TAKE 5 with US Youth Soccer's Zach Loyd


Youth Sports Article TAKE 5 on Playing Multiple sports

Youth Soccer Zach Loyd interview on playing multiple sports

It's exciting to watch your children excel at the sports they love. Working hard toward a personal best or perfecting a specific technique are critical to success, but let’s not forget that playing multiple sports can be tremendously beneficial in the long run.

In this month’s TAKE 5 series, we sat down with some of the world’s top athletes and coaches to get their take on the benefits of playing multiple sports.

Zach Loyd

Zach grew up in Oklahoma and played college soccer at the University of North Carolina. He was drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLS Draft by FC Dallas and made his international debut against Chile in 2011. He showed promise in the match, where he started at left back and earned man of the match honors.

1. Did you play multiple sports growing up? If so, which sports and why?

Yes. I played basketball, football, soccer and baseball. There’s no particular reason why. I’m from a small town, so to have teams multiple kids played multiple sports. All through high school I played basketball, football and soccer. Like I said, there’s no particular reason, I just enjoyed playing all of them and I was able to because I went to a small school. Luckily, I excelled a little more in soccer and was able to go to college and play.

2. How did playing these other sports improve your soccer skills?

I don’t necessarily know if it improved my soccer skills. I think it made me able to adjust easier because I was never with one set of guys for a very long period of time. I was with the soccer team, and once that went a season I went to the football team, once that was over I went to the basketball team, so I don’t necessarily think anything in particular improved my soccer skills.

3. How did playing these other sports improve your mental game?

I think it probably did well just because for me it was refreshing to go from one sport to the next. At a young age, I never really got burnt out on anything, so I was always excited for the next sport. I think that was good for me growing up from the perspective of not getting burnt out, and being refreshed for each new season, being excited for it.

4. When did you decide to specialize in soccer and what factors contributed to that decision?

The biggest decision was … if I was going to go to college I had to get a scholarship, and soccer was my best opportunity to do so. Once I started getting schools contacting me about soccer, it was kind of an easy decision for me. I never started playing soccer full time until college, just because I enjoyed playing basketball and football in high school, but the biggest reason I decided to do that was because I needed to go to school. Soccer was the way I was going to do that.

5. Outside of your soccer training, regular cardio and strength work, do you play any other sports today? How does that help you? Are you looking forward to playing other sports when you retire from soccer?

Yes, I play a little bit of bocce. I play basketball in the off season; it’s good cardio. I play with a bunch of old high school friends, it’s really fun.

6. How does that help you? Are you looking forward to playing other sports when you retire from soccer?

I just enjoy playing all sports. I like the camaraderie of team sports. I like doing something new on a regular basis. So definitely, once my playing days are over I’m sure I’ll get into some intramural things and have fun with that.

Come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 Interview.

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