20 Mar 2009
- Written by Larry Morgan (MLSnet.com)
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The Los Angeles Galaxy's Yohance Marshall kept waiting for his phone to ring, but the silence was deafening.It was Jan. 15, the day of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft in St. Louis, and the University of South Florida standout was expecting to see his name among the selections. There were a number of draft experts who even projected the 6-foot-2, 170-pound defender to be taken in the first round. But he reportedly had a poor MLS Player Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and the longer the draft dragged on, the sicker the feeling for the 23-year-old.
By the time the first two rounds were complete and his name was nowhere to be found on the list of draftees, Marshall decided to do something else. He went out and got his hair cut.
"When they reached number 30, I kind of stopped looking," Marshall said. "It was a little tough on me, but I didn't hang my head too long."
And for good reason. The Galaxy called less than two weeks later, brought him out to southern California and he eventually made the final roster. It was quite a turn of events for the first-team, All-Big East selection and College Soccer News first-team All-American, and it was his attitude more than anything else that kept him going.
The day after the draft, for example, Marshall resumed training. He not only was determined to get better but remained hopeful he would get a chance to play somewhere. He was working out when he received a voice mail informing him the Galaxy were interested.
"I was excited when they called," he said. "They told me they wanted me to come out there for a little bit, and within two days I was flying out to L.A."
He quickly left a positive impression on his teammates. Veteran defender Tony Sanneh said he wouldn't have any objection to playing alongside the untested rookie should Marshall get a chance.
"I feel very confident in him. Very much so," Sanneh said. "He's confident on the ball, he reads the game and he's very confident. For a guy his age the only thing he needs is experience, and that will come.
"I would have no problems playing with him."
Marshall, who replaced last year's Rookie of the Year, Sean Franklin, late in last week's 1-1 preseason tie with the Chicago Fire, calls it a "fun" training camp so far, but he can't help but think back to draft day when his professional soccer career almost ended before it started.
"I know what it feels like when you see players in other sports not get drafted," said Marshall, a native of Trinidad and Tobago who has played on his team's U-17, U-20 and U-21 teams. "You expect big things and it doesn't always go your way. But it's always how you bounce back that's important.
"Don't always hang your head because there's always the end of the road. That was my mind-set, that things will happen."
Veteran defender Todd Dunivant praised Marshall's resolve.
"It's a credit to him," Dunivant said. "I don't know what happened in the combine, but I think we got a steal. He has a lot of raw talent. The biggest thing with him is he's willing to learn and willing to get better."
Marshall said he's also willing to do whatever he can to help the Galaxy, which opens the regular season Sunday against D.C. United.
"I'm ready to help in any way I can," he said. "Whether it's being on the field or on the bench, I'm willing to help in any way and guide this team in a new direction."