Interview with Zachary Gosse

Zachary Gosse is a very talented player with a strong desire to make it to the professional level of soccer in the United States. He has some tremendous experience having played for Siena College, LISFL club Istria, and the Brooklyn Knights from the USL PDL. Read more

Article originally appeared in Soccer Long Island Magazine.

By David Harris

Zachary Gosse is a very talented player with a strong desire to make it to the professional level of soccer in the United States. He has some tremendous experience having played for Siena College, LISFL club Istria, and the Brooklyn Knights from the USL PDL. The boy from Oakdale, NY who played in his youth for the Bayport Baymen has certainly come a long way. Recently, I was able to catch up with Zachary and review his career thus far.

DH: How is the season going so far with Istria in the LISFL?

ZG: Istria is doing very well at the moment, we are top of our side of the table and have given up the fewest goals in the league. However, we had some set backs in our cup competitions this campaign. We drew the Greek Americans in the first round of the State Cup. It was a well fought match by both sides, the Greeks played with 10 men for the majority of the game due to an early sending off and we had a goal disallowed because the referee said it did not cross the line. The final score was 2-0, a late penalty was given after a counter attack while we were pushing up looking for an equalizer. We also had a tough draw against College Point in our League Cup, where we played the entire match with 10 men (several of our players had car trouble) on one of the biggest fields in New York City. College Point scored the go ahead goal with about 15 minutes to go which forced us to push even more men forward and unfortunately we were unable to convert on 2 solid chances, one that was a questionable penalty. Moving forward we are now able to concentrate on our league games and are looking forward to the last couple of matches before the mid-season break.

DH: Tell us a bit about your experiences playing for a club with so much history and how playing in the league has helped you to improve as a player.

ZG: It’s really quite an honor playing for Istria. The club has a lot of support from it’s current members that come to our matches to watch us play and usually spend time with us at their social club/restaurant in Astoria, Queens. Having those guys around at our matches means a lot to all of us, many of them were professionals at one time in their careers, whether in Europe or here in the United States. Playing with Istria has helped me improve my leadership skills immensely. I was immediately put in the starting line up as the Center Back and forced to organize a defense and midfield that I have never played with before. It took a little time to adjust and accept directing players who have been on the club for a number of years. Fortunately, we all have a mutual respect for each other so there were no egos at work and actually these guys have become some of my best friends to this day. After my 1st season the 1st team’s captain had a major knee injury and was sidelined, so I was offered the role as Captain. I have to say that I really enjoy being Captain of such a historically rich club, it has given me an opportunity to build some relationships that I probably never would have had.

DH: What has it been like playing for the Brooklyn Knights and how has it helped your game?

ZG: Playing for the Brooklyn Knights has been a major accomplishment in my soccer career. Three years ago I was on several trials with some USL teams and they all unfortunately ended with no contract. However, when I found out the Knights were having tryouts, I set my mind to making the squad. When I arrived at the tryout there were close to 200 players present, which left me unnerved. After we were split up into teams I was fortunate enough to be one of the first teams to play, so I wasn’t standing around waiting. Before the whistle blew I said to myself, "Just have fun, this is the game you love." Twenty minutes later I was being dragged over to the Head Coach, who introduced himself and asked me to sign the registration papers. That was a big moment for me. Playing for this club these past 3 seasons has helped my game immensely. Playing in the New York City Metropolitan area allows you to play with people from all over the world and some major talents. The standard of competition within our squads is immense, but when it comes to matches it blew NCAA Division I soccer out of the water.  Usually a college squad has 11 solid players, in the PDL you probably have 18-22 great players, giving you so much more depth. Playing for the Knights has given me a major boost in confidence in my abilities and challenged me more than any other club/team I’ve played for in the past. 

DH: How much involvement did you have in the upcoming documentary "Going Pro: American Soccer" and what are your thoughts about the whole process of filming the movie?

ZG: I had a pretty big role in the upcoming documentary not only as a regular in the starting XI, but as one of the veterans and older players for the club. My voice is actually featured on the trailer, from one of my interviews with the filmmaker. I really enjoyed the whole filming process, Sebastian Podesta is a total professional. Initially there was a little anxiety knowing you have a camera on you throughout the training session, but once you got going you just forget the cameras are there. I think this film will give people an inside look at how hard soccer players work for free to try and reach their ultimate goal of playing professionally. I am really looking forward to viewing the finished product this winter, Sebastian is really talented and very passionate about soccer as well.

DH: What other teams have you played or trained with, tried out for, etc.?

ZG: During my college career on summer break I would play in the Super Y League for the Long Island Rough Riders. Post college I was on a trial with the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL), the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) and I attended the InfoSport Pro Combine down in Florida. In the summer of 2011 I was offered a trial in Serbia with FK Novi Sad in the Serbian First League. It took some time adjusting to their style of football, but after a week I adapted. I registered with the club and was even given an apartment in Novi Sad, however I was unable to secure a VISA, so I was unable to sign a contract with the club. This was pretty devastating for me because the club was offering me a 3 year deal to play for them. Ultimately, it was a great experience and gave me the confidence that I am talented and skilled enough to play professional football in Europe.

When I was interning in British Parliament and living in London during the Spring semester of 2008, I was given the opportunity to play for a high level amateur team, Brent F.C. in the Amateur Football League (AFL). This was an interesting experience for me because at this point in my career I had mostly been a defender. However, playing in this league I was only about 155 lbs. and I was immediately converted to an attacking winger or attacking center midfielder. I really enjoyed this experience because it gave me a taste of English Football and how fast and how physical the game is over there. Additionally, as an intern for the House of Commons I was offered a spot on the United Kingdom Parliamentary Football Club (UKPFC). This was an absolute blast because I got to play football with some famous politicians and big whigs in the party and just have normal conversations with these guys. I even became friendly with one of the Members of Parliament (MP) and he offered me his ticket to an Arsenal v Liverpool match at the Emirates Stadium.

DH: What are you looking to do in soccer going forward?

ZG: Currently, I am still trying to become a professional. I recently had a highlight tape put together by, Sebastian Podesta, the documentary filmmaker. He did an amazing job and I am hoping that will give me some more exposure and open some more windows. I have also been offered an amazing opportunity as the soccer specific personal trainer at an elite athlete training center, Revolution Athletics, in Holbrook, NY. No matter what ends up happening in my soccer career, I know that I want to be apart of this game in any way that I can; it’s a major part of my life.

DH: What have been some of the best things about playing soccer on Long Island as a youth player?

ZG: Playing soccer on Long Island has given me a number of tremendous opportunities and experiences. Being so close to New York City allowed me to be trained, coached and play along side of players from all over the world. In many other parts of the United States, players can be somewhat isolated and not be immersed in this multicultural melting pot I got to grow up and train near. Also, soccer is everywhere on Long Island, you can find a league or a pick up game anywhere. In other parts of the country you may have to travel several hours to find some quality soccer.

DH: What advice would you give to a young person from Long Island who is interested in playing the game and wants to become a better player?

ZG: My advice for a young player is to immerse yourself in soccer early on. The players that come from Europe start training early on and because of that, they are a step ahead of us. American players need to be learning skills and tactics at an early age and a great way to do that is watching the game, whether it be on the computer, on TV, or live. Soccer is the greatest game in the world for a reason and if Americans begin to understand that, we can make our mark on the world. Most importantly have fun with it though, I ultimately play soccer because it is fun, and the better you get, the more fun it becomes.

Follow Zachary Gosse on Twitter