by Mark Vincent Lincir
The challenge of back-packing across Europe looking for a professional club was not something new to former Oakland University goalkeeper Steve Clark.
Well, at least the “roughing it” part wasn’t. When he was in college, the Michigan native was evicted from his apartment and instead of getting a new one chose to live in a tent in the woods off campus for three months…complete with camp fires and acoustic guitar sing-a-longs.
Now the 24-year-old is playing for Honefoss and truly living the dream. The quirky 6’2 190 lb. keeper took some time to answer a few questions about his unique journey and what it took to make it.
What was your off season like?
My off season this year was a little different than most professionals as I only took one week off. I chose not to re-negotiate with Charleston and risk coming to Europe in December. So I moved back home and started training immediately. I literally had 13 dollars in my bank account at that time…seriously. So I slept in my car for a week then luckily I moved in my friend’s basement at Oakland University and began two-a-days with a strength coach and some other professional hopefuls. I could not find work anywhere in October, the economy in the Detroit area is terrible man. So I just kept training and got a little coaching work. I sold most of what I own…TV, stereo…dude, you name it I sold it…clothes, whatever. I managed to acquire $3,500 dollars and flew to England Dec. 1st to train with Bradford City for a month. Then Jan 1st I flew to Norway and started calling clubs and eventually landed a trial with Stabak then signed with Honefoss.
Do you rub the fact that you’re a professional soccer player in your friend’s faces?
I often got laughed at for how hard I worked and how serious I was about soccer in college and now I say this quite often, “I use to get laughed at by people and now they work in sales and I live my dreams.”
If you had to get a real job today, what would it be and why?
I get asked a lot what I would be doing if I didn’t play and my answer is I have no idea. I never had a back up plan. I heard a story about a pirate ship once that went like this…a Captain of the ship came down to speak to his men before they went into battle and as the whole ship waited for his words, he had some men lower the life boats off the ship and then sank them in front of all of his men. The Captain then went back into his quarters. Although he didn’t say a word his message was simple, there are no life boats in this battle, no back up plans. You either succeed or—…that was basically my mentality before I signed with Honefoss.
What is the coolest thing about playing in Norway?
The best part about playing for Norway is being in a country where football or soccer is the number one sport. The town is buzzing with anticipation for the upcoming season. Norway is a great country to start your European Career. Also, personally for me…it’s the satisfaction of rolling the dice by back-packing through Europe with only my ability and confidence and succeeding with out anyone’s help. I rolled the dice and I won.
Are all the women in Norway hot?
Well, I happen to be dating one of the most beautiful women in the world so I am very well taken care of. But back to your question, yes the women of Norway are blonde and beautiful…fit as well.
Do Norwegians like that you’re American?
Everywhere I go people seem to want to know about America. So I get asked a lot of questions about college, high school and if they are like the movies. I am also very out going and talk to everyone…joke, laugh and be me. Norwegian culture is more reserved so I definitely stick out because of my loud mouth.
Have you adjusted well to life in a new country?
I think I have adjusted well to being in Norway but whenever you move to another country it can be difficult. I don’t speak Norwegian yet so that has been a struggle. Little things like getting an apartment, phone, TV and being comfortable with your surroundings have taken some effort. It’s a great country though and I am very happy.