Photo: Sean Toshima / i-ACT

In case you didn’t hear!  From the The Manx International Football Alliance:

The Manx International Football Alliance is delighted to announce the appointment of MARK HODSON as the first International Ambassador for Ellan Vannin. Mark who is the Manager of Darfur United International Football Team (a team established from the refugee camps on the Chad border) was an active supporter of Ellan Vannin during the World Football Cup in Ostersund, Sweden. His advice and encouragement to the players and management was invaluable during the incredible journey to the final.

Mark is 37 years of age and was born in Whalley, Lancashire. He was a keen youth football player at County level. He studied PE at University and then took up various positions at professional clubs throughout the UK, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Wigan Athletic, Darlington Town, Exeter, Torquay, Mansfield, Rochdale and Plymouth Argyle where he became a Coach at youth level.

In 1999 he went to the USA to Coach at Major League Soccer Camps and in 2001 was appointed as Regional Manager in New York. In 2004 he moved to Los Angeles as the District Leader for the MLS from Chicago to California being responsible for in excess of 320 Coaching Staff which included close liaison with the major MLS Franchises LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, Chicago Fire and Real Salt Lake. Mark has played his part in the massive growth in popularity of “Soccer” in the USA.

In 2010 Mark started his own Soccer Coaching Company, Evolution Soccer Programs and employs 50 full time Professional Coaches from both the UK and USA. In 2012 at the invitation of Gabriel Stauring, founder of i-Act (, he became the Manager of the Darfur United Football Team and ( has taken this team to compete in the Viva World Cup in Kurdistan and the World Football Club in Sweden.

MIFA Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Blackburn said “We are delighted that Mark has agreed to accept this position and know that his appointment, as well as promoting a very positive image of Ellan Vannin around the world, will result in further exciting opportunities for Manx football players”

Mark said “It is with tremendous pride that I accept the role as Ellan Vannin International Ambassador, and I hope that I am able to represent the spirit, respect and honor that the MIFA Organization exudes, to a much broader audience around the World as Ellan Vannin continues to build upon the outstanding work and relationships it has already achieved”

Congrats, Coach Mark!  We know you will bring great pride on a worldwide scale, and represent Ellan Vannin like the true professional you are.

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