Josue played as a defender between 2000 and 2008. He is the older brother of Elkana and Pierre Rudoplh Mayard. He played for the Impact in 2000, before trying his luck in MLS. He later played with the Whitecaps and the Lynx, then finished his career in Norway playing with Pors Grenland and Nottoden FK. He also represented Haiti at the internationnal level close to twenty times.
Optimum-Soccer: You started your professional career with the Montreal Impact at the age of 19, how did you manage to achieve this?
Josue Mayard: It started when I was at an American university, and after bad experiences with the Canadian national team I was invited to play for Haiti. I did a camp with them and then they took me into the team trying to qualify for World Cup 2002. At that time in Montreal every summer there was a tournament that involved international teams. That year Haiti was one of the guests, I played well, we made it to the final and I was selected to the all-star team of the tournament.
I knew people at Impact, among other Valerio Gazzola, he was working at the national center for high performance at the same time I was playing there. Since that time, I just disappeared from the radar in Quebec. At the end of the tournament, Valerio approached me, he told me he wanted to talk to me, but I did not take him too seriously. I was pretty busy meeting all the people I had not seen for a long time in Montreal, so I just forgot.
A little later he showed up in our dressing room while I was in the shower and then he said, "I told you I wanted to talk to you, I'm waiting for you right here." He waited and he told me he wanted me to join in Montreal. On my side I had someone who took me under his wing and advised me, we looked at the contract they offered me and I accepted. I finished the season with the Impact.
OS: How did the season go that year?
JM: For me personally it went well, for the club it was a lot more difficult. When I arrived, there was also some other new signatures, including Ali Gerba. We were given starting positions and we were told it was up to us not to lose our place. We missed the playoffs but not by much. I think we depended on the results of other teams because we had won pretty much every game we could. Despite all that it was not enough. But on my side my performance had been good enough for me to be drafted in the MLS.
OS: The next season you joined the Dallas Burn in MLS, how did it happen?
JM: What has happened is that I had signed for only one year with the Impact. Eventually they contacted my agent and made me an offer for the following year, let's say it was nothing extravagant. We tried to negotiate, but my agent did not like what they offered me so we decided to look elsewhere. All this was before I learned that MLS clubs were interested in my services. What happened is that while I was negotiating, MLS clubs contacted Montreal to have some information on me, but the organization never told us about it.
Despite all that my agent was able to organize a tryout with Tampa Bay, back then they were in MLS. So before the draft I went to a camp there and it went well. Following the camp, they told me I would be part of their draft picks. The only problem is that at the end of camp I was injured. Just before the MLS Draft the league holds a kind of tournament with young players who are eligible. All coaches in the league are there and there are also many clubs from the USL. I decided to go even though I knew I could not play. It was an opportunity for me to meet the league doctors. They wanted to send me home, but I insisted on staying, I wanted to see how it worked. I watched the games and practices, but I never touched the ball.
On draft day I expected to be selected by Tampa Bay. In fact they were happy that I had not played, that way nobody saw me. They said they would be able to pick me a little bit later. In the end I got a little surprise. The Dallas Burn chose me.
It was a club that I did not know, so I went to see them at their table. We chatted a bit and then took pictures and everything. At one point I asked them how they had heard about me. They said they had scouted the USL and had talked to all the coaches of the clubs that I played against. They had good feedback. The only problem is that they tried to contact the Impact in order to have some information, but the club never called them back.
OS: was the difference between MLS and the second division great at that time?
JM: Yes, I have always found that there was a difference. Now, football is football and the ball is round for everyone, there are always some surprises. Sometimes a club is strong on paper and everything can happen in a match, but if you put this club in the bigger league and have them play every game you will surely see a difference. In my mind MLS was stronger and it stlll is.
OS: You subsequently were traded to KC Wizard where you did not play. How does it feel when you do not have the opportunity play for such a long period?
JM: Yeah, it was not easy. For starters when I got to Dallas I was still injured. I ended up missing the training camp and when I started to train the other players were ready. I found it very difficult to get back in shape. Initially the coach told me I was a part of their plans except that they traded for a defender with experience from New York. Then you know how it works, football is a business, I was not ready and they found someone to replace me. He played well and he took my place.
Despite this the club had liked what they saw and offered me another contract. In the end I missed my chance with them. They sent me to Kansas City and there too it went wrong, I do not know why. At one point the coach simply said that he no longer needed my services.
OS: Then you went to play with the Toronto Lynx, it's a club that has seen several of his players try their luck in Europe (Stalteri, Serioux, Hurchinson??) what was there that helped them to have these opportunities?
