It’s not often that we get top young high school players in the LISFL, while they’re still in high school. Zac Clerge is an exception to that and hopefully, we’ll continue to see more young players take advantage of the opportunity to improve their game. Zac is a special young man as those at AC Glen Cove and the rest of the LISFL have found out. Now, Nyack College and the New York Cosmos are also finding out how talented Zac is and we’ll all get to see just how far he can go in the game. Read more
By David Harris
Zac Clerge at the 2012 Massapequa Memorial Day Tournament with the Lake Grove Rebels
It’s not often that we get top young high school players in the LISFL, while they’re still in high school. Zac Clerge is an exception to that and hopefully, we’ll continue to see more young players take advantage of the opportunity to improve their game. Zac is a special young man as those at AC Glen Cove and the rest of the LISFL have found out. Now, Nyack College and the New York Cosmos are also finding out how talented Zac is and we’ll all get to see just how far he can go in the game.
DH: How is the season going with AC Glen Cove in the LISFL?
ZC: We had a tough first half of the season here at AC Glen Cove, but this spring we’ve done the necessary steps and added key players in positions that needed solidification. We are starting to find a groove now in the second half of the season.
DH: What led you to play with AC Glen Cove and what do you think about the level of competition in the league?
ZC: What really pulled me to come to AC Glen Cove was the rich history of the team and how passionate everyone was. Seeing how much this team meant to them really made it easy for me to want to sign for them.
DH: Can you tell us how your recent season went with Patchogue / Medford High School and Lake Grove Soccer Club?
ZC: During high school I felt that we had a lot of good players and I got to compete in League 1, which is without a doubt the most competive high school league on the island with teams like Brentwood and Commack.
When I went to Lake Grove the intensity of the practices really shocked me. It taught me that every time I stepped on the field I was going to have to put 150% into practice if I ever wanted to get better. My game flourished and I learned a lot about the different aspects of the game. Lake Grove was a major reason why I was recruited by Nyack and was a big factor in leading to me signing for them as well.
DH: You attended the recent open tryouts for the New York Cosmos. What were your thoughts on the tryouts and how did it go for you?
ZC: The Cosmos tryout was one of my favorite soccer experiences. The Cosmos staff were very professional the entire time. Especially bringing in a large amount of local talent and giving everyone their a fair look, which can be very hard when you have such a large group of people fighting for such a small amount of spots. I personally made it to the final cut and scored in the final all-star type game that was played. I feel that I played very well and I’m looking forward to see how things go.
DH: What are you looking to do in soccer going forward and what you are doing to achieve those goals?
ZC: I’m looking to one day playing at the highest level my ability will take me. I’m making a lot of economic and social sacrafices that a typical 18 year old doesn’t do. Not only because I know I can play at these different levels, but because of everything I’ve achieved in the game so far at the club level. I feel that playing at the highest level is a realistic goal for me.
DH: Who have been some big influences on you as you’ve progressed with your development as a soccer player?
ZC: Some of my biggest influence in soccer growing up have been my trainer Steven Schneider and the entire Lake Grove training staff. Without these people, I defiantly wouldn’t be the player that I am today.
Coach Frank Stagnitta at Lake Grove taught me the thinking process of the game. He exposed weaknesses in my game and showed me what I had to do to improve them. He’s definately one of the best tactically minded coaches I ever had and al ot of my success as a player so far has been thanks to the guidance by him.
My assistant coach Albert at Patchogue / Medford taught me how to keep my cool and how to not deal with certain situations not only in the game but in life and it really helped me mature and gain a level of respect I have now for others on and off he pitch.
DH: Which professional players and teams do you follow and what do you learn from watching them that you can apply to your game?
ZC: Personally I’m a die-hard Arsenal fan and if I had to choose one player I model my game after it would have to be Thierry Henry hands down. Watching Henry play, I learned how important movement off the ball really is and what it means to be a calm smooth finisher of the ball.
DH: What are your thoughts about soccer on Long Island? What are some of the really good aspects out of it?
ZC: I believe that soccer on Long Island is good, but I feel that their has to be a better bridge to get the top flight players to the next level. I feel that on the island if you don’t have the financial means then you simply just can’t play top flight soccer. Once we find other alternative ways to get over this issue then we can really see a lot of top elite level talent come out the island on a regular basis.
DH: What advice would you have for any young person on Long Island who is interested in the game and wants to improve?
ZC: Some advice I’d give to any young kid on the island would be just play as much as you can and with as many diffrent people as you can. The only way you’ll develop is by playing day in and day out and committing to it. Once you do this, all that is left is to just simply believe in yourself.