Lansing’s soccer community welcomed back Steve Clark with open arms during Sunday afternoon’s Lansing United match.
The Mason native and Columbus Crew goalkeeper was on hand at the East Lansing Soccer Complex for United’s 2-2 draw with the Crew College Program. Smiles were frequent as the MLS keeper signed autographs and took pictures with United fans before being recognized on the field at halftime.
“Coming back, I see all of the Lansing United jerseys and the great support,” Clark said. “Lansing’s always had a great history of soccer and to see this team here and the support around it coming home, it’s fantastic.”
Clark was presented with a framed Lansing United jersey by team owner Jeremy Sampson during the halftime ceremony, a memento he said he’ll feature at his home.
A 2004 graduate of Mason High School, he also had a chance to congratulate school’s boy’s soccer team, which won the Division 2 state title last fall and was recognized as well.
Clark said he’s thrilled that Lansing United is helping further grow the area’s soccer community and culture and wishes the opportunity to play for a club like the NPSL franchise during his development.
“Kudos to Jeremy (Sampson) for putting this on but the community really is the star here for supporting it and coming to these games,” said Clark, who has started in 83 straight matches for the Crew including the 2015 MLS Cup. “It’s a big deal for these kids to come up here and see these role models and believes in themselves to do more than just wanting to play high school, college and pro. Anytime that we can put ideas in young kids’ heads, and give them an example of it like Lansing United, it’s great for the area.
“I’m so happy and a proud supporter of Lansing United.”
While the 30-year-old still has a lengthy professional career ahead of him, he hasn’t ruled out a return to Lansing to play for his hometown club.
“Maybe sometime down the line I’ll come back and get out of my retirement from MLS and play for Lansing United,” he said with a laugh.