This season barely started for Grenadian international Shalrie Joseph. The Revolution midfielder has missed eight matches through World Cup qualifiers and an injury sustained while participating in qualifying.
Yet, the exposure of playing against the United States is just one factor in Joseph's selection to this weekend's All-Star Game in Washington.
"I was a little surprised," said Joseph. "I am proud of the opportunity to play in the All-Star Game. I was surprised because I had missed a few games due to injuries and World Cup qualifying."
Joseph's burgeoning reputation around the league as a classy defensive midfielder with the ability to win tackles and distribute was only enhanced by his performances against the United States. Joseph admits that his growing stature around the league may have contributed to his All-Star selection, but he believes that the opinion of his teammates is more crucial than any plaudits.
"I know my teammates know what type of player I am and what I can do on the field," said Joseph. "I think playing against the United States with Grenada helped as well. It was [East head coach Peter Nowak's] decision."
Joseph points to one underrated facet in adjusting to players from different teams for the All-Star Game: scouting. The familiarity with other key players around the league could help the team gel in a one-off match, according to Joseph.
"The coaches in this league do a great job of scouting," said Joseph. "You get a feel for the opponent before you even play them. I think it will help when we're on the same side."
One matter that leaves Joseph at a loss for words is his contract situation. Although contract terms are not disclosed by MLS, it is widely believed that Joseph is playing at or near the minimum salary this season.
Joseph believes that his contract does not match either the level of his play or the respect he has garnered around the league, but he admits there is nothing to be done about it during this season.
"It hurts really badly when I look at [my contract]," said Joseph. "Nothing will happen with the contract this season. I'm just going to put it behind me and get on with playing."
The Revolution is in the Eastern Conference cellar at the break, but the side is unbeaten in its past four league games. However, that stretch has only yielded six points. Joseph admits that the Revolution needs to find a way to win games in order to climb the table.
"It's been loud and clear for the past three games," said Joseph. "We're not far behind, but we need to start winning games."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.