JM: In those days 75% of the Canadian national team was from Ontario, now it has changed a bit. All these players found themselves all in Toronto. It's the main reason why the Lynx ended up sending more players to Europe than other clubs.
OS: You managed to establish yourself there for a while, what made your spell there a success?
JM: When I came back to Canada I was looking for a contract. Montreal did not welcome me with open arms so I went to Toronto. Since I was young my goal was to play soccer, when I was very young my father was a fan of AC Milan. My dream was always to go to Europe, but I had not played in the last two years and I was aiming to find a place where I was going to play, just to find the rhythm and make sure people knew I was playing again. I wanted to create opportunities for myself. This is exactly the opportunity they gave me so I took it.
OS: At the same time the club had a reputation for being cheap was it deserved?
JM: Let's say it was not organized as well as in Montreal. In addition, the budget was smaller, and you could see it was not really soccer heads who ran the club. When it's like that you get less quality. On the other hand, I made more money there than I would have done in Montreal and probably more than many players out there. It was because of my status as a an international player and as a former MLS player. But when it was time to travel you saw that you were not with Montreal.
OS: You played a few games in Vancouver, you played for all three major Canadian clubsof that Time, is there a club where it was better for the players?
JM: If you were a young player who wanted to have some time then Toronto was better. If you wanted to win a championship then you had a better chance in Montreal. For my part I went to Vancouver because I wanted out of Toronto. I tested the waters on the Montreal side, but again there was no interest. I looked if there was a possibility with Vancouver, I liked the idea of trying something new without leaving Canada. It turns out they were interested and they had a player they wanted to trade. They made a deal with Toronto.
OS: After your stay in Vancouver you played in Norway, why did you leave Vancouver and how did this happen?
JM: While I was in Vancouver I contacted a U.S. agent, he arranged a trial with a club in the first division in Denmark. I went there, the test went well and at the end I was offered a contract to play as a left back. It was not really my best position, but it was interesting nonetheless. Except that the next day they changed their mind and withdrew their offer.
But at the same time Ali Gerba was in Sweden, a month or two before that his coach was looking for a defender. I have always been in contact with Ali and he spoke well of me. While I was in my hotel room in Denmark, my phone rang and it was the coach in question. He had just been fired and had found a job in Norway with Nottoden. On the phone he just said that if things did not work out well in Denmark he would be interested to give me a trial with his club.
After the week I did there, he took me aside and told me he wanted me to sign. There was only one problem, the club was in the third division and in Norway at that level you do not have the right to sign foreign players. As I do not have a European passport, I could not play with them. The coach contacted a friend that was coaching in the second division with Pors Grenland and I signed there. He told me not to sign for more then one year because he wanted me to sign with his club when he would be promoted.
OS: Finally is that what happened? Because if I remember correctly after your first season there, you switched clubs?
JM: Yes, that's what happened. I don't know how he was able to predict that he would win the championship. But in the end they actually won the championship of the 3rd Division.
OS: Was it difficult for you to adapt to playing in Norway?
JM: No, not that much. It's a bit different from what I was used to play, it's a style that was similar to what was played in England in the 80's, it's more direct, fast and physical. It was'nt that long to adjust myself.
OS: There was a lot of Canadians in Norwegian soccer at the time, did the players from Canada have a good reputation there?
JM: Yes, they liked our work ethic. At that time I feltvthat players from that players from Quebec were not appreciated on the Canadian national team it was because our style of play was different. I think we played more with the ball on our feet while in the other provinces they were playing a more direct style. They were alsoguys bigger then us and playing more physical too. I think that the fact that some guys from Quebec have done well in Norway opened doors for others. It was good for soccer in Quebec.
OS: After three seasons there you took your retired, how did you take that decision?
JM: During my second year there I was played in the Caribbean Cup with Haiti, the tournament was played in Trinidad and it was 32 degrees and when I travelled back to Norway I found myself with temperatures in the negative. I caught the flu, it was the start of camp there and it always starts with medical tests. I was already on medication, that way I was able to train a bit. In addition I have asthma since I was young. Finally, after the tests the club doctor called me back he told me that my results were abnormal, he said I had the lungs of a 70 years old. I tought it was because of the flu. I continued to treat it and I finally got better, except that the test results did not change. The doctor tought it was not normal for an athlete has to have results like that.
They sent me to see three different specialists and I ended up with a doctor in Oslo who made me take some medication. I also had to go there every two weeks in order to get some injections. The treatment lasted for several months. I still continued to play, until the doctors forced me to stop for eight weeks.
