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Chad Marshall is first player to win three MLS Defender of the Year awards

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Players voted overwhelmingly for the 30-year-old center back.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Marshall did not anchor Major League Soccer's best defense. In fact, the Seattle Sounders were middling in terms of goals allowed and basically every other high-end metric. But that didn't stop voters from naming him Defender of the Year for the third time in his MLS career, more than any other player in the 19-year history of the league.

Even though Defender of the Year is often considered almost a team honor -- it usually goes to the best defender on one of the best defenses -- Marshall's outstanding season was hard to miss. Marshall was an absolute beast, leading the league in interceptions (35 more than any other player) and aerial duels (11 more than anyone else) and effectively establishing himself as the most irreplaceable defensive player in the league for the Supporters' Shield winners.

"I'm very honored to be named Defender of the Year and it's a testament to the great season we've had," Marshall said in a team release. "I feel privileged to be a Sounder and I can't thank my teammates, coaches, organization and fans enough. Defense is a team effort, so on behalf of the rest of the defenders I'm happy to accept this award."

Marshall, who was acquired in an offseason trade, accepted a pay cut to come to the Sounders in hopes of reviving a career that had become stuck in neutral since winning back-to-back DotY honors in 2008-09. He immediately established himself as an on-field leader, something that seems to have been appreciated by his fellow players who carried him to the victory.

Player (Club)

% of Club Votes

% of Media Votes

% of Player Votes

Weighted Total

Chad Marshall (SEA)

21.95

32.22

28.42

82.59

Bobby Boswell (DC)

23.17

36.61

16.67

76.45

Omar Gonzalez (LA)

20.73

11.11

11.54

43.38

Michael Parkhurst (CLB)

8.54

3.33

6.19

18.06