Fruitport Calvary’s Zach Zehr off to solid 12-goal start to season with hopes to top a family record

By Andrew Johnson
LocalSportsJournal.com

Fruitport – Fruitport Calvary Christian senior Zach Zehr is off to a strong start to the season with 12 goals in seven games. But in his mind, he still has a long way to go.

Zehr is looking up at a pair of school scoring records – both held by his older sister Brianna Zehr. Brianna holds the FCC records with 104 career goals and 40 goals in a single season.

While Zach may not have the career goal scoring record within his reach, he’s hopeful to overtake the record of 40 goals in a season.

“She had a really good shot,” Zach said about his sister. “But I have always wanted to beat her out in scoring.”

While he may want to beat out Brianna, Zach also admits that his sister is part of the reason he succeeds on the field.

“I grew up watching her play,” Zach said. “She holds the goal scoring career record and I remember watching her be aggressive with the ball and I learned new moves from her.”

Fruitport Calvary’s Zach Zehr looks to control a loose ball during a match earlier this season.

Brianna isn’t the only family member that Zach has had to learn from. His father, Jeff Zehr, played at Olivet Nazarene University.

“I started playing soccer as early as possible,” Zach said about when his love for the sport started. “I started playing when I was about five or six years old. My dad played soccer when I was that age and I got to grow up watching him play. I got to enjoy that. He taught me different moves and how to be aggressive as well.”

Zach is hopeful to follow his dad’s path and play at Olivet Nazarene University next year when he goes off to college.

“I’m hoping to get a chance to play soccer,” he said. “It’d be pretty cool to play where my dad played. It’s always fun to have competition with him and I’ve heard some of the stories of when he played. It’d be really cool because it’s not an experience many people get.”

While Zach is mindful of the future, he’s also enjoying the present. His Eagles currently hold an undefeated 7-0 overall record, including a 2-0 conference record. Last year, FCC went just 9-6-2 and finished in the middle of the Alliance League.

“It’d mean a lot to end with a good season,” Zehr said. “It’d mean a lot because I personally love playing at Calvary and I’m so thankful to have this opportunity.

“My goal is to start getting Calvary noticed because it’s a great school and I love it.”

Zehr may lead his team in goals and have hopes of topping his sister’s record, but he doesn’t think about scoring while on the field.

Zach Zehr pushed the ball upfield against pressure earlier this season.

“I don’t think about anything when I’m out on the field,” he said. “I’m just in the mindset of doing what I can to help the team win and help my guys play better. Usually it’s just more about the team and how I can improve my own play to help the team prosper.”

That mindset isn’t surprising to head coach Matt Payton, as he considers Zehr one of the leaders on his team.

“He’s been solid,” said Payton about the senior forward. “But he’s been solid for us since he joined in eighth grade. I expected him to do well this year and he has. He’s a very good soccer player, leader and role model for others with how hard he’s worked.”

Zehr, who has been on the varsity squad since eighth grade, also plays basketball and many of his teammates overlap between the two squads.

“All of the starters on the basketball team are actually on the soccer team as well,” he said. “Most of the guys play both sports so I get to hang with them most of the year.

“It helps a lot and it doesn’t really change much between basketball and soccer. We’ll start on the soccer field in the fall and transition back to basketball in the winter. We all hangout and eat lunch together a lot. It’s just a really good chemistry because we know each other so well.”

Some of the other major contributors to the team’s undefeated start are junior Ben Zelenka with six goals and three assists, senior Luke Anhalt with six goals and two assists and sophomore Ethan Pollock with four goals and two assists.

While Zehr is looked at as a leader, he wants to make sure the public knows that his teammates are capable of leading the squad as well.

“Yes, I’m one of the captains, but we all learn and grow from each other,” he said. “I enjoy it, but if I wasn’t one of the leaders, I’d be fine with it.”

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