Mark Lee has balanced an array of responsibilities, but it hasn’t deterred him from pursuing his dreams on the soccer field.
Lee is the starting left defender for the Seattle Sounders FC’s U-23 team this season. The team is 4-5-4 and in fourth place in the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division.
Lee, who juggles roles as the Pierce College men’s soccer coach and a full-time job at Looker Asphalt, doesn’t have much down time.
“When you put it all together, it comes to about 70 hours a week for me,” Lee said. “It’s all about balance. With work, coaching and playing soccer, it is a lot. I love it. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Lee hopes his team can advance to the playoffs this summer.
“We lost a couple of games that we shouldn’t have,” he said. “We still have a chance and are battling for a spot in the playoffs. There is no room for error right now.”
At 25, Lee is the second oldest player on the team. Rules state that each U-23 team in the league is allowed to have eight players on the team who are older than 23. He played for the Portland Thorn FC last year.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’m playing on a team and still running around the field with guys who are seven or eight years younger than me.”
Two years ago, Lee had a tryout slated with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer, but things didn’t go according to plan.
“I had the tryout scheduled and my flight booked,” he said. “A huge storm hit, and my flight got postponed. After that, their coach ended up getting fired. I never went there for the tryout. It just didn’t work out.”
Lee said he plans to play soccer for as long as his body allows him to do it.
“I have learned a lot from the sport and have made a lot of friends,” he said. “It’s helped me in so many ways and has connected me with a lot of great people.
“I love playing soccer. It is just too hard to give it up. It is definitely worth it to continue playing for me.”