When Shalrie Joseph left Sounders training in Tukwila more than a week ago, coach Sigi Schmid indicated that might be the last the Sounders saw of him.
That’s why it was a bit of a surprise when the Sounders announced their DP signing of Joseph on Tuesday, which was followed by him re-joining the club in Tucson yesterday.
He talks about the deal and his future in his interview:
On what he did since that visit to Seattle: I was away trying to get fit. I just flew in (Wednesday). I was in Boston – I was a little bit in LA and Boston. I was traveling a little bit and finally got here and finally got to meet the team and finally get to see the players. It looked beautiful out there tonight. I want time to be a part of that.
On Schmid’s indication that a deal might not work: You have to talk to Sigi about why he made it sound like that, but I thought I had a good two days. As he said – he was right – I wasn’t fit, I wasn’t sharp, I definitely had a calf strain that is still bothering me. But he told me the truth, and we had a conversation one-on-one and I made sure I tell him how I feel and he conveyed his message to me likewise. He knows my talent, he knows what I bring to this team, and he knows what I contribute. I’m here and that’s all that counts right now.
On the deal that kept him a DP: There’s no doubt about it, I’m happy with about that. But at the end of the day I have to make sure I’m coming to practice, make sure I work hard, make sure I show them I’m worth this salary and make sure I bring to this team whatever it is they need and make sure I come to practice every day and contribute to the winning.
On his fitness plan: I’m just trying to get my calf and get my body into shape. … The calf is still bothering me. It’s so tight. So we’re just taking it day for day and trying to get back into shape. The guys are ahead in the preseason schedule now, and I’m in a box for to speak. I’m going to take a couple of days, a couple of weeks, whatever it takes and try to catch up and make sure I’m ready to go 100 percent. … The calf is a little tight and bothering me, but I’m not game sharp or game fit yet. … It’s a long season. I’m just going to be ready once my body tells me it’s time to go.
On his off-season: It’s been kind of frustrating not knowing where I’m going to play. But I say everything worked out in the end. This is where I want to play, and this is where I want to be, and also full bore ahead right now in making sure I’m 100 percent sharp and fit and ready to contribute to this team.
On his potential role on a Sounders team that already has a Best XI-quality defensive midfielder: (Osvaldo Alonso), I think he’s probably the best in the league right now, hands down. And not just him alone, but this team right now, they’ve got 11 players in the starting 11 that any given day these guys could start. That’s what makes this team so good. They have depth at every position. I’m just going to come in and contribute, push these guys, push everybody and make sure we excel every time we get out there on the practice field.
On if Schmid has discussed his role: We’ll have this conversation once I’m healthy and once I’m fit and practicing day in and day out, then we can talk about that. But right now it’s about the team and making sure I get ready and fit and sharp.
On if he’d play center back: I’ll play anywhere as long as I’m getting game, as long as I’m contributing and helping us win game. That’s all I care about. It doesn’t matter about position. They’ll find the best position for me. (Schmid) will find the best position for me. He’s seen me play so many years. And I’ve known him personally. … He’ll tell me where to play and I’ll definitely be ready for that.
On his lack of fit with Chivas USA: Once in the off-season I realized Chivas wasn’t the place I wanted to be, and I put in a call to my agent and he asked me a couple of places, and this was the first place I wanted to go – just because of the players on the team and the coaching staff and the organization. I’ve heard so many good things about them internationally and around the league. Steve Zakuani, I’ve talked to Eddie Johnson, all these guys have given high praises for the Seattle organization. I realize I’m on the tail end of my career, and I want a chance to win a championship and I think this is the team that gives me the best chance to win.
On his current feelings about Chivas: I’m over it. I wish them good luck in the future.