Where are they now? Mark Wilson
Ever wondered what former Swans stars have been up to since hanging up their boots?
Well you are in the right place.
As part of a regular feature, we take a look at what some ex-Swansea City favourites have done since leaving SA1.
This week we track down former loanee Mark Wilson, who impressed at Vetch Field under Brian Flynn and is now working in the USA.
When Mark Wilson was just 13 years of age, he was spotted by a Manchester United scout playing for his local town team.
After a successful trial at the club’s Cliff Training Ground in 1995, he became a trainee with the Red Devils, putting pen-to-paper on a professional contract in February 1996.
Wilson’s first-team debut for the club arrived in October 1998, when he replaced Dwight Yorke as a substitute in United’s 6-2 thrashing of Brondby in the Champions League during the club’s famous treble season.
It was the first of 10 appearances he made for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team prior to a transfer to Middlesbrough in the summer of 2001.
“Playing in the Champions League, the League Cup, the Premier League and the World Club Cup for Manchester United are moments of my career I will never forget,” Wilson says.
“Every time I played for United, I knew I had earned my place. My time there was a unique experience that was full of challenges and adversity as well as moments of euphoria. That is just as you would expect at the world’s most prestigious football club.”
As an up-and-coming United player, Wilson was loaned to Wrexham during the 1997-98 season.
Following his move to Middlesbrough, for whom he made 24 appearances between 2001 and 2005, he had further loan spells with the likes of Stoke City, Sheffield Wednesday, Doncaster Rovers and Livingstone.
He also spent part of the 2003-2004 campaign here at Swansea City.
“My loan to Swansea came about through (then Swans boss) Brian Flynn,” explains Wilson.
“He took me on loan to Wrexham from United when I was 18 and that experience became the catalyst for my progression when I returned to Old Trafford the following season.
“After I had moved to Middlesbrough from United as a 21-year-old, I had already suffered two serious injuries. That limited my opportunities in my first two seasons at Boro.
“When Brian came knocking to see if I would like to join the Swans on loan for a month or two I jumped at the chance.
“The three months I eventually ended up spending with Swansea were some of the happiest and most enjoyable memories I have of playing.
“The fans were absolutely amazing and I had the pleasure of playing with the likes of Lee Trundle, Robbie Martinez and Mr Swansea himself, Leon Britton.”
Wilson’s Swans debut came in a 2-2 draw at Scunthorpe United in September 2003.
It was the first of 13 appearances he made for Flynn’s team. There were two goals in a Swans shirt, in a 2-1 victory at Carlisle United and a 1-0 success at Rochdale.
“It was a good introduction to my Swansea City career, making my debut against my hometown club, Scunthorpe United,” smiles Wilson.
“We had a player sent off that day and still managed to leave with a point, so it was a decent debut.
“Both the goals I scored for Swansea resulted in away wins for us, so that was an obvious highlight for me.”
After Middlesbrough, Wilson’s career took him to the United States as he signed for FC Dallas.
Following two seasons in the MLS, he played for the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Tranmere Rovers (loan), Walsall (loan) and Oxford United before retiring as a professional player in 2013 having spent a brief period back at Doncaster on a non-contract basis.
“I moved back out to the United States almost immediately after retiring from playing in 2013,” explains Wilson.
“I played in the MLS between 2005 and 2007 and that made me fully aware of the growth and development of the game in the USA.
“I always wanted to come back stateside and try to have a positive impact on the development of the game at the grass-roots level.
“In my opinion, this is where the most detailed focus and guidance is needed to support the volume of players now participating in soccer across the country.
“Currently I am a regional director for a select soccer programme delivered by one of the governing bodies in youth soccer.
“US Club Soccer's PDP (player development programme) selects the best players from local travel soccer clubs and places them on the pathway to id2 (a talent development programme) and the national team pools.
“I take care of the New Jersey region and I also coach in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
“Our programme also delivers a centre of excellence for all of these regions via the NYCSL (New York Club Soccer League).
“The role is mainly focused on player selection across eight different age groups, as well as coach education.”
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