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December 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Catching up with Sounders FC’s additions Chad Marshall and Stefan Frei

Seattle Sounders FC LogoI was helping out on Seahawks coverage Wednesday, so I wasn’t able to participate in conference calls with new additions Chad Marshall and Stefan Frei, but the team was kind enough to type up a transcript, and I’ve posted it below:

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Chad Marshall – Sounders FC Defender

(On what he’s heard of Seattle from his former Stanford teammates…) “Taylor Graham has always spoken highly of the club. It seems like a club that is willing to do anything to win. The city is great, very passionate fans, lots to do there, so I’m excited to get there and see what it’s all about.”

(On the state of his game this point in his career compared to MLS Defender of the Year performances in 2008 and 2009…) “I still feel like I’m in top form. I kind of pride myself on my consistency in my play, and I felt like I had a good year for the Crew last year, so I’m hoping to bring that to Seattle. There has been a lot of change in the Crew since those years — the Defender of the Year years — so I’m excited to get some stability. I kind of had a different center-back partner every year since 2006 actually, so it’ll be nice to get some stability and have that going forward.”

(On how MLS has changed since he’s been in the league and how that affects the center-back position…) “I think it’s changed a bunch since my first year. When I came in 2004, there were only 10 teams, so there are a lot more players in the league now. You’re playing certain teams only one time a year so you’re getting different looks each week, whereas back in the day you played the same team four times so you kind of got used to forwards. As the league has grown, bigger names have been brought in, better players, so it definitely makes it more demanding on center backs, for sure.”

(On playing in front of Sounders FC fans at CenturyLink Field…) “I’m super excited to play at CenturyLink in front of that atmosphere. I’ve had the pleasure of doing that a few times with the Crew there. It’s always incredible. I can only imagine it’s even more incredible when they’re on your side, so I’m definitely excited to play in that atmosphere.”

(On his knowledge and expectations of the Seattle defense…) “I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to any of the other center backs. I only know them through playing against them. It’ll be nice to get to know them, see what their philosophies of the position are and what their tendencies are, but nothing’s really been shared to me about the plan or anything. I’ve just been told they’re excited to have me and I look forward to contributing to the team in any way I can.”

(On the last couple years and his health situation…) “This past year I was pretty healthy. I played in 30 of 34 games. The year before that I had an ankle thing going on that I got taken care of in the offseason heading into this past season. I feel good now. I didn’t have to have any type of maintenance or anything done this offseason, so I kind of got on my offseason program a week after our season ended. I’ve been going good with that. Feeling good, feeling healthy, so I’m looking forward to a productive 2014.”

(On reuniting with Brad Evans…) “I’m excited to play with Brad again. Obviously, he’s doing great with his career, representing the national team and becoming a leader with the Sounders. I’m excited to work with him again. I think he’s a great pro and still at a young age, so I’m excited to get back with him after a little five-year hiatus.”

(On reuniting with coach Sigi Schmid…) “That was definitely a big part of it. We had a successful time with Sigi here in Columbus when he was here, myself included in that — being Defender of the Year in 2008 and the year after he left in 2009. I’m excited to work with him. He’s a very demanding coach, and I think he gets the best out of his players. I definitely am looking forward to working with him again.”

(On his relationship with Schmid…) “I have a good relationship with Sigi. I haven’t talked to him very much since he left — I don’t really know if that’s allowed. He called me once and just went through his decision to leave and that he was proud of the way I was playing and looking forward to watching me. I haven’t really spoken to him much, but I’ve followed what the Sounders have done in the years since he left. Looking forward to working with him again.”

(On Seattle also acquiring Stefan Frei…) “He’s a good young goalkeeper, obviously had some bad luck with the injuries. I’m excited to work with him in the backfield for the Seattle Sounders.”

Stefan Frei – Sounders FC Goalkeeper

(On what he knows of Seattle and his reaction to the trade…) “About the city of Seattle, not so much, but Seattle Sounders, it goes all the way back to the Sounders’ first season, which was in 2009, which was the draft where the Sounders had the first pick. Even then during the combine, Sigi had a chat with me and told me about the ambitions they had for Seattle and where maybe I could fit in with that. I knew early on that they had big things in mind for Seattle, especially with the fans there and, in my opinion, being quite successful and making the playoffs often and doing well in the U.S. Open Cup, as well. It shows that they’re a big organization backed by awesome fans. I was ecstatic once I heard I had the opportunity to join the team.”

