For a while now, I've been somewhat a supporter of Chad Marshall, as much of a supporter as you can get as a reporter I suppose. He's a local product, from Riverside as well, and went to a high school from the same school district that graduated yours truly.
I'm excited then that Marshall has the chance to go abroad. He's on trial with second-division German side Mainz and should he land there would be a standout player in a short amount of time.
Marshall has the chance to go abroad before. Fresh out of high school, he was offered a contract with Hamburg but his family as a whole decided that Stanford would be the best option for Marshall, not necessarily for the soccer but for Chad, the 18-year-old recent high school graduate.
It's been six years now and Marshall is far more mature and capable of handling life in Europe than he would have been had he gone straight to the Old World.
Now, second-division soccer isn't the greatest honestly. Even the German second division is still the second division. But is that a better option than Columbus? I'd say at this point of his career, for Marshall it is. Why? He'll be in Europe for starters. He will come cheaply for Mainz - it doesn't get cheaper than a free transfer - and that certainly helps. If he goes in there and performs well, he will be noticed. It may be that another German team takes notice of Marshall in the summer and snatches him up. If he comes back to MLS, it will be more of the same.
Where has that gotten him? Well, accolades for one. A relatively nice paycheck for another. And, oh yeah, he is a league champion. That counts for something. But where has it not gotten him? It's not gotten him on the US national team. Sure, he got a sniff of the big time but he's been overlooked in quite possibly the second-most glaring oversight in recent years (Kenny Cooper anyone?).
Not sure if a move abroad will mean more playing time with the national team. Just like with Cooper, I don't know what more Marshall could do to earn a call-up. He was not called in at all in 2008 despite piecing together his finest pro season. We don't get Marshall but we get a physical specimen lacking footballing IQ in Oguchi Onyewu but I suppose that's Bob Bradley's loss.
Regardless of how it benefits his national team standing, Marshall needs to get to Europe now. If it's with a second division side, so be it. If it's for a top-tier club from a second-tier league, that's fine too. It's time to get Marshall abroad because he's done all there is to do in MLS.