FC Dallas defender visits aspiring players

FC Dallas player Walker Zimmerman visited campus to speak with aspiring college soccer players about competing after of high school.

FC Dallas player Walker Zimmerman visited campus to speak with aspiring college soccer players about competing after of high school.

Arman Kafai, Lead Sports Reporter

Getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, the boys’ soccer team is already looking ahead to next year and ways to improve. To help kick start its offseason work, FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman visited the team Thursday during 4th period to discuss collegiate aspirations and his life as a pro soccer player.

The four year pro out of Furman has become a key piece of the Dallas rotation and has started three of the five games the team has played.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Zimmerman said. “It’s exciting because at this level you want to be in a position that you’re playing week in and week out, so having gotten some starts this season has been really rewarding. You do feel a little more excited going into each game, and it makes it more fun, because as a competitor, it’s more fun to be on the field than on the bench.”

With FC Dallas clinching a berth in the CONCACAF Champions’ League, the Atlanta native is looking forward to new challenges presented by the North American competition.

“It’s something that we’re all looking forward to,” Zimmerman said. “We’re really excited that we qualified, and anytime you’re playing soccer outside of the United States and getting different cultural experiences, it adds to your game, and helps increase team morale.”

Zimmerman has been apart of the national team set up since his high school days, captaining the U-18 team on multiple occasions. He also participated in the Olympic Qualifiers with the U-23’s, which saw the team fall short to Colombia 3-2 on aggregate. The experience from the national team has helped him develop as a player.

“International soccer is completely different,” Zimmerman said. “It provides a different style, you learn different things from different coaches, and obviously the competition is a little bit different. There’s something about playing for your country and representing the United States, that gives you a lot of pride and experience.”

The younger players on the team enjoyed the visit and advice from Zimmerman, who included tips on how to stand out to recruiters and his personal antecedents of his recruitment.

“It was a cool experience to have him come in because he got to talk to us about how he made it to the college level of soccer and to the pros,” sophomore Cole Englebrecht said. “He explained to us how it’s like living the life of a pro with all the trainings and stuff that goes into it. He explained how the whole  system works for us who want to go farther in soccer.”

Zimmerman hopes that the players will use him as a resource, to improve on the field and on the recruiting trail.

“We just wanted to be a resource to players, and basically give them an option to learn a little more about professional soccer,” Zimmerman said. “We also wanted to provide a training service for those who wanted to take their game to the next level, get an extra training session in the week, and really just connect with the kids.”