I suppose it’s best that I start with the absolute basics. My name is Mark Briggs. I was born on February 16, 1982 in Wolverhampton, England. I grew up just outside of Wolverhampton in Sedgley with my mother and two beautiful sisters, Jo and Rosie.
Wolverhampton born. Wolves bred.
If you’re familiar with English football, you’ll likely gasp when you read that I signed for West Bromwich Albion. Yes, I made the ultimate “no no” - and there were rifts in the family due to it! As a player, you unfortunately have to go where you are wanted no matter the allegiance in your heart. That being said, I left Dormston School for West Brom's academy in 1995.
I signed my first professional contract in 1999 with West Brom and stayed with the club until 2002. While with West Brom, I was Youth Team Player of the Year and captioned the youth team to a cup win at Wembley Stadium. I made my first team debut in the 2000-2001 season and went on to make 12 first team appearances and 150 reserve team appearances.
In 2002 I was transferred to Herfolge Boldklub in Denmark. While in Denmark, we were the Danish 1st Division Champions, which won us a promotion to Supa Liga. After my time in Denmark I became a football journeyman. I spent time with: Notts County FC, Shrewsbury Town FC, Hednesford Town FC, Kalamazoo Outrage, Wilmington Hammerheads FC and Mosta FC.
During my second stint in Wilmington, I had the opportunity to transition into a player/coach role in 2012. I organized and ran all technical and tactical aspects of training. I assisted in player selection and scouting programs. I created video clips for players and the team to aid them in improving both individually and collectively and I also scouted players both stateside and abroad in the off seasons. It should be noted that during this time I also had the opportunity to coach in the Wilmington Youth Academy system, which was an incredible and amazingly rewarding experience. I still hold many of those players and their families very close to my heart.
In 2015, I took the reins of the Hammerheads. In two seasons I was able to take the team from the bottom of the table to being playoff contenders and lead them the furthest in the Open Cup of any USL team. I developed and sold a player to a Bundeslige 2 team, signed the first former EPL player to the USL, implemented a 2nd team for young and squad players and formed a partnership with a Premier League Club – meaning first right of refusal on fresh, young talent. It is my previously mentioned Open Cup match that lead me to my next opportunity.
After losing in penalty kicks to Real Salt Lake, their general manager approached me and told me that he liked my style of play and my tactics. We formed a professional mutual respect for one another and he later offered me a position as the assistant coach under Mike Petke for the Real Monarchs SLC. After one match, Mike was promoted to the first team and I to head coach of the Monarchs. We went on to have a fantastic season. We secured the USL Regular Season Championship Shield, came within two points of the USL all-time points record and came within two wins of the USL all-time win record and I was voted USL Coach of the Year. Unfortunately, we had an early playoff exit losing in penalty kicks to Sacramento Republic FC.
The 2018 season started bright as well. At the time of my suspension, we were again top of the table. Now I understand that if you’ve Googled my name, you likely have seen articles with titles such as “Real Monarchs Manager Mark Briggs Charged with Domestic Assault”. If you’re one of the ones who found out from the press in May, I’m in the same boat as you. If you read on, you’ll see a quote from my attorney stating that the charges were dropped on the basis that there was no merit and the case should not have been filed in the first place. Unfortunately, I will not be discussing the full story as it is just that – a fictional story. I will tell you that the whole saga has affected me (and my family) in immeasurable ways and the ripple effect is larger than most anyone could ever imagine. However, the person hurt most at the end of the day is my daughter. At no point did anyone stop to think how this all would affect her. That being said, I would prefer to not speak further on the matter as I would like to shield my daughter as much as possible. So, what now? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I am focusing my days on my family and bettering myself as a father, husband, son, brother, friend and coach.
These days you can catch me viewing and dissecting football games, building with magnetic tiles with my daughter, cooking dinner for my wife and taking our dog to the park. I am truly fortunate for all that I have, but I know that the best is yet to come.