Mark Village is a Canadian professional soccer player for Pacific FC in the Canadian Premier League, the first division of Canada. Village, a goalkeeper, played college soccer in Canada for the University of Fraser Village where he had a stellar career. Village signed his first professional contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015, and played for the Whitecaps II in the USL. He then moved to FC Cincinnati where he was a part of the FCC team that won the league in 2018. He recently moved back to his home country to play in the CPL.
The Mark Village Interview
1. Growing up in Canada, what was your youth career like?
Growing up in Canada playing soccer was great. I played for my local club, Abbotsford Mariners, for my whole youth career.
2. You played college soccer in Canada for University of Fraser Valley. How was your collegiate experience?
Playing college soccer in Canada is a little bit different than playing down in the states. For one, you can't get drafted into MLS from a Canadian University. That made my path to pro that much harder. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in University soccer. I had a lot of individual success during my time at UFV.
3. You signed your first professional contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015. How were you feeling after signing?
As I said before, I was eligible to be drafted from a Canadian University so I had to go on trial to a Pro club. Luckily, Whitecaps FC 2 (Whitecaps FC reserve Team) were facing their inaugural season. I went on trial with them and made the team. I was feeling good after making the team but I also realized there was a lot of work still to do.
4. You got your first professional minutes in the USL with the Whitecaps II. How was our time in Vancouver? What did it teach you?
My time in Vancouver taught me resilience and patience. I didn't get as much playing time as I would have liked but I learned how to push that aside and keep working hard every single session.
5. In 2018, you transferred to FC Cincinnati to play under your former coach, Alan Koch. How was the transition from Vancouver to Cincinnati?
My hard work paid off as I was brought to FC Cincinnati by my old Coach Alan Koch. It was an honour to wear the badge for one of the biggest clubs in North America. Cincinnati was a lot different than Vancouver but I really enjoyed my time there.
6. What was the atmosphere like at FC Cincinnati games?
The atmosphere was like nothing I have experienced as a player. The fans showed up in the thousands every single game. They were crazy for the team. I always enjoyed walking out and hearing the 'bailey' chat and sing their songs.
7. Describe the emotions in the locker room after winning the regular season championship award with FCC?
It was my first trophy as a pro. A pretty special moment being able to lift that shield with my teammates who had worked so hard to achieve that over the entire season!
8. After FCC, you went to the CPL to play for Pacific FC. How has your time been in the CPL?
My time in the CPL has been really good! Finally getting some consistent playing time which is beneficial to my playing career.
9. What’s it like to play tier one professional soccer in your home country?
It's pretty special to be in a tier one league anywhere in the world. To have that in your own country is huge for me. Canada was a little late to the party of getting their own league but we finally have it now.
10. Who’s your biggest role model and why?
My biggest role model growing up was Peter Schmeichel. He was the GK for Denmark and Manchester United when I was growing up. I have always looked up to him because of his playing style.
11. Craziest story from your career?
I think winning the league last year with FCC was pretty crazy.
12. What’s the coolest stadium you’ve ever played in?
The coolest stadium I have played in... I have a few. Nippert Stadium is up there just because of the fans. Rio Tinto Stadium where I made my pro debut is a very nice stadium in a nice location.
13. Where do you see yourself after your playing career?
I don't know quite yet! I enjoy coaching. I also enjoy helping others. Time will tell!
14. What’s your biggest piece of advice for young players looking to become professional?
My advice to young players is that anything is possible so just keep on working hard and try to achieve your goals.
15. What separates a professional from an amateur?
16. If you had to give a lesson on one thing without any preparation, what would that be?
I would give a lesson on Goalkeeping because I feel like I know a decent amount about the subject.
17. If you could have a dinner with 3 people, who would they be?
Peter Schmeichel, Jurgen Klopp, and Will Smith.
18. Any last words for the readers?
Thanks for reading!
Interview by Christopher Dailey
Big ups to Mark for the awesome interview! We wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors!