Remember when former New England Revolution players ran for the hills after their time in New England? Not anymore, Bruce Arena has sought to that. On Tuesday the Revs announced that club legend Sharlie Joseph would be joining the Academy Coaching Staff.
“It’s a great feeling to be back where I belong, a place that made my dreams come true,” Joseph said. “Now I have one of the most important jobs and that’s to try and inspire the next generation of Academy players to be great and achieve their dreams.”
Joseph will join the organization as the head coach fo the Under-15s and will work under Bryan Scales the Director of Youth Development and Curt Onalfo the clubs Technical Director. The Grenada international since retiring from professional soccer has already shown an ability to coach. Joseph served as the head coach of the Grenada National Team in 2018-19 and helped them qualify for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and a promotion to League A in the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League. After his departure with Grenada, Joseph has been working with the Revolution Academy in an unofficial capacity.
“Shalrie was one of the most impactful players in MLS over a 10-year span,” Revolution Director of Youth Development Bryan Scales said. “His ability to compete at the highest level was the catalyst of those top Revolution teams of the 2000s. We look forward to having him back on the field to help develop the next generation of New England Revolution homegrown players.”
The 42-year-old is known for being a club legend after being drafted 14th overall in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft and setting a record for both games played and started between 2003-2012 & 2014. In his Revs career, he was named to the MLS ALl-Star team seven consecutive times and was apart of a team that went to three straight Eastern Conference titles.
“Shalrie is without question one of the greatest players to ever put on a Revolution uniform, and it is with great excitement that we welcome him back to a role with the club,” Revolution President Brian Bilello added. “It is no mistake that we chose Shalrie as one of the players to be prominently honored on the walls of our new training center, as the example he set on and off the field make him the perfect role model to inspire and develop the next wave of Revolution players.”
MLS Youth Development Platform Expanding
The MLS youth program is expanding. On Tuesday the league announced that its new youth development platform would be opening the application process for youth clubs to join their 94 founding member clubs.
According to the league, they will allow a limited number of new clubs with a number of criteria those interested have to check before joining. Player identification, player development philosophy, quality coaches and staff, and a proper environment that fosters development and performance are just some of the things MLS is looking for.
Applications will be accepted through July 17th but the league is looking for clubs to submit by July 4th. This platform was launched a few months back by MLS after the USSF’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy decided to pack it in and give up on the development of the youth game in the United States.
“Following an exciting launch to the elite youth development platform, MLS is looking to expand its inaugural 2020 season of competition with additional elite-level clubs. The existing members of this competition platform are committed to building a collaborative and integrated environment and we’re excited at the prospect of strengthening our foundation with clubs who share similar values,” said Fred Lipka, Vice President and Technical Director of MLS Player Development.
Photo Credit: NEFC
From a local perspective the New England Revolution, FC Greater Boston Bolts, NEFC, and Valeo Futbol Club are Massachusetts representatives in the program thus far. Rhode Island does not have a participating club thus far, so here’s to encouraging those involved in the youth game to step up and join the MLS platform which will provide youth players with a platform to not only impress MLS clubs but also open them up to collegiate and foreign opportunities.
It is worth noting that Brett Johnson who is spearheading the USL Pawtucket project also owns a stake in Phoenix Rising FC which will participate in the MLS youth development platform. For what it’s worth, Johnson wants to create a top tier youth program in Pawtucket down the road.
“I have every interest and aspiration of emulating that in the state of Rhode Island. And again, there are countless what I call hero’s that are working with boys and girls youth sports and we want to have relationships with them and we want to find ways to support them.”Brett Johnson in a Q&A with Trifecta Sports in March on Youth Development
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