The competitive career of 2015 NC
Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Clark Brisson has taken him
a number of places, but when it is all sorted out, it becomes
very much a tale of the two Carolinas. It is a fact that
his collegiate game and much of his coaching and teaching
experience have been in South Carolina, and he certainly
has made an impact there. Yet we honor him in the Tar Heel
state because it was here that his soccer foundation was
laid, and it would be in Raleigh specifically that he would
be a part of scholastic sports history.
As a University of South Carolina
Gamecock from 1987-1990, Clark would score 36 goals and
26 assists, both top-six school records as of 2015. His
best year statistically was 1989, with 50 points (21g, 8a),
and this would lead to first team NSCAA All-America recognition.
The USC overall record during his time there was 61-14-11
with four NCAA tournament years and a College Cup semifinal
experience in 1988. He would cap off his collegiate career
with a United States team appearance in the 1991 World University
Games in England.
Professionally, Brisson would play
for almost a decade, highlighted by six years indoors in
the National Professional Soccer League, and would finish
his playing days with the Charleston Battery of the U.S.
A-League in 1999. Then, in 2000, he embarked on a coaching
career, much of it in the Palmetto State, and as of mid-2014
was Director of Coaching for the Chicago Fire Juniors City
club, the youth division of the MLS team.
In North Carolina, Brisson grew up
playing for several teams, including the ’69 Raleigh
Stars in the Capital Area Soccer League, and he did it well
enough to be named to the CASL Hall of Fame in the inaugural
players’ induction class in 2010. Guiding him at this
time were two influential mentors, Steve Almasi and Clark’s
father, Ike. But it was at Raleigh Sanderson High School
that he made a name for himself and became part of one of
the great high school stories in our state. In three varsity
years (1984-1986), he scored 76 goals and had 45 assists.
There were All-State and All-American recognition in ’85
and ’86, and he was the MVP in the state final in
1986 in the Spartans win over Winston-Salem Reynolds. And
as a team member, he was part of a then national record
of 103 wins without a loss (1982-87), one not surpassed
nationally for almost a decade. During his three varsity
years, Sanderson would go 71-0-4. On October 2, 2011, Clark
was inducted into the Charter Class of the Sanderson Athletics
Hall of Fame.
Brisson cites two influences: Sanderson
coach Bob Catapano (NC Soccer HOF 1999) and Don Worley,
his club coach outside of high school. Catapano writes,
“…listing his honors doesn’t do justice
to describing the impact he had on games…. His speed,
with and without the ball, was a factor that few opponents
could match. His ability to connect with teammates in tight
spaces made playing with him a joy. His desire and ability
to ‘take the game into his own hands’ when the
outcome was in doubt was a trademark …. I’m
telling you … the kid could play!”
That’s one Hall of Famer talking
about another, all made in North Carolina.
Welcome home, Clark Brisson.