Allow Me To Introduce Tyrone Marshall

  Tyrone Marshall  

February 22, 2006


Article by RBSC fan: TK


Time for a Reggae Boyz quiz.

1. Which Jamaican footballer has won three trophies overseas?

2. Which Jamaican footballer just completed a domestic double winning league and cup titles?

3. Which Jamaican footballer, who started out his career as a prolific goal scorer, was just named Defender of the Year for his professional club team?

4. Which Jamaican footballer has been an all-star for his professional league twice?

5. Which Jamaican footballer had the game winning assist in the championship match of his professional league?

6. Which Jamaican footballer once squared off against the Galacticos from Madrid, staring down world-class players such as David Beckham, Michael Owen, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo and company?

7. Which Jamaican footballer has the poise and decision making of a Durrent Brown, the tenacity of a Stephen Malcolm, the leadership of a Peter Cargill, the 1 v 1 defending skills of an Ian Goodison, and the comfort on top of the ball of a Linval Dixon?

Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to introduce you to none other than unheralded Tyrone “Granny” Marshall. The Los Angeles Galaxy central defender for Major League Soccer in the United States won his second MLS Cup title of his career this past November when his team the Los Angeles Galaxy beat the New England Revolution 1-0 in the final. Chances are you missed this event. Chances are you wouldn’t even know that he existed if not for the occasional Reggae Boyz match being played. He is largely overlooked by Jamaican media and fans alike. Yet Tyrone Marshall is one of our most successful players ever to wear a Reggae Boyz jersey.

In our Jamaica football culture, everyone has the dream of being the next Pele. The players we identify with the most are those with the skills to dazzle and entertain a crowd. The Theodore Whitmores, Onandi Lowes , Walter Boyds, Andy Williams, Ricardo Fullers and Jermaine Hues of the world are our standards for what every footballer should be. Lost in the shuffle of our fascination with the piano players of our football, are the piano movers who allow the others to mesmerize us with their tunes. Without these selfless individuals sacrificing individual glory for team success, a group cannot be successful.

It is incredible to think that a player coming out of our culture of piano players and gallery football would even consider making the move from forward to mid-field to defense. Maybe inspired by Onandi Lowe’s willingness to play an out and out sweeper for the Reggae Boyz during the 1998 World Cup, Tyrone not only embraced the position but excelled in it to such a degree that today he is considered one of the best defenders in MLS. In the United States culture of football, where fitness, work rate, and willingness to take physical risks are attributes most valued, Tyrone has flourished where other Jamaican players have struggled.

One of the reasons he has had an easier time of making the adjustments could be the fact that he came to the United States at the age of 12 and was able to understand the demands of the American game early. Combining that with his individual skills picked up during his days playing in Jamaica, Tyrone became a goal-scoring force.

Tyrone attended Boyd Anderson high school, where as a forward, he scored 34 goals and had 20 assists in three years there.

From high school, he attended Lindsey Wilson College from 1994-1995 where he continued his goal scoring exploits. Tyrone scored 26 and 21 goals in his freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively. He was named an NAIA First Team All-American each season. He was the first Lindsey Wilson College field player ever to be named All-American in back to back seasons. As well, Tyrone won the NAIA National Championship in 1995 where he was named the tournaments Most Outstanding Offensive Player. Even now the Reggae Boy is in the top ten of six out of ten offensive categories kept on record by Lindsey Wilson. In 2004, Tyrone Marshall was inducted into the Lindsey Wilson College Athletics Hall of Fame.

Transferring to Florida International, Tyrone Marshall continued his goal scoring exploits. Over two years at FIU “Granny” scored 22 goals and had 15 assists. He was a 1997 NCAA Pre-Season All American. He led Florida International to their first ever final four where he scored on a wicked bicycle kick. That goal is considered by many to be one of the best college goals ever scored. Tyrone still has the record for the most goals scored in a single NCAA tournament game for FIU with two in a match against Central Florida University.

After his successful collegiate career, Marshall was drafted in the first round of the 1998 MLS draft by the Colorado Rapids whose coach, current US Men’s National team assistant Glenn Myernick, called Tyrone an “out and out goalscorer”. Tyrone must have been preparing himself to become the next scoring sensation of the MLS with such confident words being spoken by his coach. To add to the great expectations, Tyrone was named the MVP in a collegiate all-stars vs. A-league all-stars exhibition match. The collegiate all-stars were coached by, you guessed it, Glenn Myernick. Things were setting up nicely for Tyrone. Or so he thought.

Fast forward to August of that same year and Tyrone had played a grand total of seventeen minutes off the bench for the Colorado Rapids appearing in only one match. In an effort to bolster his side for the play-offs Glenn Myernick decided to trade Tyrone Marshall to the Miami Fusion and their eccentric coach Ray Hudson. Probably unaware of it then, this move was going to change “Granny’s” career for the better.

Miami Fusion was an expansion team in 1998 and were still trying to find their footing in the league, a perfect fit for a player like Tyrone who would be looking for playing time. He started out as a forward. Then he was moved to outside mid-field and finally finding his place at outside wingback in the defense. Ray Hudson had struck oil. The once goal-scoring threat had now become a very good two-way player, not great yet but you could see that Tyrone had all the potential in the world to be one of the best players in the league, as was evidenced by his team’s surprise run to the US Open Cup final in 2000.

