CARSON, Calif. – When Chivas USA dealt for Shalrie Joseph, they not only added quality and experience to the club but also did something else.
They added excitement.
Joseph's arrival has sent a jolt through his new teammates, who said they look forward to lining up alongside the longtime MLS superstar.
"For me he's been probably the best central midfielder that we've had in this league for a number of years," Chivas striker Juan Pablo Ángel said. "To have a player of his caliber here I think is going to be great. I hope we can help him settle in as soon as possible so he can have his full potential on the field but I am extremely, extremely excited to have him here."
Joseph joined the team after a deal that saw Blair Gavin, a second-round draft pick and allocation money head east. The former captain and heart and soul of the Revolution is not focused on helping Chivas make a run at the playoffs, and his new teammates would not have it any other way.
"He's a beast," Chivas defender Danny Califf said. "He also wants the ball all the time. He wants to build the game and he wants to help connect. He's also good on set pieces. He's going to step in and be really good for us right away."
While Joseph has created quite the stir within Chivas and the club's supporters, Joseph has also faced criticism. Some have questioned whether a 34-year-old Joseph can be effective in the Rojiblancos midfield.
Nonsense, Chivas players said.
"It's important to have guys who have been through the grind in MLS and what it means to be in a playoff run, with a lot of things on the line and a lot of things to play for," Chivas forward Alejandro Moreno said. "There's a calmness about guys who have been through those things before."
Bringing in a player of Joseph's caliber is significant no matter his age, teammates said. In fact, such an acquisition is preferable.
"The more experience you can have in the locker room, the better it is for your team," Califf said. "I always like to see when teams build around guys who have been successful in the league because it's tough when you're coming in from outside... If you've been in the league and have been successful, you can really bring something to the team right away."
Stepping in and finding success is something his teammates believe can happen.
"You can't argue with how many Best XIs he's been on and how many All-Star games he's been to," Califf said. "He's been doing this at a high level for a long time."
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.