Originally from Woodstock, Cody MIzell played this past season with the Charlotte Independence of the USL. He played youth soccer with Concorde Fire and earned caps with the U.S. U17 and U18 youth national teams.
He started his pro career in Atlanta with the Silverbacks after leaving Clemson University following his junior year. In 2015, he played 20 games with Icelandic club Knattspyrnufélagið Fram.
(ed. note- Thanks to Cody for answering the questions for the DSS Interview while he was on the road juggling a couple of things at once…)
Jon Nelson: With the playoffs winding down in the USL this year, you were up in Charlotte with the Independence. What was the season like from your perspective?
Cody Mizell: Expectations are always to win, and to win every single time you step onto the field. That's the only mentality you can have to be successful. With Charlotte this year, we achieved our first goal of making the playoffs for the first time in club history, so that was a success in our eyes. But as a team, we were all disappointed to drop out after the first round.
JN: Explain the USL and what the league is like for those who have never been to a game or who don’t follow it regularly…
CM: I didn't know too much about the USL before joining in January. I spent my first three years between the NASL and playing abroad, so the USL was very new to me. The league is steadily growing, with new teams coming every year, so it is very competitive. You can see just how competitive it is by how the regular season ended. Teams were fighting for playoff position and home field advantage on the last day of regular season.
I see USL as a stepping stone for players to push into making it to MLS, which is our top league here in the United States. Yet, you also see clubs competing with MLS clubs in US Open Cup.
JN: What got you interested in playing soccer in the first place?
CM: Since I was young, I always aspired of becoming a professional. I grew up playing my youth soccer in Atlanta, and I believe that Atlanta has some of the top youth soccer in our country.
JN: What’s your first Atlanta soccer memory?
CM: I grew up going to the Atlanta Silverbacks and Atlanta Beat matches. These games were my first experience of watching professional soccer. It is crazy how things come full circle in soccer, because I was blessed to begin my professional career playing for the Atlanta Silverbacks and helped them win the NASL Spring championship in 2013.
JN: With Atlanta United coming on line, what’s your first impression?
CM: I truly believe that the city of Atlanta will develop into one of the top soccer cities in the United States. With Atlanta United joining MLS next year, the soccer community will only grow larger and stronger.
It's incredible to see AUFC finally taking off. You can see that the front office is serious about having Atlanta compete for championships in its first season. They have already hired a class manager, and are starting to sign some top international and local youth players.
JN: And, as you watch everything going on around you in soccer and elsewhere, sounds like you’ll be busy getting ready for whatever that next step is in your life and career…
CM: This offseason will be a busy one for me and my family. I will be exploring free agency for the first time in a couple years, and I will be getting married to my fiancee in December back home in Atlanta. We are very excited to see what the future holds.
It would be such a dream come true to be playing at home, in front of my family and friends, in 2017.