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Zimbrich helps Hornets’ ascent

Del Oro graduate a key leader in midfield for Sacramento State
By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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SACRAMENTO — Four years ago, Josh Zimbrich had no idea where he would continue his prep soccer career. There’s little doubt he made the right choice in Sacramento State. “Now that I go back and look at it, I’m very happy with my decision,” the Del Oro High graduate said. “There were some schools interested and it came down to St. Mary’s and here at the end. I chose to come here because I got offered more money and I thought it would be the better place. I wanted to play at a Division I school. That was my goal out of high school. I like it a lot.” Not only does Zimbrich, a fourth-year senior, get to play near his native Loomis, he’s learned the dynamics of a position he rarely played in high school or club soccer — left midfield. A forward and center midfielder with excellent distribution skills at Del Oro, Zimbrich played his freshman season at Del Oro but took a break the following year to focus on his club experience with Placer United. He returned for his junior season, his last with the Golden Eagles, and was named the Sierra Foothill League MVP. “I just didn’t want to play my senior year,” the 5-foot-9, 145-pound Zimbrich said. “I didn’t want to get injured before I went away to college.” Zimbrich, who is right-handed but one of only two left-footed players at Sacramento State, made an immediate impact, playing in all 18 games as a freshman. “It’s a weird combination,” he said. “It gives me an edge on the position because it’s natural to play with your left foot on the left side.” Zimbrich continues to contribute, having started all seven games for the Hornets (5-1-1 overall), who are off to the best start in school history. He’s taken eight shots, three on goal. “He’s a good guy and a good soccer player,” said freshman goalkeeper Brian Oliver, a Rocklin High graduate. “His left foot helps him out. He’s also really fast and gets down the line quick. He always beats people with his really good speed and plays good diagonal balls.” Zimbrich, a psychology major, plans to attend nursing school when he graduates sometime next year. He hasn’t ruled out continuing his soccer career, either. “I might go to a few tryouts for semipro, like an A-league type of thing,” Zimbrich said. “It’s kind of in the back of your head as you’re going through the years, maybe at the end that it might be a possibility. We’ll see how this season ends up and how I feel at the end of the season. “I’ll definitely play something. I will not give up on it. It’s my life, I’ve played since I was so young. I enjoy it a lot. I love the game.” Zimbrich and the Hornets host rival UC Davis today in a non-league match at 4 p.m. before opening Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play at home against San Jose State on Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.