[MLS SPOTLIGHT] In the wake of dismissing head coach Steve Nicol and replacing him with Jay Heaps, the Revs have signed two of Heaps' longest-serving teammates, Matt Reis and Shalrie Joseph, to new contracts.
New England has begun its rebuilding for 2012 by re-signing two players have worn the club’s colors for nearly a decade.
Midfielder Joseph and goalkeeper Matt Reis have re-upped with the Revs to extend connections that date back to the 2003 season. They helped the Revs reach three straight MLS Cup finals (2005, 2006, 2007) and have labored through tougher times recently as New England has missed the playoffs the past two seasons.
Joseph’s deal increases his compensation sufficiently to qualify him for Designated Player status, though in 2011 he already came very close to the DP threshold of $500,000 per season at a base salary of $435,000. Specific terms of his deal, as well as that of Reis, weren’t released.
“We've been working on it for the last couple of weeks now trying to dot the i’s and cross the t's, but we finally got it done today,” Joseph told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday. “It's just been signed. It feels great. I can rest assured knowing that I'm going to be here for 2012 and beyond to try to get us back to our winning ways.”
Joseph, 33, led the team in scoring with eight goals during a dismal season of just five wins in 34 games. The poor performance prompted team owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft to part ways with Nicol, who had led the Revs to four appearances in MLS Cup finals since taking over in 2002. Heaps finished his nine-year playing career with the Revs in 2008 and was named to the post last month.
Jospeph, a native of Grenada, has been named to the league’s Best XI four times while playing attacking midfielder and forward in addition to his normal role as central midfielder. He has started more games (239) for the Revs than any other player.
Shortly after the announcement of Joseph’s signing, he posed with Reis and a few other teammates in new jerseys the team will wear next season.
“I'm glad Matt re-signed too and that he's going to be here,” Joseph said. “He had an awesome year last year. I look forward to him being healthy again.
"With Jay making the changes and the key additions we need, I think we're going to start to get back to our ways. We're going to start winning and start getting back to our tradition of getting back to MLS Cup and trying to win one.”
Reis, 36, is a four-time All-Star who holds the team goalkeeping records in games (215), goals against average (1.33), wins (80), saves (868), and shutouts (55). He came to the Revs during the 2003 season in a trade with the Galaxy, which had drafted him out of UCLA in 1998. He battled through the effects of three surgeries in 2010 to make 27 starts this season and finish second in the league with 111 saves.