Coach Mark Carver was an important role model in my life. He loved music, especially the Allman Brothers Band, and played competitive doubles tennis into his later years. Mark served the community as a youth soccer coach for many years in Atlanta, Georgia with AYSA (Atlanta Youth Soccer Association) and Druid Hills High School (Alumni, Class of 1979). During his soccer playing days Mark was a no-nonsense midfielder and physical defender known for bravely putting his head where the boots were flying. One of my favorite memories was during an away game at a large sports complex in suburban Georgia when our team met in the parking lot and piled into the back of Mark’s small, red pick-up truck, he then drove us to the playing field. The other team’s parents and players were shocked, believing we rode all the way from Atlanta like that which was hilarious.
I first played on Mark’s team in 8th grade alongside his son Owen, a talented footballer blessed with his dad’s mop of curly hair. We practiced on a field at Shamrock Middle with old H-shaped field goals that were featured in the movie “Remember the Titans.” Mark had a great sense of humor, was passionate about mentoring youth through coaching, and was the most encouraging coach during my time playing goalkeeper. The last time I saw Mark before he unexpectedly passed away was during the USA’s match against Portugal in the 2014 World Cup. Jermaine Jones blasted in a long-range wonder goal during the upset victory over Portugal and the restaurant exploded in celebration.
Through this painting and sharing stories of his life, Mark’s memory and sporting legacy can live on. The sugar skull’s eyes are references to the Allman Brothers Album “Eat a Peach” and the match ball from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Mark is survived by his wife Bonnie and their two children, Owen and Amanda.