MONTREAL – When goalkeeper George Marks was drafted in the 3rd round of the MLS SuperDraft, many expected him to come in as a third or fourth string keeper. But through his aptitude for the position and hard work, Marks exceeded expectations to earn the backup position. And perhaps sooner than he even expected, Marks got his opportunity to be "the guy" against C.F. Montreal to make his MLS debut. 

“It was really fun, I think that was one of my main goals going out there, is making sure the moment didn’t pass me by. It was something that was running through my head the whole time. Don’t be afraid of something that I’ve hope and prayed for so long, that has been a goal for me for so long. 

“So, I tried to channel every bit of nervous energy into excitement and really enjoy it. Obviously finishing it’s a little bit disappointing but I’m trying to take some positives out of it, just like the team is.” 

One of the positives Marks refers to was the opportunity for some of the young Americans on the team to get minutes and show what they're made of. One of them was Quinn McNeill who won the National Championship with Marks at Clemson University just a year ago.

“I think there is definitely some obvious ones [positives] in getting young guys minutes. Obviously, we were a little bit more depleted than we would have liked to have been tonight. But being able to get three MLS debuts and Chris [Hegardt] to come in who hasn’t played for a while. And especially those last two guys and Koa [Santos] as well, really I felt, left their stamp on the game. 

“Incredibly proud of them. It’s something we can build off knowing that we have that depth to rely on all these guys and give everybody a fight with anybody playing in our system.” 

This wasn't the first time we had seen Marks on the pitch for Charlotte FC. He was the starting goalkeeper against the Greenville Triumph and Richmond Kickers in the Club's U.S. Open Cup run. An experience that Marks believes helped immensely for his MLS debut.

“Goalkeeper I think is an experienced based position, so the more games you get under your belt, the more you tend to see those performances go up. Today, was obviously another step up, up that ladder. But I think going from Open Cup to this MLS debut was definitely a lot easier than if I would have had to go straight in from college ball.” 

As the backup goalkeeper, Marks has to be ready at any given moment to come into a match. He approaches training every week as if he were going to play so this past week was no different.

“I mean ideally, I’ve been on the bench for every game this season, so the idea is I’m preparing the same way. So, I didn't have to do much different today. Obviously, that’s idealistic, there’s a little bit that changes when you know you’re going to be the guy. 

“But my process was still the same and I felt confident just like I felt like I would be coming off the bench if I needed to in another game.”