Photo by John King – UltiPhotos.com
Word recently dropped that a Rainmaker was defecting to a rival squad, and the rumors are true: Mark Burton will be a Stag in 2014.
Although Burton is giving up the blue and white stripes for a set of antlers, he stresses that there are no hard feelings.
“I still got mad love for Seattle. And I am still living up here, so I will be seeing the guys and fans around,” he said. “This is a door that was opened up and I needed to step through.”
In fact, Burton originally tried out in Portland before the inaugural season and made the team, but decided to go with Seattle in the end. So this new signing is not a malignant gesture, as if to say that he is turning his back on the city that gave him his first professional contract. Burton is anything but ungrateful.
“Last year was amazing. Ben and Andy were amazing at coaching and are irreplaceable, and I am going to miss playing with the Rainmakers a lot. I built relationships with people on the team and I am going to miss the chemistry I built with the guys on the field, and more importantly off it. The Rainmakers gave me an amazing opportunity and words can’t express how much I appreciate it, from Max and Gemma, to Ben and Andy, to my teammates, and most importantly the fans.”
“My best memory from last season,” Burton recalls, “was the game at home against the Dogfish when we came from behind and won the game. The fans’ energy drove us to that victory. It was hard to hear each other on the field it was so loud. From every 6-year old to 65-year old, they were there, dedicated and ready to cheer us on. It’s an amazing thing to see that. Thanks so much to the fans for a great first year and for letting the Rainmakers be your team.”
But as deep as his love for Seattle runs, Burton is licking his chops for the prospects of Portland.
“Last year was a great experience where we were successful in certain ways, but it’s in the past and I’m happy for what is in front of me now. I’m really looking forward to the next season.”
So what can Burton groupies expect as they follow him southward?
“I’m bringing a balance of winning and competitive attitude with passion and love for the game and my teammates. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans of Portland with a team running on all cylinders and seeing the smiles on their faces and hearing the ohhhs and ahhhs.”
“I am excited to play with the Portland core and seeing how the team develops,” Burton said. “Portland in all honesty gives me a fresh start and a new adventure with different players and style. I will also be joining a team in which I am excited to grow and develop from day one. The pieces are on the table for us down in Portland and I can’t wait to start putting them together. Honestly, its a new environment and a vibrant, energetic feel that I get from the players. I can’t wait to jump on board with them.
“I’m looking forward to building chemistry with the boys from Portland. I am ready to work and to compete. Portland is hungry and I want to take a bite as well.”
The Rainmakers wish Burton the best and look forward to playing him come next season.