[PROFILE] Mark Chung - Soccer Player
- Mark Chung: American Soccer's Coolest Man
By Brian Kluepfel
All-star soccer player Mark Chung pretty much defines the
word "multicultural." Born in Toronto of Chinese Jamaican parents,
Chung grew up in Florida, and his professional career in Major League
Soccer has included stops in Kansas City, New York and now Colorado,
where he excels as a midfielder for Denver's Rapids.
Chung lived in Toronto until the age of 12 when the family moved to
Florida. In March 2000, his adopted hometown of Pembroke Pines had
a "Mark Chung Day" in his honor. Having the choice among three
national teams in the early `90's, he chose to play for the United
States over Canada or Jamaica because "they were the stronger team at
Chung went on to play at the University of South Florida. His first
professional experience came with the Continental Indoor Soccer
League's San Diego Sockers in 1995. He made a stunning debut, netting
29 goals and 22 assists to win the CISL Rookie of the Year award.
This success put him on the radar of the newly-formed Major League
Soccer association, and when the nascent organization had its first
draft in 1996, Chung was the sixth player chosen overall.
He went on to register double-digits in either goals or assists in
two of the next six seasons, three in Kansas City and three in New
York. The MetroStars probably still rue the day they cut him loose
last winter, and Colorado picked him up.
Coach Tim Hankinson counts on Chung to add punch to the Rapids'
offense. "He is one of the best wing midfielders, who can take a shot
from either side, and one of the best flank players in the league,"
said the coach. "He was a great pickup for us."
For the second time in his career, Chung was chosen as a member of
the league's elite "Best XI," and for the third time represented his
team in the annual All-Star game.
In a 5-2 thrashing of New England this season, Chung scored in the
very first minute of play and then again 30 minutes later. He was
named the Player of the Week for that effort, and for a similar two-
goal show the following week. He led the Rapids in scoring this
season, tallying double-digits in both goals (11) and assists (10) on
a team that includes international stars like Colombian Carlos
Valderrama and Scotsman John Spencer.
Chung may be known to opposing defenders for his rare combination of
offensive skills, but there is one characteristic that truly sets him
apart from his MLS counterparts: an unflappable demeanor. Chung was
named the league's Fair Play award winner for the second time this
season (he also won the award in 1997 as a member of Kansas City
Wizards). The award denotes the player who is the best sportsman on
Chung started 32 regular-season and playoff matches for the Rapids,
and did not receive one disciplinary sanction. Remarkably, for a
player who has logged the second-most games and minutes in MLS
history, Chung has received only four cautions (yellow cards) in
seven complete seasons. Most amazing is his refusal to retaliate he
was the most-fouled player (456) in that same time span.
The one opportunity that has eluded the 32-year old is a chance to
play for the ultimate prize. He's played 24 times for the U.S.
National Team, but not in a World Cup match. In this year's playoffs,
Chung's sudden-death overtime header knocked the Dallas Burn out of
the quarterfinal with Colorado, but the Rapids were eliminated by
eventual champion Los Angeles in the MLS Cup semifinals. But you
know, no matter what happens to Mark Chung, he'll remain a cool
Rapids Mark Chung Tabbed For POW
NEW YORK (Tuesday, May 28, 2002) - Colorado Rapids midfielder Mark
Chung was selected as Major League Soccer's Player of the Week for
the week ending May 26, 2002. Chung tallied twice for the Rapids to
key a first-half onslaught during a 5-2 win against New England
Wednesday night in Denver. In claiming the honor Chung becomes the
first individual in League history to earn Player of the Week
accolades with three different clubs.
The Rapids began the assault immediately after the opening kickoff,
as Chung converted only 32 seconds from the opening whistle.
Intercepting a Jay Heaps pass, Chris Henderson sent the ball
downfield to Chung. The veteran flanker took a wicked one-time shot
that blazed past goalkeeper Juergen Sommer and buried itself deep
into the back of the net. Chung's goal is tied for the third fastest
from the opening kickoff in MLS history.
Chung added his second goal of the night in the 31st minute, catching
Sommer off his line with a looping strike. As Sommer moved out to cut
down a potential cross, the Rapids' midfielder hammered the ball
across the mouth of the goal and into the upper right corner of the
net. Carlos Valderrama became the first player in MLS history to
amass 100 career assists on the play.
The University of South Florida product was also awarded MLS Player
of the Week honors with the MetroStars in 1999 when he scored a goal
and added two helpers in a 3-2 victory against the Miami Fusion and
with the Kansas City Wizards in 1996 when he totaled a goal and three
assists in a 5-1 drubbing of D.C. United.
Now with three goals and two assists on the season, Chung has helped
lead the Rapids (5-3-1, 16 pts) past the Los Angeles Galaxy into
second place in the Western Conference behind the League-leading San
In collecting his third weekly award with three different teams,
Chung outdistanced the New England Revolution forward Taylor
Twellman, Rapids teammate Chris Henderson, MetroStars midfielder Tab
Ramos and Dallas Burn midfielder Chad Deering for the honor. Major
League Soccer's Player of the Week is selected every Monday
throughout the MLS season by a panel of journalists from PSRA.
Ht: 5-7 Wt: 155
Resides:Pembroke Pines, Florida
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
College: Univ. of South Florida
2002 Most Valuable Player - Mark Chung
Four-time MLS All-Star Mark Chung came to the Rapids just prior to
the start of the 2002 season via trade on Allocation Draft Day and
quickly showed he fit into the Colorado game plan, posting four
points in the club's first three games. Twenty-three games later, the
midfielder stood on the edge of a career-best season and ended the
campaign in late September with 11 goals, 10 assists (32 points) as
the Rapids' leader and only player in MLS to have reached double-
digits in both goals and assists this year