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Chad Marshall’s decision to retire was sudden, but not taken lightly

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Rapid degeneration of his knee joint left Marshall little choice in the matter.

Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake: Photos Photo credit - MikeRussellFoto

Chad Marshall’s decision to retire did not come lightly, even if it came rather suddenly. The 34-year-old had been informed that there was a chance complications could arise following offseason surgery to repair his torn meniscus. The Seattle Sounders had been monitoring his knee since preseason, but became worried when there was some “rapid” degeneration detected following the Minnesota United match.

Playing through pain was not new to Marshall. Like most players, he’s dealt with injuries. At one point in 2007, he even considered retiring after sustaining three concussions in the same year. Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer spoke about how Marshall was “shattered” after virtually every match, a product of him simply pushing himself as hard as he could.

But this injury was different. It wasn’t just a matter of grinding through discomfort.

“His knee wasn’t getting any better,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “For him the realization that he couldn’t play at the level he wanted to was bothering him. He’s a proud guy, didn’t want to let the team down.”

Sometime late last week, Marshall told his teammates about his decision. It was, understandably, a scene befitting the unexpected loss of one of the team’s best players and most popular personalities.

“It was very difficult for us to stay emotionally connected because it meant so much to him, so much to us,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “He’s such a good guy in the locker room; it was so tough for us all not to get choked up.”

As much as no one wanted to hear the news, there was also an understanding that there really was no choice in the matter. Marshall had already cut back on his training sessions, had already tried limiting his playing time. None of it was working.

“We knew that Chad had given everything he had,” Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey said. “This is a guy who took an epidural shot at one point to play in a game. He’s as tough as they come. If he’s coming to you saying ‘This is getting hard,’ you probably want to listen to him.”