Two years ago, we watched an exciting conclusion to a truly one-of-a-kind season. Thanks to a Jamil Roberts goal in the 98th minute, the Marshall Thundering Herd defeated Indiana in the College Cup final and won their first ever national championship. As we inch closer towards summer and eventually a new season, let’s take a look at that Marshall squad and see where they are today. By BRian Ludden
GK – Oliver Semmle
Marshall’s #1, Oliver Semmle, was an essential part of Marshall’s unexpected run to the title. After a win on penalty kicks over top seeded Clemson, Semmle turned in three consecutive clean sheets against Georgetown, North Carolina, and Indiana.
Following two more seasons at Marshall, the German keeper was selected 41st overall in the MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids. However, he was unsigned and instead joined USL Championship side Louisville City FC. Semmle made his debut for Louisville in a 1-0 win vs. Monterey Bay on March 19.
LB – Gabriel Alves
Alves played the full 97 minutes in the title game, helping to shut down the Indiana attack. As with Semmle, Alves remained at Marshall for two more seasons, playing 17 matches in both 2021 and 2022. After his college career concluded, the 23 year old Brazilian signed with USL Championship side Birmingham Legion. Alves scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Hartford in March, his first for the club. He added a second goal two weeks later vs. Phoenix Rising.
CB – Nathan Dossantos
Dossantos, who helped hold down the backline alongside Alves, played in 18 matches in the 2021 season before turning pro. Dossantos was selected 46th overall by Orlando City in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft. He spent time during the preseason with Orlando, but didn’t sign a contract. Instead, he joined the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL Championship. Dossantos made 24 appearances in his first season, and Pittsburgh exercised their club option for a second year.
RB – Jan-Erik Leinhos
Following his senior season in the fall of 2021, Leinhos was invited to trial with Louisville City. He signed with the club in February ahead of the 2022 season, and made his debut for the club on April 7th in a 1-0 win vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves. Leinhos went on to make six more appearances across all competitions for Louisville, and was released at the end of the season. After leaving Louisville, Leinhos signed with USL League One side One Knoxville SC for the 2023 season. Leinhos made his Knoxville debut in a U.S. Open Cup match vs. Memphis 901 FC, playing the full 120 minutes in an extra time loss.
MF – Collin Mocyunas
Following Marshall’s triumph over Indiana, Mocyunas stayed in Huntington for two more seasons, helping guide the Thundering Herd to two more NCAA Tournament appearances. Following his collegiate career, Mocyunas signed a two-year contract with South Georgia Tormenta of USL League One. He made his debut on April 2nd, coming on as a 77th-minute sub vs. Northern Colorado.
MF – Vinicius Fernandes
Like Mocyanus, Fernandes also remained with Marshall for two more years following their national title victory. Fernandes finished his five seasons at Marshall with 15 goals across 89 appearances. Following his collegiate career, Fernandes had an offer from FC Tulsa of the USL Championship, but the deal never came to fruition, and Fernandes hung up the boots.
MF – Pedro Dolabella
Another Brazilian on this Marshall squad, Pedro Dolabella was key to the Thundering Herd’s success, starting in every match that he played and playing the full 97 minutes in the final. Following his final season with Marshall in the fall of 2021, Dolabella joined Rochester NY in MLS Next Pro. Dolabella made his debut on March 25 vs. St. Louis City 2, and scored his first goal in a U.S. Open Cup win vs. FC Motown. Dolabella finished his first season in Rochester with six goals in 26 matches across all competitions, and was named to the MLS Next Pro Best XI. He was originally contracted to Rochester for the 2023 season, the team ceased operations. Dolabella joined USL League One side Union Omaha ahead of the 2023 season. Dolabella scored his first goal for the club in a cup loss to St. Louis City.
