When teams get hot, there’s likely an individual or two helping light the fire.
At Keller, one of those helping the boys soccer team as it prepares for the playoffs is junior Sandro Zingas.
Over the course of the last nine district games, Zingas has registered six goals and two assists. He has another goal scored earlier in the year for good measure.
And, for all the offensive production, Zingas has been priding himself on working without the ball.
“I’m able to play well with my teammates and the movement on and off the ball have been a strength for me,” Zingas said. “The best players are better without the ball than with the ball, the coaches say.”
In one sport, you try to kick it under the bar, and one sport you try for over the bar.
- Keller junior Sandro Zingas, on the difference between soccer and kicking for the football team
Certainly, movement without the ball creates havoc for the opponent to mark a player and opens up play for others to make an impact.
While Zingas said this season has been his most productive, his impact hasn’t been a result of sudden improvement. He said he started playing at the age of 4, learning through the Keller Youth Association program.
Once he realized his love for the game was matched by his ability, Zingas added club soccer to his investment in the sport. He continues to play for the Dallas Texans Mid-Cities.
Zingas has been able to improve on his speed, quickness and shooting. It’s taken plenty of repetition and drilling.
“It’s the little things,” he said in regard to getting the ball to dip or make a sharp curve. “It takes a lot of practice.”
That time spent working on hitting the ball has translated into being able to lend a hand – er, foot – to the Keller football team.
Zingas said he was recruited to help the Indians after a teacher and coach suggested he give kicking the football a try.
His preference is still kicking a soccer ball, where the action is faster paced. The pressure, he said, is about the same, regardless of which ball he’s kicking.
“It’s all a mind thing,” Zingas said.
He also noted the difficulty he found in learning to kick a football effectively.
“If you kick a football like you do a soccer ball, it will sail on you,” he said.
Zingas also summed up the difference: “In one sport, you try to kick it under the bar, and one sport you try for over the bar.”
For now, he’s excelling at kicking it under the bar, along with the other Indians, and is looking for a deep playoff run.
“We try to take it game-by-game but you’re always thinking ahead and want home field advantage in the first round,” he said.
Although he has his sights set on playing somewhere at the next level, Zingas is more concerned right now in getting past the first round in the playoffs.