Kirby Zak, now the star midfielder of the Sam Houston State University women’s soccer team, began her career playing soccer in her own front yard against her older sister.
Playing against olde competition help set the tempo for Zak.
When she was seven, Kirby began playing on a real soccer field as part of a team, and by the time she was 13, she was already playing for elite club teams like Texas Image and Texas Lightening.
In highschool Zak played for Aledo high school in Weatherford.
At age 18, she is now playing as a proud Bearkat, Kirby has scored two hat tricks, and was named Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week on two occasions, and received an All Southland team honorable mention. Quite the repertoire for a freshman at a division 1 college.
Kirby herself is surprised at what she has achieved this year, and she says she did not think she would even be starting games, much less scoring goals.
What drives Kirby is her love for soccer and her natural competitiveness.
“I’ve been playing for so long I don’t know what I would do without it,” Kirby said. “I like the energy. I like running around.”
She also likes the competition. In fact, she likes competition anywhere competition is possible.
“Even in card games,” she said. “My friends are always like, ‘Kirby, calm down!'”
Kirby grew up watching not only her older sister play, but also watching the U.S. women’s national soccer team. In particular, she liked Kristine Lilly who was captain of the team when Kirby was growing up.
Today she says she is not so much into watching soccer, but with one exception. “I like to watch David Beckham, but who doesn’t?”
The number that Beckham wears on his back is only one off from the number Kirby wears; 24. Kirby says she has always worn 24 since she started playing when she was 7. But why 24? Her birthday is Dec. 24 so it’s always been an obvious choice.
When she came to SHSU, luckily, the number was free, so naturally she chose it.
Kirby says she does not really know what she wants to do after college, or if she would ever consider a career in professional soccer?
“I would like to, if that chance ever came,” she said.
But for now, she plans to stay at SHSU to continue studying and continue her duties as an attacking midfielder for the Bearkats.
“So far, so good,” she says of her first semester. Hopefully there is much more good to come of Kirby Zak.