Again I was no longer available and the club had to buy another defender to replace me. The club finished the season well. I too had done well, but everyone knew that I had health problems. I went back there next season, I made all the physical tests, I made the camp, I participated in friendly matches. I started the season and after a few games I got a red card. After that the coach of the club decided not to play me anymore, probably not for my game because I had done well on the field. That's what led to my retirement.
At that time, I tried to find something else. The coach who had benched me even found a trial in England in 2008, with a club in League One (third division), in Hereford. He took me aside after a workout to talk to about ir, I still don't understand why. I was not good enough to play with a second division club in Norway, but he gave me a chance in a championship that was better. I played the game, I told him I would go. In my situation no footballer would have refused. I went there, I trained with Hereford for three or four days and then they offered me a contract. I was supposed to wait a few hours and then return to Norway, but they asked me to stay put, they made me sign the papers and told me that I would play with the club the following week.
OS: It is complex for foreign players In England if I remember correctly?
JM: Exactly, that's what I learned a few hours later. The other players and coaches had left the stadium, I was still there with the people from the club. I took the time to call the people that were close ro me, to tell them the good news. I called my agent, I called my wife, I called my parents, my coach in Norway... I made my phone calls on my side and then people from the club came to see me and to tell me that I had been denied the work permit that was required for a foreigner.
So I took my things and went back to Norway. I finished the season there. I had no contract, and I had to take care of my family. I had contact with a club in Scotland who was interested in me, I had a friend who played there. I finally knew that it had not worked because they had been told that I had health problems. They would not go any further after that. The clubs who wanted information about me called my old club, they all got the same news, apparently they put a lot of emphasis on the lung problems I had. It became really difficult for me. I went for a trial in China and it did not work. That's when I started looking for something else.
OS: You also played for Haiti almost twenty times,was it a goal for you?
JM: It just happened by accident, I had been invited by the Canadian team from the age of fifteen. I have always been released in the last cuts. Still they always called me back a year later. Then the year I was eligible for under 23, the coaches came to me and told me I had made the team. At that time, there was Antonio Ribeiro and Patrice Bernier from Quebec with me. I returned to Montreal to train with the High Performance Centre. I was supposed to play to in the Pan American Games.
Antonio received his invitation, Patrice, too, but I never got mine. I went to the center of high performance director. He tried to get some information by using his contacts. He too was disappointed, the coach told him about me personally, he told him that I had impressed everyone and that he wanted to take me. He finally heard that I was part of the club's reserves now. Each country must submit a list of 22 names, but could get only 18 players. I was in the four that were left out.
There were some players who were not supposed to be available because they were in Europe, but they came back and I was one of those that was cut. At that point I was really disapointed. Then right after that, while I was in college, Haiti contacted me and I went to see what they had to offer. It went well and I joined the senior team directly. They did not even send me to their U23 team.
OS: When you play at the international level you have to travel a lot, do you think it affects your performance at your club?
JM: No, not for me . Back when I played with Haiti, I was in the USL, we did not play more than six months in the year. So it did not bother me that much except maybe a year in Toronto where I had to miss several weeks. Then when I came back, the coach talked to me about it.
At the same time you can not really prevent your player to go play for the national team if he's called. In other leagues in Europe when there are international matches leagues are suspended, but not in North America. It works differently here and that makes it a bit more complicated. It often means you have to fight to regain your place later.
OS: Now the three Canadian cities where you played have a club in MLS, where to you think that there has been the biggest change?
JM: I would say Vancouver, they have, in recent years, established a system in which their club is almost like those in Europe. This is what the Impact is trying to do now with their Academy except that Vancouver has an edge because it was done long ago. For me it's the best way to be aware of what is going on in terms of local talent. The Whitecaos understood the game a long time ago.
OS: Your brothers, Elkana and Pierre Rudolph, also played with the Impact. I guess it must make you proud to see that they have followed your footsteps?
JM: Yes, it's nice to see that we have done that. There probably is nothing written about this anywhere, but I think it was the first time it happened and I don't think it will happen again. It's not necessarily my advice that led them to succeed even though I helped a Rudolph a little when I worked as a consultant with some agents. Elkana, when he signed with Montreal, he was a little older, he had his life in Montreal and he was not interested in going elsewhere. I also think that the fact that I was playing with Haiti made people stop mentioning me as a player that came from Quebec. It may have lessened our accomplishment.
OS Now that your career as a soccer player is over are you still involved in sports?
JM: Not since last year, now I work as a civil servant for the federal government in British Columbia.
OS: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me
JM: No problem, thank you.