Naylor seizes opportunity to start, score for Concordia
Playing in a system with the Concordia University men’s soccer team that allows him space in the open field, Zak Naylor of Anchorage has capitalized with a slew of goals.
The junior transfer has scored five times in the last nine games, his most recent coming in a 3-2 win over Northwest Christian in NAIA play in Oregon.
The Concordia Cavaliers run a 4-3-3 formation, with a striker and two forwards. Naylor has played everywhere up front, but mostly on the left side, where he can utilize a foot first step and booming right foot.
“It’s nice because you get a lot of time on the ball,” Naylor told me. “I can just take defenders on and see what happens.”
Scoring is nothing new. He bagged 18 goals in two seasons in junior college.
He might be even better today.
“Being around a team of guys like this, we’re all at a high level … I’ve never been around a team where everyone is at a high level, everyone is at your level,” Naylor said. “That is helping me adapt to this playing style and be successful, I guess.”
Naylor, of South High fame, was expected to make this kind of impact with Concordia’s offense. He came to the team this season as a highly regarded recruit of Edmonds Community College, where he was the NWAACC North Region MVP.
Still, moving up the ladder isn’t always a smooth climb. Some guys fall, some stand tall.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know I’d be starting right off the bat. I had to work my ass off, but still I didn’t know I’d get this much opportunity,” he said. “I’m almost playing 90 minutes every game. It’s just an unreal feeling.”
As the son of a soccer coach, Naylor was practically born with a ball at his feet. He’s been around the game his whole life and he continues to love it.
“I don’t know what I’d do without this sport,” he said.