This year sees the Marauders in their 25th consecutive playoff season. 15 of those have been behind the 15-year leadership of John Gall.
The proud Welshman arrived at Marcus at the age of 25 in August of 2001, and ever since it’s been playoff run after playoff run.
“When I interviewed with Dr Kevin Rogers (then Marcus principal), Randy Mayes (then Marcus AD) and Buster Leaf (then LISD AD) I ended by asking them what the expectations were at Marcus. Their response was ‘to win’…I think we’ve far surpassed that in developing a culture of excellence and incredibly high standards and expectations – to go along with the winning”, said Gall.
The Marauders are close to 300 wins in Gall’s era, claiming 5 district championships, back-to-back State Championships and a National Championship in 2007. 2 players have been named State Player of the Year and over 100 players have progressed to become collegiate soccer players to the likes of UC Santa Barbara, SMU, UNC, Colgate, William and Mary, Tulsa, Houston Baptist, MIT and most recently Harvard, to name a few.
“It does not feel that long ago when I first took over a program with players only a few years younger than me. It was ‘in at the deep’ end but I earned their immediate respect as I was able to do the things I was asking them to do, as I was still playing at the time. The players knew from day one that this was going to be someone that demanded the best out of them every day”, added Gall.
Owen Lyon, a graduate of Gall’s first class in 2002 has nothing but praise for his former coach, “Playing for Marcus FC was one of the most important times of my life. The history of the program and the culture that engulfed you. The players and coaches made the four years an incredible experience. To be in my thirties now and to still follow how Coach Gall and the program is doing speaks volumes about a program’s impact on young men’s lives. To have been part of that family was an honor”.
Marcus has been a household name for many years and it is astonishing that they have been able to continue their success all of these years with such a large target on their back.
“Right from the outset we’ve been everybody’s target, but that’s what has allowed us to be successful, and in all honesty what I enjoy. We work tremendously hard and the players can always see that this is a huge part of my life, and very important. My upbringing in the South Wales valleys certainly instilled passion, hard work, commitment and honesty in me – and that is there for everyone to see…running down that touchline to celebrate with my players”, beamed Gall.
“My time playing for Marcus FC was an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was fortunate to get to play with some of the best players in the state and for the best coaching staff in the state of Texas. I made life long friends with teammates with whom I still remain in contact. I was fortunate to be part of some extremely successful teams throughout my four years at Marcus. Individually I had some success also, and all of the individual awards and a accolades I received were all because of the players I played with, and most importantly the coach I played for. To this day I remain in contact with Coach Gall and regularly go up to train at the school or to just go and talk soccer with him and check in on the team. He and the program are both something very special to me in my development as a player and a man. For me, the thing I enjoy most is to continue to see the progress and the success of the program years later after I have graduated. 25 years overall but 15 years consecutively making the playoffs with two state championships and a national championship is a remarkable achievement for Coach Gall and the Marcus FC program and I am honored to say that I have been a part of it”, commented 2010 State Player of the Year, Zach Barnes.
It is apparent that Marcus FC means a lot to many people, with alumni players coming back in droves to play each year, alumni players attending many games and most recently Ryan Wisniewski from Gall’s first season in 2002 watched them beat McKinney Boyd 6-0 last week with his family on hand.
2008 State Player of the Year and UIL All-Century 2nd Team player Sam Garza is quick to point out, “I am so thankful for what Coach Gall has done in my life. Up to this day, through club, college and my professional career, I have not had a better coach than John Gall. What he has done for not only me, but the entire Marcus Boys Soccer Program speaks so highly about his character. His winning mentality, work ethic and attitude that he brings every day is the reason why the Marauders are state championship contenders every year. We were fortunate to win two of those state championships back-to-back, and that was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had. All because of John Gall. All the success I have had in my career couldn’t have happened without his coaching. His mentality and attitude trickled down to everyone on the team and that’s why we were so successful. I am one of many voices from MMFC’s alumni throughout his coaching tenure, who say the same thing. We have a great personal relationship to this day, and he is someone who has had a tremendous influence on my life!”
“At the end of the day what I enjoy most about being in the position I am in is first and foremost that my family are by my side at each game and are Marcus FC’s biggest fans! It’s also so very satisfying knowing that I give my all for my players. Players know that I care and players know that what I do is for them. I am so fortunate to have coached so many great kids and superb players here at Marcus FC and I know that it is something that they will be able to proudly talk about to their grandkids”, Gall concluded.
Marcus FC begins its 25th consecutive playoff season against Keller at Grapevine’s Mustang-Panther Stadium on Thursday, March 24th at 7pm.