Gregg Berhalter has been busy putting his stamp on the Crew during his six months in charge. He's brought in several new players in his short time at the help. A key piece of the Berhalter plan is goalkeeper, Steve Clark. Clark spent the last four seasons playing professionally in Norway for Honefoss BK. While Clark played collegiately in Michigan and got his first taste of professional soccer in the States, he truly launched his career when made his way to Europe. I was able to speak with, Bjorn Grefsurd a leader of the Fosseberget Supporters Group, about his four seasons with Honefoss BK.
In my e-mail conversation with, Grefsurd, he describes Clark as a real character, "...he was the person who was the most visible person among the players. Pranks, funny comments and always had one smile lurking . Obelix is a French cartoon character, who fell into a barrel as a child and got super powers. Steve MUST have done the same , but the barrel must have been filled with RedBull..."
Clark made his way to Honefoss BK after an unsuccessful trial at Stabek FC, also in Norway. Honefoss supporters took to Clark immediately. Grefsurd describes one of the reasons Clark became one of the supporters favorites, "He has so much energy, yet as he shows this in the extreme will to win, and for us in Norway we like an American attitude to challenges."
In the days after the Crew signed Clark many fans took to Youtube to look at the highlights of Clark's play. Those highlights seem to be common place for Clark's time with Honefoss, "he is a match winner! Steve can bring out the best saves, and when he is in battle mode, no one scores on Super Clark!", said Grefsurd. The nickname, "Super Clark" comes from supporters using the saying, "it's a bird, it's a plane, it's Super Clark!" to describe the magnificent saves Clark was routinely making. Consistency was something Clark struggled with in his early days with Honefoss, however he eventually started to produce consistent displays every week and helped Honefoss to two promotions during his time with the club.
Clark's mentality was also the root of extreme highs and lows. Grefsurd spoke to this, "One particular story is when the Hønefoss proceeded from 2.runde (2nd round) in the Norwegian Cup. After 90 minutes and extra time it was eventually time for penalties. Steve psyched out several of the opponents, he became one (known for it). Steve Clark spoke to the media after the game. "Many times it's the crazy goalkeepers who wins", he said. He was not embarrassed by the behavior. "It's psychological. They said a lot of things to me during the game. I grew up with this. I like to do it. I tried to stop, but if they wish to do so, they must know that I never give up!" Clark also got in his own way as he has had several incidents with opposing supporters who got under his skin during the game. This resulted Clark in having to issue a public apology.
Honefoss BK supporters will always appreciate the quality, passion, and charisma that Clark brought to the team. It is early days for Clark in Columbus, but some of those qualities have started to show themselves already.