Chad Marshall Announces Retirement from Professional Soccer
SEATTLE, WASH. - Seattle Sounders FC defender Chad Marshall today announced his retirement from professional soccer due to injury. The 34-year-old concludes a historic 16-year Major League Soccer career with Sounders FC and Columbus Crew SC, in which he became the only player in league history to win MLS Defender of the Year three times. Marshall finishes his career with seven major trophies and ranks second all-time among field players in all participation categories (appearances, starts and minutes played).
Marshall spent 16 years in MLS with Seattle and Columbus, winning two MLS Cups and earning a league-record three Defender of the Year awards. He retires ranking second all-time among field players in appearances, starts and minutes played.
"After more than 15 years of living my childhood dream, the time has come for me to hang up the boots," said Marshall. "I'd like to thank everyone that has played a part in my career. To my teammates, support staff and coaches: you've been my second family. The locker room is what I'll miss the most. Thank you to the fans of Seattle and Columbus for supporting me throughout the years, as well as the Sounders FC and Columbus Crew SC organizations for giving me a chance to represent them on the field. Most importantly, I'd like to thank my family. I'm forever indebted to them for the sacrifices they've made in allowing me to pursue this dream. From heartbreaking losses to MLS Cup wins, own goals to cartwheels, it's been a blast."
The second overall selection in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, Marshall's accolades across his 16-year career include three MLS Defender of the Year honors (2008, 2009, 2014), four MLS Best XI selections (2008, 2009, 2014, 2018) and four MLS All-Star appearances (2009, 2010, 2014, 2015). On the team side, he is a two-time MLS Cup Champion (2008 with Columbus; 2016 with Seattle) and a four-time Supporters' Shield winner (2004, 2008 and 2009 with Columbus; 2014 with Seattle), in addition to winning the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with Sounders FC. He ranks fourth overall and second among field players in MLS history with 409 appearances, 404 starts and 35,843 minutes played (regular season only), recording 26 goals and 16 assists. He also has 30 career appearances and three goals in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Playing his final professional match on May 4 at Minnesota United, Marshall has been listed on the club's injury report with right knee inflammation in recent weeks due to degeneration of the knee joint.
"When we traded for Chad back in December of 2013, Head Coach Sigi Schmid really believed in him, and he challenged us to go and get one of the best defenders in league history," said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. "Despite being a known commodity across MLS, Chad still exceeded all of our expectations during his time in Seattle. On top of his exceptional play on the field, Chad brought a level of veteran stability and leadership to the locker room and was an excellent member of the Seattle community. On behalf of the club, I extend my heartfelt thanks for his service and consider it an honor to have watched him in Rave Green."
Marshall came to Sounders FC via trade prior to the 2014 season after 10 years with Columbus Crew SC. In his five-plus seasons with Seattle, the reliable centerback started 154 of his 156 career regular-season appearances (fourth in club history in both categories), recording 10 goals and six assists. In his first season in Rave Green, Marshall started all 31 of his appearances and helped the club to its first Supporters' Shield and fourth U.S. Open Cup title, in addition to starting all four postseason matches and earning MLS Defender of the Year and Best XI honors. He helped Seattle to back-to-back MLS Cup appearances in 2016 and 2017, starting all 11 of the club's postseason matches in those seasons. In his last full season in 2018, Marshall finished runner-up for MLS Defender of the Year and earned his fourth Best XI selection. He appeared in 19 of Sounders FC's 20 postseason matches during his time in Seattle, and scored a 90th-minute goal in the second leg of the 2015 Western Conference Semifinals against FC Dallas. For his contributions, Marshall was voted by his teammates as Sounders FC Defender of the Year four times (2014, 2016-2018) in his five full seasons with the club.
"Thank you, Chad. It was a privilege to have such a smart, humble player as part of the Sounders for so long, one of the greatest careers for any domestic player in MLS history," said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. "We really enjoyed having Chad as part of this organization, from his wickedly funny personality to everything he brought on and off the field. Chad is going to be successful with whatever comes next, and he will always be part of the Sounders family."
After being selected by Columbus Crew SC second overall out of Stanford, Marshall spent 10 seasons for the Ohio side and is the club's all-time leader in appearances (253), starts (250) and minutes played (22,220), recording 16 goals and 10 assists in regular-season action. He also scored twice in 11 postseason appearances, including tallies in the 2008 Eastern Conference Championship and the game-winning goal in the 2008 MLS Cup Final. He helped Columbus capture the Supporters' Shield in 2004, 2008 and 2009, and earned MLS Defender of the Year and Best XI honors in 2008 and 2009. On the club side, he took home the team's 2011 MVP award, Defender of the Year honor four times (2008-2010, 2013) and was awarded the first Breakout Performance of the Year honor in 2004.
"Ever since he came to Seattle, Chad has been a massive influence on our franchise, whether it was his play on the field or his impact off of it, he is a true champion," said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. "It's hard to put into words all of the positive things he has brought to the club and his teammates. It has been an honor to coach such a fantastic American player, arguably one the best defenders in MLS history. I'd like to thank him for what he's done in the Sounders community and wish him the best in whatever he decides to do next. We, the players and staff will miss him, and our league has lost a great player."
Marshall earned 12 international caps for the U.S. Men's National Team in his career, including five appearances in a runner-up finish at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He scored his lone international goal in his first match with the USMNT, a 3-0 friendly win over Colombia on March 9, 2005 in Fullerton, California. After nearly seven years of absence from the national team, Marshall started and played 90 minutes in a scoreless draw with Serbia on January 29, 2017 in San Diego.
"Chad is one of the best athletes I ever played with or helped bring to a club in a management role," said Sounders FC Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson. "He won championships on multiple teams and his longevity and consistency are a testament to the measure of his value in this league. We were fortunate to have him contribute to our success for so many years here in Seattle."
A standout at Stanford from 2002 through 2003, Marshall started 39 of his 40 appearances, registering three goals with two assists. He was named to the 2002 NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team after helping the Cardinal reach the championship match, and he earned All-Pac-10 honors both seasons. Prior to Stanford, he was a standout at Rubidoux High School in Riverside, California, where he earned NCSAA All-American honors as a senior in 2002, in addition to being named a Parade All-American in 2001 and 2002, as well as Parade's Best Defender in 2002.
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