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By Eric Major (@LouBoardingCrew)

Last week, Real Salt Lake announced Tyrone Marshall, manager of Derby City Rovers, as their new Assistant Coach.

As the close season begins its gradual descent into the start of a new campaign, it is also a time for transition. Traditionally, rosters are in transition at this point. Meaning that transfer movement is picking up, and all sorts of moves are being made to bolster squads before the new season kicks off.

Sometimes other things come along to complicate the transitions. For example, the Derby City Rovers recently had their manager and technical director, Tyrone Marshall, get hired by Real Salt Lake. As someone who watched DCR a lot last season, Real Salt Lake are getting a hell of a coaching talent. They are getting, in him, a man with a drive to succeed and develop, that would have made him a legend.

Last season had its share of ups and downs. But, Tyrone remained positive, that after the early run of poor form (Team Schedule), that his boys would get their feet under them, and start showing what they could do. And they went on a 5 match unbeaten streak. And even had a few of their players receive honors from the league, including keeper Dalyan Hawes, who made the USL-PDL team of the week for 26 June 2014. Unfortunately though, DCR finished the season in the bottom of their division, one point behind SC United Bantams. But, the divisional standings didn’t fit the narrative of the season.

It was a season of learning. And risk-taking. And the trial and error that comes with the genesis of a club system. Nathan Pitcock, owner and chairman of DCR, is a firm believer in living up to the moniker of being a club called Rovers. He espouses a virtue calls “Swashbuckling Futbol”. A virtue that was embodied in Tyrone and his philosophy of play. I recommend the match between DCR and the Cincinnati Dutch Lions, available on YouTube. Tyrone believed his lads to be capable of playing that style, Swashbuckling Futbol, and encouraged it at all times. While the season, on paper, may not have been a success; watching the club grow in confidence and fluidity as the season pushed on, it was more than a success.

Tyrone was deeply appreciative of us Coopers who made it out to Woehrle Field to see DCR in action. He loved the noise and energy we brought to matches. He appreciated how we would criticise opposing players and match officials. More importantly, he was glad to see his boys get support. And you could tell the boys were happy to have it too. When our lads entered or left the pitch, we would form a Guard of Honor, and be there clapping for them. They’d shake our hands, and thank us, and usually at the back of the line Tyrone would be there to shake our hands and give us encouragement for the coming half, or following game. As a supporter, to me, having that access to him and the players, and getting to know them like I did, it was a very special thing. Hearing Tyrone being optimistic, looking ahead; it was hard not to believe his vision.

With the coming season, I was looking forward to seeing Tyrone and DCR build upon last season’s results, and standing. I wanted to see them push for a more firmly mid-table finish. And just to build gradually, into being a force in the PDL. I think Tyrone, along with Nathan, could have done some pretty amazing things with the club, and with the team. And being there to watch it take place, was going to be something magical and fantastic. But, Fate had other plans. Real Salt Lake saw something of value in Tyrone, that those of us who had gone to matches, had caught from the beginning. And they felt that it would be a fool’s game to let him get away. So, our loss is more than exponentially their gain. And for that, I am excited for him. But I’m also sad to see him go. His charisma, attitude, and passion are unequalled. And we will miss him.

As a supporter of DCR, I have complete faith in Nathan to find someone who shares his vision for the club. The club needs someone who will take the foundation of Swashbuckling Futbol forward. And will find a way to create magic with the squad. And will take them to previously unassailable heights. And will further strengthen the relationship between the club and its supporters.