Daily Breeze Men’s Soccer Player of the Year: Owen Zarnick, Redondo
DAILY BREEZE ALL ZONE BOYS FOOTBALL TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Owen Zarnick, Redondo, Senior
The one year Owen Zarnick played high school football was memorable.
During his first three years at Redondo High School, Zarnick was not allowed to play high school football because he was part of the United States Soccer Federation’s Development Academy, which prohibited players from also playing for their high school team. .
This season, with the development academy disbanding, Zarnick, along with three of his former academy teammates, Jaden Hancock, Caleb Davis and Beau Yantz, decided it was time to join their high school team.
The result and experience could not be topped.
“It gave me time to play with my friends and try to earn something for school,” he said. “It also allowed me to work on difficult things to do in the club environment, longer passes, physical stuff. I got the chance to work on stuff, have fun and enjoy of high school experience.
Redondo finished second in the Bay League, which was limited to a five-game schedule, then embarked on a journey to win its first CIF-Southern Section championship.
In the lead, from his position as central defender, there was Zarnick.
“He’s been the top performer all year,” Redondo coach Mark Hodson said. “Good passer, excellent at launching our counter-attacks, team captain. He was everything.
Zarnick also scored six goals.
For his performance this season, Zarnick is the Daily Breeze Men’s Soccer Player of the Year.
He was also the CIF-SS Division 2 Player of the Year.
“It was definitely a great experience,” Zarnick said. “We had some tough games in the league and we had to play well to get a high seed (for the playoffs).
“Going into the playoffs, we knew if we played well we would have a good chance to advance.”
Once the playoffs began, the Sea Hawks were not to be denied. In the final, a last-second goal by Jaden Hancock in overtime allowed the Redondos to win over Montebello.
After a bye in the first round of the CIF SoCal Regional Playoffs, Redondo advanced to the finals, where he lost to Torrey Pines.
Zarnick’s football journey started when he was 4 years old. In his early teens, he joined Galaxy Academy, where one day, he said, Zlatan Ibrahimovic jumped onto a Platoon next to him.
“I love watching Sergio Ramos (formerly of Real Madrid, now at Paris Saint-Germain) and also Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool),” he said. “I also like John Stones (Manchester City). He’s comfortable on the ball…these are the top three centre-backs I like to watch.
His next stop will be college. Zarnick heads to SMU. He said his top three college choices were SMU, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Portland.
He said the weather and training were the main reasons he chose SMU.
“I hope to get started, get a good degree and try to continue my professional career, that’s the ultimate goal,” he said. “I would love to go to Europe, but I will see where it (football) takes me.”