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European edition, Thursday, May 3, 2007

HOHENFELS, Germany

Anthony Marshall is about hard work, team play and high achievement.

The most obvious of the senior striker’s achievements is his success on the pitch for defending European Division III boys soccer champion Hohenfels.

Last season, as the Tigers’ captain, Marshall scored 24 goals and was chosen as an All-Europe first-team forward for the second straight season. Twelve of his goals came during his MVP run through the European tournament, in which Hohenfels became the first DODDS school to win a European D-III crown. All eight of the previous D-III titles had been won by two private schools in Italy — the American School of Milan and American Overseas School of Rome. This season, Marshall has scored 11 goals and assisted on eight for the Tigers (5-0).

Less noticeable is the hard work and progress Marshall, 18, has made in adjusting from life as a boy in Panama to becoming a leader at Hohenfels.

Asked by his coach, Shawn Rodman, how much English he spoke when he arrived in Hohenfels six years ago, Marshall smiled and shook his head from side to side.

Today, Marshall is enrolled in an advanced-placement English course and speaks his second language with no noticeable accent.

“To me, for Anthony to transition well from an ESL (English as a second language) program to AP English, is an amazing feat,” Rodman said.

Marshall took the compliment in stride.

“That was one of my goals. I wanted to take the hardest classes to be ready for college,” said Marshall, who’s currently choosing between soccer offers from West Virginia Wesleyan and the University of Dubuque.

Before that, Hohenfels will take a run at defending its crown.

“It was crazy,” Marshall said of the Tigers’ 4-0 romp over three-time defending champ AOSR in the 2006 title game. “We were just trying to get to that game. When we won, it was surreal.”

Winning again might not come as such a surprise.

“We’ve been working all year to be in position to defend our title,” Marshall said.

He said the team lost some key players — especially graduated All-Europe forward Idrissa Soumaoro — “so we’ve been working hard to get back to the point where we were last year.”

Rodman thinks the Tigers might be close.

“Everyone’s willing to do the job,” said Rodman, who coached Tiger football and soccer teams to European titles in 2006. “Whatever we ask them to do they do. Against Hanau, (a 2-1 victory) we asked our offense to play defense after we got ahead. They were fine with it.”

Marshall, who also plays on the Tigers’ football and basketball teams, reinforced the concept.

“We have a great group of guys,” he said. “We pass the ball a lot. Everyone’s unselfish. We don’t care who scores.”

Still, he added, there’s work to do before Europeans begin their four-day run May 16-19.

“Some people say that since we won the Europeans, there’s nothing to improve,” said Marshall, who hones his skills by playing for a local German club.

“But you can always improve. Lots of times, I’m tired after practice here and yet I know I have to be at my German club at 7 p.m. I’m working every day to be a better player and help my team play better.”

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