Chad Marshall's promise finally came to fruition in 2008, and on Thursday the Columbus defender was named MLS Defender of the Year.
The 24-year-old recovered from string of concussions that caused him to miss 17 matches in 2007 and pieced together a great season in which he and the Columbus Crew earned the MLS Supporters' Shield.
Marshall started 29 games for the Crew racking up the second-most minutes on the team, 2485, behind only midfielder Brian Carrol.
The 36 goals allowed by Marshall and the Crew's defense ranked third among all MLS teams this season and the Riverside, Calif., native was a big part of that success.
Marshall's dominance in the air and hard tackling on the ground allowed Columbus goalkeeper William Hesmer to amass a 1.14 goals against average in his 29 games this season. The Stanford University product also added to his team's success on offense scoring four goals, three of which were game-winners, and adding two assist.
Marshall is the second member of the Crew to win the Defender of the Year after Robin Fraser won the award back in 2004.
Columbus's 17-7-6 record in 2008 can be attributed in large part to Marshall's return to form. The 57 points earned by the Crew en route to the league's best regular-season record in 2008 was 19 points better than the teams total in 2007 when they were without Marshall for long stretches and failed to make the playoffs.
The Black and Gold will resume play Saturday night in Columbus when Marshall leads his team in the second leg of an Eastern Conference Semifinal tie against the Kansas City Wizards.