized it. And speaking with the coach and seeing how he feels and seeing where the direction of the team was going, I knew I wasn’t going to be a part of it. Once I realized that, it was just where I wanted to play and where I wanted to finish my career. I think this is one of the great organizations in the league right now and I want to be a part of it.”

(What do you think about fitting into this system?) “It’s just the style of play. (Coach Sigi Schmid) loves keeping the ball. He pushes people and motivates them to be better players. The way they’ve been winning the U.S. Open Cup and the way they win in each and every year in the league, I think this is a good place for me, especially at this point in my career. I want to win a trophy, I want to get back to a championship, and I think this team — if I can be a part of it — I think they can make that jump.”

(Do you have any sense positionally where you might fit in?) “Naw, honestly I just want to play. As long as I’m (in the starting lineup) and getting an opportunity to play and getting an opportunity to contribute to the team, it doesn’t matter what position it is for me. They’ll figure it out once I get out there playing and performing in practice. They’ll figure it out. The coaching staff will figure out where they can use me best.”

(Do you have an existing relationship with Schmid?) “We’ve been seeing each other in the hotels before games, but I know him personally, and he’s just a great person. He’s a great guy. He’s a great coach. He knows his stuff. He knows the game. He understands the game. As I said, at this point in my career, I want to be with somebody who understands the game and who can push me and motivate me and take me to that next level, which is trying to win a championship and get back to that — winning trophies.”

(How many of these guys do you know?) “I know EJ. I know Alonso from just playing against him. Zakuani. Shavar Thomas, who’s been there. I know a lot of guys from just playing against them and they all show mutual respect. For me to come in here, first thing I feel right at home already. They’ve had open arms. It feels great just talking to them about what the organization is like, what Sigi is like. It’s all top notch and it’s all thumbs up from everybody.”

(How would you describe today’s experience?) “Great — just one way to describe it. As I said, they had open arms, they’ve told me what the system is like, they told me what Sigi is like, what the coaches expect. These are players that I don’t really know, but I’ve played against really. They just told me what Sigi is like, what the coaching staff is like, as I said, and it feels great having guys trying to teach you, trying to tell you and trying to help you. That’s the kind of team I want to be around.”

(What obstacles to do you think might prevent this move?) “I’m sure there are a couple obstacles. Financially it might be hard for them — obviously there’s a cap for each team — but hopefully they can make it work. Like I said, this was one of the first organizations I picked out of a hat that I wanted to be a part of and hopefully it’ll work out in the next couple of weeks. … Hopefully I’ll be wearing a Sounders uniform.”


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