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BY DANIEL JEAN-LUBIN | The moment Dugan Zier laced up his first pair of cleats for the Downtown United Soccer Club at the age of 5, he knew soccer was the sport for him.
“I’m never nervous during the game. It all slows down for me and I can always think clearly,” Zier said in an interview.
It’s that poise and feel for the game that have made the 16-year-old center back from Greenwich Village one of the highest ranked prospects in New York State. The 6-foot-tall defender, who attends Fieldston High School, spent some time developing his game on a travel team before being scouted and picked up by the New York Red Bulls developmental academy. Last year, as a first-year player, Zier experienced the proudest moment of his young career. After growing with his team as a developmental player throughout the season, Zier helped his club in the postseason win the Major League Soccer cup on the Red Bulls U-15 team.
Zier recently verbally committed to one of the top soccer programs in the country, University of California, Santa Barbara. And he also has professional prospects on his mind.
“It’s been my dream,” he said.
He also knows what it is going to take for him to make those dreams a reality,
“The hardest thing for me is always staying consistent,” he said. “The only way I will succeed in the game is to never have an off day.”
A dedicated player, Zier practices hard multiple times a week, developing elite vision and excellent passing skills to go along with his drive to achieve greatness.
“Never being called into a national camp is something that has always bothered me,” he said. “And now I use it as motivation, and hopefully one day I will be able to wear the U.S. national team jersey.”
He combines exceptional top-end speed with deft ball skills and a knack for playing in tight spaces, all of which allow him to be efficient in traffic as well as on the perimeter.
With his terrific start this season, Dugan Zier has made a very strong bid for some international selections going his way. Zier and the Red Bulls look to pick up their second straight M.L.S. cup as the number one seed this postseason.