New England stalwarts Shalrie Joseph and Matt Reis appear close to sealing a return to the Revolution in 2012.
Joseph (out of contract) and Reis (option year) entered the offseason with some measure of uncertainty about their futures with the club, but Revolution general manager Michael Burns said the club believes that both players will return next season.
“We're very optimistic that both players are going to return and going to be playing for the Revs next year,” Burns told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “We're working diligently to get that done. We're hoping to announce something officially here in the near future. They've both been longstanding members of the Revs. We're going to what we can to have them remain in Revolution jerseys next year.”
The veteran duo would lend a measure of experience and stability to a side already facing several roster changes heading into next season.
As many as four regulars could be on their way out from last season's squad. Ryan Cochrane, Kheli Dube and Pat Phelan will enter the Re-Entry process after the Revs declined to pick up their options for next season, while Franco Coria must find a new club after Burns said the Revs decided to reject the chance to pay a “fairly expensive option price” to purchase the on-loan defender from Argentine side Chacarita Juniors.
The futures of Milton Caraglio, Rajko Lekic and Monsef Zerka also remain somewhat unresolved.
Caraglio's standing with the Revolution came into question last week when the club exposed him in the Expansion Draft. New England have declined to exercise the option to purchase the 22-year-old Designated Player's contract on a permanent basis from Argentine side Rosario Central per the terms of the loan agreement struck last summer, according to Burns.
“He's an interesting one and a challenging one,” Burns said. “He was a player on loan last season and there's a very expensive purchase price. We're trying to work with him and his agent to see if there's something that can be done that makes sense for both sides. There's a fair amount of challenges in that to have him return, but we're going to continue conversations and see if there's something that makes sense for both sides.”
Similar but more straightforward sentiments apply to the futures of Lekic and Zerka. Both players had their 2012 options declined by the Revs, but Burns said the Revs remain open to reaching new agreements with both players.
“We know there's a risk in that, but we're going to continue discussions to see if there's something that makes sense for both of us,” Burns said.
In addition to the focus on current members of the group, Burns and Revolution coach Jay Heaps have also started to evaluate potential additions to the coaching and playing staff. Burns and Heaps will depart on a scouting mission to Central and South America this weekend to search for potential targets, while interviews to fill out Heaps' coaching staff are ongoing.