(On joining a team that has had more success than his previous team…) “I think if you have a good team around you, it’s going to make any player look better. It’s pretty tough when, as a goalkeeper, you face a lot of shots or you have a constant revolving carousel of players you have to deal with — it’s hard to gel and it’s hard to play. Obviously if you go to a team of the caliber that Seattle is, I’m hoping as an individual it’s going to make me look better, but also that I can help the team with my skills and make everyone else on the team look better. Hopefully that ends up with the team winning more games.”

(On if he is looking at joining the Sounders as a fresh start…) “Yeah, definitely. The last two years have been frustrating for me on the pitch. Obviously in 2012 I had a serious injury, but I put that quickly behind me and worked my butt off to get into the best shape of my life, which I did. But then in 2013 to break that nose in the first 45 minutes of being back on the pitch and losing my starting spot that way was pretty tough because I felt like I couldn’t really reap the rewards of all that hard work I put in to get back from my injury. It was a learning experience for me mentally and for me on the inside, but like I said, I took it as a learning experience, or tried to. I knew that after being there for five years and going through so many changes at goalkeeper and everything and my contract running out, I knew a new scenery was probably best for me. It was just a matter of where I would end up. I wanted to go to a team where I was wanted and needed, and a team where I could progress and get better as an individual, and Seattle totally fits that bill. I couldn’t have found a better team.”

(On if he is currently 100-percent healthy…) “Absolutely. Like I said, besides the nose, I was healthy at the start of last season. Then the nose put me back a couple of weeks and I had to let that heal, but I’ve been healthy all season.”

(On recovering from the injury in 2012…) “First, to clarify because I’ve seen multiple articles (get it wrong), I didn’t do anything to my knee. I broke my fibula in my left leg and tore an ankle ligament, so I needed surgery on my ankle. With that being said, it was a long, lengthy process that was just letting it heal, not putting any weight on it, so I had no idea. I was hoping everything was going well, trying to do treatment on it as much as possible. Then I was able finally put some weight on it and start strengthening it and getting the range of motion back. You do see that you have a long ways to go back. You have to work hard every day and you have to work hard for every degree you get back on that range of motion. I didn’t want to dwell on the fact that I was going through a difficult injury. I wanted to do whatever I could to get back to the strongest and healthiest I’d ever been, which I think I did. I packed on a lot of muscle during that time, leaned out actually, and in terms of my ankle and my leg, I think it’s stronger than my right side now, which is funny. It was a difficult time, but I think I’ve come back stronger from it.”

(On what the club has told him and what his expectations are…) “They told me what the dynamics of the team will be and that they would love to have me on the team. It’s a given that any team you join there’s no certainty of who’s going to be a starter. I’m well aware of what the situation is in terms of goalkeeping with the team. I think they believe in my abilities so I’m going to go in working hard in the preseason. I’ve been working hard in the offseason right now to earn that starting spot, but at the same time I also know that there are goalkeepers around there that are of high quality, like you mentioned Marcus [Hahnemann]. I hope that we’re going to have a good competition going and I can learn a lot from him.”

(On having the CenturyLink Field crowd on his side next time he plays there…) “It’s easier to play when you know that 40,000 aren’t trying to kill you out there, right? I’m very excited to put on that uniform and have all those fans behind me. In my first couple years, BMO Field at the time was called the fortress and had some of the best fans and it helped us back then, but since they’ve struggled a little with attendance and results. The Sounders have always been awesome with their attendance and the support they get from the fans. The couple times I have played there, it’s crazy. It gets so loud it gets really tough to communicate with your defenders. It will be great to know that support is on your side this time around.”

(On Seattle also acquiring Chad Marshall…) “He’s tough to play against. He’s a threat offensively, that’s one thing when you’re facing him as a goalkeeper. And he’s really good defensively. He’s got all these accolades and he’s been in the league for many years, so he’s very, very experienced. It will be good to have him on our side. I hope he can put all those feuds we had with Toronto and Columbus behind him and behind me and we can make a great partnership with the Seattle Sounders.”

| More in Sounders FC, Stop and chats

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