MF – Max Schneider
Schneider finished his college career at the end of the fall 2021 season before turning pro. Schneider signed for St. Louis City 2 ahead of their inaugural MLS Next Pro season in 2022. Schneider made his debut against former teammate Pedro Dolabella on March 25 vs. Rochester NY. He scored his first goal on April 11 vs. Tacoma Defiance, and then scored a brace later in the season vs. Sporting KC II. Ahead of St. Louis City’s inaugural MLS season in 2023, Schneider was promoted to the first team. He was loaned back to the reserve team ahead of the 2023 season.
MF – Joao Souza
The lone substitute for Marshall, Souza came on in the 66th minute and played 24 minutes in the National Championship. Souza went on to score 8 goals in 35 matches across the next two seasons for Marshall. Following four seasons at Marshall, Souza transferred to Pittsburgh where he will finish out his college eligibility.
FW – Vitor Dias
Dias played one more season at Marshall after the title triumph, finishing the 2021 season with five goals and five assists in 17 matches. After three seasons at Marshall, Dias signed with St. Louis City II ahead of the 2022 MLS Next Pro season. Dias scored a goal on his debut in a 2-0 win over Rochester, and went on to find the back of the net five more times in his rookie season. However, his contract was declined by St. Louis City II following the 2022 season. Dias signed with another MLS Next Pro team, Sporting KC II before the 2023 season. He made his debut on April 24th vs. FC Cincinnati 2.
FW – Milo Yosef
Following the unique 2020 season, Yosef played two more seasons with the Thundering Herd. The Aachen, Germany native finished his Marshall career with 27 goals in 74 matches across four seasons. Ahead of the 2023 USL Championship season, Yosef signed with FC Tulsa. He scored on his debut in a 1-1 draw vs. Miami FC, and has made 10 appearances across all competitions so far this season.
FW – Jamil Roberts
And last but not least, that night’s hero, Jamil Roberts. The historic goal that gave Marshall their first ever National Championship was Roberts’ final kick as a Marshall player. In the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, Roberts was selected 77th overall by Sporting Kansas City. Due to the uniqueness that was the college soccer season, Roberts was able to finish out his collegiate career and signed with Sporting KC II on July 1st, 2021. He made his debut 10 days later, and then scored his first goal for the club on August 12. Kansas City declined their option on Roberts following the season. Roberts signed with USL League One side South Georgia Tormenta ahead of the 2022 USL League One season. Roberts went on to score the winning goal in the 2022 USL League One final, giving the club its first trophy as a professional club. Despite the heroics, Tormenta declined the club option on Roberts. Ahead of the 2023 season, Roberts took his talents across the globe, signing for NPL Queensland side Peninsula Power, in the Australian second tier. Roberts scored his first goal for the club on April 22nd in a 3-2 win vs. Rochedale Rovers.
Head Coach – Chris Grassie
Grassie became the head coach at Marshall in 2017. He will enter his seventh season at the helm of the program in 2023. Grassie was in his fourth season as the head coach of the Thundering Herd when they won the 2020 National Championship with a history making and odds defying run in the NCAA Tournament that included wins over Fordham, Clemson, Georgetown, North Carolina and Indiana.
The Herd had eight win seasons under Grassie in 2017 and 2018. In a breakout 2019 season they had 16 wins, earned the program’s first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament, were awarded the number 11 seed, and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The success the program had in 2019 proved to be a springboard for their magical 2020 national championship.
Marshall has remained a force on the national scene under Grassie but they have not yet replicated the level of success they had in 2020. The Herd was 11-4-2 overall in 2021. Their season came to an unexpected end when they were upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Herd was ranked as the number 15 team in the country in the 2021 College Soccer News and United Soccer Coaches season ending polls.
Marshall was 11-4-4 overall in 2022 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Marshall was ranked as the number 12 team in the country in the 2022 College Soccer News and United Soccer Coaches season ending polls.
Picture from Tyler Able – Marshall Athletics
Brian Ludden is a contributing writer for College Soccer News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org