Playing defense is just one of the duties for the Red’s senior co-captain Dan Marks. Even though Marks plays in the backfield, his leadership has always been in the forefront.
At the culmination of last season, he was elected by his teammates to serve as co-captain along with junior back Kyle Lynch. So far Marks hasn’t disappointed, pacing the team with exemplary work ethic and skill.
“Every coach wants a player like him,” said head coach Bryan Scales.
Honored by his selection, the Oregon native has embraced his title as the leader of the squad. Realizing that without action, the title is irrelevant, Marks has practiced active leadership.
“Captain is just the name,” Marks said. “I try to set an example, bringing intensity, confidence and pride every time we play.”
Intensity might be an understatement — Marks brings passion every time he steps on the pitch, including practice. During workouts, Marks has battled with even his own twin brother, Tom, a senior midfielder. Playing together from their high school days, the two have built a familiarity with each other that has resulted in a competitive relationship in which each has pushed the other to improve.
“It is pretty enjoyable to watch them. I have never seen kids battle, compete, scrap and pull like those two,” Scales said, “When they play against each other, brotherly love takes a back seat.”
“We just know how to push each other’s buttons,” Marks said.
While the mechanical and aerospace engineering major enjoys playing against his twin brother, he would much more prefer playing with him.
One of Marks’ top moments from this season was foreseeing the goal that his brother scored against Hartford.
Although Dan enjoyed his brother’s goal against Hartford, he favors his goal against New Hampshire more. Before the contest with the Wildcats, the defensive-minded Marks hadn’t scored a goal since high school during a penalty shootout.
With the match scoreless for over 70 minutes, Marks made a streaking run into the box. Getting his head on a cross from junior Brian Kuritzky, he sent a glancing header near-post past a diving New Hampshire keeper. His improbable goal couldn’t have come at a better time as the Red, which went on to win the game — the team’s only victory this season.
After graduating, Marks will pursue a career within his major but hasn’t jettisoned the possibility of playing in the United Soccer League’s Premier Developmental League. A more immediate goal for Marks and the Red is an Ivy League championship.
“Our goal is to score more than 20 and allow less than 20 goals,” Marks said, “If we can do that, we will probably win the Ivies.”
As of today, the Red have allowed eight and scored five goals, meaning the remainder of the year will be an upward climb.
But if anybody is going to lead the Red through its challenge, you can bet it is going to be Marks.