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Chad Marshall reflects on career milestone

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The defender is now 2nd all-time among active field players for regular season starts

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

TUKWILA, Wash. — While Sunday’s loss to the Portland Timbers marked an important historic landmark for the two clubs—the 100th fixture between the two sides, it also marked an important one for Seattle Sounders centerback Chad Marshall. The match represented Marshall’s 373rd career MLS start, moving him into fourth place among MLS players all-time, and second among active field players.

Marshall reflected on the high figure after training Friday.

“I’ve been fortunate in my career not to have too many long-term serious injuries,” Marshall said. “I take pride in taking care of myself, especially in the offseason. I think offseasons are super important as you get older, to make sure you’re ready for the grind of the season. I’ve been trying to implement that the last several years and it looks like it’s been paying off.”

The three-time MLS Defender of the Year has started 34 of Seattle’s last 40 league matches, including last year’s playoffs. The 33-year-old has made at least 24 regular season starts in every season dating back to 2009, where he was limited to just 18 appearances for the Columbus Crew.

Marshall said it was with the Crew and alongside current Toronto FC assistant coach Robin Fraser that he learned to look after himself.

“I was fortunate in Columbus my first two years, I got to play alongside Robin Frasier,” Marshall said. “He was a great professional and being able to watch him the first two years was huge to see how he carried himself, the way he took care of his body. That was a huge luxury for me to be able to watch him for the first two years.”

Only one active field player has more starts than Marshall and he’ll be coming to CenturyLink Field May 26. Kyle Beckerman, who debuted with the now-defunct Miami Fusion back in 2000, has Marshall beat, having recorded his 413th career start May 12.

Marshall said that the longevity of the 36-year-old midfielder demands respect.

“He’s incredible,” Marshall said. “He’s an iron man. He’s one of those guys that can run forever and gives it for your team every game. He’s a battler. I don’t think I’m catching (his record), I think he started when he was 16. He’s been around a long time. It’s a testament to the kind of work that he puts in to his body, that’s he’s able to perform at this level this many years later.”

Marshall, who is in his fifth season in Seattle, is glad that he has only had to relocate once in his career after a decade in Columbus.

“It’s nice. Obviously, with a family now it’s nice not to jump around too often. I guess you’re doing something right if a team is willing to keep you around for that long. I just keep my head down, keep working, and will try to stay here as long as I can.”

Here are the current leaders for all-time MLS regular season starts:

1. Nick Rimando (RSL) – 462

2. Kyle Beckerman (RSL) – 413

3. Kevin Hartman (ret.) – 411

4. Chad Marshall (SEA) – 373

5. Steve Ralston (ret.) – 372