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Burch Sees Self in Memphis’ Attitude, Commitment

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 01/30/19, 4:03PM EST


901 FC’s first captain aiming to epitomize city’s grit, dedication to hard work

Throughout his professional career, Marc Burch has been the epitomy of hard work, a trait that aligns perfectly with his new club, Memphis 901 FC. | Photo courtesy Colorado Rapids

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – From Marc Burch’s perspective, he and the city of Memphis have a lot in common.

As the first captain of expansion USL Championship club Memphis 901 FC, whose signing was officially announced on Wednesday morning at AutoZone Park, the veteran defender is ready to be the embodiment of what he sees as a city that rewards and appreciates hard work.

“I fell in love with the game of soccer while playing with my brothers and sisters in our backyard, but what I really always loved was the competition,” Burch wrote in a column for the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that appeared in Wednesday morning’s newspaper. “I wanted to win and succeed at what I was doing. That’s always been important to me. I learned how to do moves, tackle, shoot, and cross, all in my backyard.

“There was something about seeing my older siblings playing that gave me the drive to do what they were doing, but also try to be better.

“As I think about it, all of this reflects Memphis, too. Not being given anything. Having to work. And work, and work. And wanting to not just do something, but wanting to be the best at it.”

Burch’s career has been epitomized by hard work. A winner of the MLS Supporter’s Shield in 2007 and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2008 with D.C. United, Burch’s 13-season career in the top flight hasn’t been that of one of the league’s superstars. And yet, in the league’s history he ranks 101st all-time in regular-season appearances with 234, a symbol of the reliability he brought to all six teams he represented over those years.

From being selected by the LA Galaxy in 2006 to quickly being traded to Columbus Crew SC later that season, Burch carved out his place in the league by being a player that could be counted on in all situations. From his time with D.C. United to stints with Seattle Sounders FC, the Colorado Rapids and Minnesota United FC, he’s been a player that has always drawn admiration from coaches and teammates. 

Marc Burch has made 234 regular-season appearances over more than a decade spent in Major League Soccer. | Photo courtesy Minnesota United FC

Now he’s looking to take his place as a leader for 901 FC as it enters its inaugural season with a cast of players that will have the chance to pull from the extensive experience Burch’s career has presented him.

“This is an opportunity to have a fresh start, and as the first team captain in franchise history, be a leader on a new team,” wrote Burch. “To help show the young guys just starting their professional careers what it takes day-in and day-out to make it.”

For Memphis’ leadership, the addition of Burch to their squad is maybe the most significant arrival of the offseason, giving the club an on-field leader that has seen everything the game has to offer over the past decade.

“Marc is the veteran leader that we have been looking for to steer us in Year 1, and his experience at the highest level makes him the perfect captain to lead the way,” said 901 FC Head Coach Tim Mulqueen. “It is a coup for us to bring an MLS player still in his prime to the City of Memphis.”

“I very much enjoyed playing with Marc with the Rapids, and I am happy he chose to continue his professional career in Memphis,” added 901 FC minority owner Tim Howard, who saw up close what Burch brings during their time together at the Rapids. “His toughness, passion, and dedication will fit perfectly with what Andrew Bell and Coach Mulqueen are building in The Bluff City.”

A Cincinnati native, Burch sees his arrival in Memphis as bringing him full-circle from the times he had growing up, playing with his older siblings in the back yard as he honed a talent that would take him first to the United States U-20 National Team and then a long professional career.

With an attitude that epitomizes what makes Memphis the proud city it is, Burch is eager to lead a side that Memphis will find new and exciting, and yet familiar.

“Skill and raw ability can only take you so far in this game, and the only thing that can make you successful is having the right mentality,” wrote Burch. “That’s life. That’s Memphis, too.

“I’m glad to be here, and I can’t wait to go on this journey with all of you.” 

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