With the contraction of the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny, Tyrone was back in limbo land. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy who immediately put him to good use. He split time between the outside mid-field and outside wingback positions. In the 2002 season, the Galaxy went all the way to the MLS Cup championship match against the stingy New England Revolution. The game went all the way into extra time until the 113th minute.

Tyrone Marshall made an enterprising run down the sideline and received a pass from Chris Albright. Spying Carlos Ruiz on the far side of the last defender, Tyrone played a perfectly weighted, textured and placed pass to Ruiz who finished it off, sending the Galaxy fans into celebration.

All of Tyrone’s hard work was seemingly validated in that one moment.

Marshall followed up that 2002 year with his first ever MLS All-Star appearance in the 2003 season as he was part of the MLS’ top ranked defense. Enough accolades and success to make most players careers in MLS, Tyrone’s best was yet to come.

By last year’s 2005 season, Tyrone Marshall was clearly the leader of the team. The players looked to him for answers when things were not going their way and heaped praises on him when things were going well. Dogged all season by an abnormal number of international call-ups, the Galaxy only played with their first eleven ten times. This constant reshuffling of line-ups hurt the Galaxy’s ability to compete at their best throughout the season.

Add in to the mix an exhibition with La Liga’s vaunted Real Madrid or Galacticos if you insist. In front of a crowd of 27,000 at a packed Home Depot Center, the Galaxy gave a brave performance, losing 2-0. Madrid, surely having dreams of running over their “Donovan-less” hosts, found out soon enough that the Galaxy was going to do anything but lay down for them. Going in strong on every 50-50 ball, the Madrid players became frustrated with Thomas Graveson, in particular, losing his cool after some well-timed and firm tackles by Tyrone Marshall and “Pando” Ramirez, signaling to the guests that they were going to have to fight for the result. Luxembourgo, who initially said that he was only going to play his starters for a half, stuck with his first team at the start of the 2nd half, a sign of the level of competition his team was getting. Taking cues from Marshall’s “Never say die” Jamaican spirit and leadership, the Galaxy were not the least bit in awe of Madrid, gaining newfound respect in the region.

If Marshall and the Galaxy could take solace in their credible performance against Real Madrid, they could not, however, be pleased with their league form. Critics accused Steve Sampson of placing too much emphasis on the US Open Cup and neglecting the MLS season. Proponents felt that the Galaxy coach was spot on with such a strategy considering that the eight out of twelve teams qualify for the play-offs. Unfortunately for the Galaxy, the combination of that strategy and losing big chunks of their line-up at inopportune times had fans wondering whether the Galaxy were going to qualify for the play-offs, much less be able to compete.

The Galaxy ended up winning the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, adding the Dewar Trophy to their trophy case. Once again, the defense shone. Once again Tyrone Marshall was at the middle of it, shutting out FC Dallas for the 1-0 victory. It was a one sided affair with the Galaxy having the run of play. Tyrone added the 2nd trophy of his career.

If pundits were expecting a Galaxy let down after the accomplishment, then they were thoroughly disappointed. Possessing the annoying trait of rising during the big occasions, the Galaxy went through the play-offs beating hated rival San Jose in the semi’s and the Colorado Rapids in the finals for the Western Conference Crown. These two series victories meant that the Galaxy qualified for the MLS Cup. The Galaxy only gave up 2 goals in the 4 play-off matches.

With Tyrone Marshall leading the troops, the Galaxy went on to defeat the New England Revolution in a fiercely contested match, 1-0 in extra time, completing “The Double”. Winning his 2nd MLS Cup, “Granny” was pointed out as one of the best players in that match, shutting down league MVP and scoring champion, Taylor Twellman, who was left to wonder if in fact it was his shadow that was defending him. The 2nd highest scoring team in the league (New England) were left scratching their collective heads at the dearth of opportunities. The Galaxy defense gaining another shut-out in yet another big game. Marshall was the difference.

Tyrone Marshall and the Galaxy have their sights set for international success when they play in the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the Copa Sudamericana. They will meet Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Champions Cup this Thursday. The winner of this tournament will get to play in the FIFA World Club Championships at the end of the year where they will be pitted against champions from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania. The Copa Sudamericana pairings will not be announced until later in the year where the Galaxy will square off with South America’s finest.

At 32 years of age and with the success Tyrone has had in his career one would think that retirement would be next on his list. On the contrary, winning MLS Cup has ensured that if last season was a busy one for Marshall this season will be downright hectic. Here’s to even greater success for a player who has distinguished himself as one of the current best defenders in Jamaican, MLS and CONCACAF football. Tyrone “Granny” Marshall, these are the fans, fans this is Tyrone Marshall. Consider yourselves introduced.

  Editor's Note: While these articles are filled with correspondent's insight and expertise, they are based on the author's point of view and may contain speculation as well as fact. The views expressed by the author are not necessarily the views of The Reggae Boyz Supporterz Club.  
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