Bloom finds his way to Toronto, gets his MLS shot
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
August 04, 2013 12:46 AM | 3343 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mark Bloom went into the Atlanta Silverbacks’ midseason break anticipating a chance for rest and relaxation, but a phone call changed those plans. The Lassiter graduate, left, learned that his services as a defender would be loaned to Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC, and he would reach American soccer’s highest level.
<BR>Photo special to the MDJ
Mark Bloom went into the Atlanta Silverbacks’ midseason break anticipating a chance for rest and relaxation, but a phone call changed those plans. The Lassiter graduate, left, learned that his services as a defender would be loaned to Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC, and he would reach American soccer’s highest level.
Photo special to the MDJ
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As the Atlanta Silverbacks went into their three-week midseason break, Mark Bloom and his wife, Emma, went to Maine for a vacation.

It turned out to be no ordinary vacation.

The 25-year-old defender received a call that Toronto FC of Major League Soccer had acquired his rights, and he would be added to the top-tier club on loan from Atlanta.

“I got a call during our vacation that some teams were interested in picking me up,” said the former Lassiter standout, who was in his first season as a defender with the second-tier Silverbacks. “Of course, I got pretty excited. I got the call the next day for real confirming it, and it was like a dream come true.

“I have been playing soccer since I was 6 years old. I had been watching MLS since I was a kid, and it’s definitely been a dream of mine to play in the league.”

After a successful career in which he helped lead Lassiter to a region championship, Bloom went on to play collegiately at Berry.

“In high school, I was more focused on just getting into a college,” he said. “Then, when I got to college, I wondered, ‘Where do I go from here?’ I took every stepping stone between then and now to get here, but it was all absolutely worth it.”

After graduating from Berry, where he was part of two conference championship teams and was named the team’s most valuable player as a senior, he signed his first professional contract in 2010, with AC St. Louis of the USSF Division 2 Professional League.

After two seasons with the Charlotte Eagles of the USL Pro League, the 6-foot, 165-pound Bloom came to Atlanta for the 2013 season. He started 12 games for the Silverbacks, helping the team capture the North American Soccer League’s spring championship.

Since signing with Toronto FC on July 12, Bloom has yet to play for his new team in the four games since, but he’s been practicing and said he’s noticed the differences between the style and speed of MLS versus the second-tier NASL.

“Even though I haven’t been on the field yet, I did dress against Sporting Kansas City,” he said. “But, at least I’m here, and I have an opportunity to prove myself and work my way up into a role where I can get on the field.

“I can tell that everything is a little faster here. The little things that guys do to get better, and how everyone prepares, adds up, so there has been an adjustment. All of the practices have been challenging, but it’s the only way I can get better.”

Bloom is one of at least two MLS players with Cobb County ties. Former Southern Poly standout Mamadou Danso is a starting defender with the Portland Timbers.

Even though Bloom has been with Toronto for less than a month, he’s liked what he’s seen. He’s enjoyed being around his new teammates, seeing Canada’s largest city and learning from everyone with whom he’s been in contact.

“I love this city,” he said. “It’s a lot bigger than I ever knew, and things are going on all the time up here. There’s always something to do or somewhere to go. They have nice restaurants and it’s a clean city.

“I love my team, too. The coaching staff has been nice and the team’s great. I’m learning from some very experienced players. It’s been a great experience so far.”
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