Former South Florida defender Yohance Marshall returns to Tampa this weekend with the Austin Aztex who face the FC Tampa Bay Rowdies at Steinbrenner Field on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Tampa Bay Soccer Blog took some time to catch up with the former All-American about arriving in Austin, his parent club the Los Angeles Galaxy and returning to Tampa.
TBSB: How are things going in Austin?
Yohance Marshall: Going pretty good so far. Getting adjusted to life out here.
TBSB: It’s a homecoming for you coming back to Tampa and your old stomping grounds at USF. When you got loaned to Austin was that one of the first things you looked for, when you’d be heading back to Tampa?
YM: I don’t think so, it’s all business right now. I have to do a job here right now and the first priority is to do that job, and we’re going to see what happens.
TBSB: Have you heard from any of your old friends from USF about coming out to the game to see you again.
YM: Yes, I actually talk to them a lot on a regular basis. Most of my friends aren’t really friends, they’re more like family, so I talk to them a lot. I also talked to my coach recently too.
TBSB: Coach (George) Kiefer? Do you and he stay in touch a lot?
YM: I do, I talk to them a lot. That’s my home away from home.
TBSB: You’ve started the last couple of games for the Aztex, are you starting to get a feel for the side after getting acclimatized?
YM: I think so. It’s been a little difficult changing to a little different style, but I think I’m understanding the guys a little more and the guys are getting to understand me and how I move so in that aspect of the game it’s getting a lot better.
TBSB: What have you guys learned about the Rowdies from their first three games and what are you guys focused on for Saturday night.
YM: What we know so far is that they’ve had three away games and they’ve gotten results which means they are playing really good. We are just prepared for everything. We hear they have some pretty technical guys out there so we’re just focusing on our game right now. If we both play like we know how to play it’s going to be a fun game.
TBSB: What’s it been like making the switch to Division II this year after playing with the Galaxy last year?
YM: I’m getting to play right now, that’s my main focus. The speed is a little different, out at the Galaxy there’s no room for error, the same as here, but I think the speed is a tad bit different.
TBSB: Is it nice to see your parent team doing as well as it is?
YM: It’s great. I still have friends out there, still talk to a few of the guys out there so to see them doing well is really good. I always look at the games online. To see Edson Buddle scoring a lot of goals, that’s awesome.
TBSB: You are going to be playing on a converted baseball field, have you ever experienced anything like that before or played on any unusual surfaces before?
YM: I actually did last year at San Jose. San Jose’s field was converted from the Oakland Athletics, so it was similar.
TBSB: Have you been telling the guys what it’s like playing with that infield dirt?
YM: Actually, I’m not sure exactly how it is out there, so we’re preparing for anything. Any kind of different bounce, I told the guys this morning it’s field and then there’s like some sand so you just have to look out for that.
TBSB: You guys have had a very good start to the season, three wins out of four. What’s the feeling around the camp, is it feeling like this is a team that could contend for the league title?
YM: I think everyone has goals, and that’s one of the main goals. I think we still have a lot to learn, and every day in practice we try to get better so every day and every game we try to make our team better for the end of the season.
TBSB: It’s opening day for Tampa, they’re expecting a big crowd, 6,000, maybe 8,000. Is that going to be a fun atmosphere to play in front of as a visiting team?
YM: It’s going to be a great atmosphere to play in front of because there’s going to be all the hype especially if I get to play it’s going to be great because I’m basically playing in front of the people that played in my career at USF, so it’s going to be really nice. It’s going to be fun playing in front of them again.