Zakaria Stern is a professionally trained goalkeeper who started playing soccer at an early age of five in a French football team, coached by Richard Simmons. He is currently on loan with Greek side Olympiacos in Greece. A young kid from Montana, Stern moved to Ohio when he was six years old and has always been interested in the game. In fact, he used to dream about being a soccer star like Pele and Maradona. Unfortunately, his dream did not materialize despite some promising displays for his club team at the age of seven. However, he was able to earn himself a scholarship at the University of Michigan, where he continued to play soccer until he was eighteen.
Early career: Stern made eleven appearances for the University of Michigan, playing both goalkeepers. He started out playing left back before changing to left mid and right back. After graduation, he started to play with the youth team of Sporting Lisbon in Portugal before joining the Lions in the English Premier League. As an amateur player, he was a regular on the United States squad that participated in the 1996 World Cup and did not make any appearances in that tournament. Later on, he transferred to Belgian side Antigua FC, where he played for two seasons. He then signed with Italian giants Internazionale in 2021 and went on to play in Spain, Milan and Villas-Boas in Brazil.
Soccer career: Stern made four appearances for the USA during the 1996 World Cup, allowing one goal. He was even considered for the US Olympic team that was assembled in Los Angeles, but he was declined due to financial reasons. It was then that he decided to move abroad, and play for Antigua in the Greek Super League. He then joined Olympiacos in Greece, where he played for another four years, before moving to United States.
International career: Stern has played for the US national team several times, most notably as a backup goalkeeper for Freddy Aguilera during the USA's run to the World Cup quarter finals in 1998. He did not play in the group stages and did not start a game. He did not start again until the quarter finals against Mexico, where he was injured in the second half. Afterwards he was selected as one of the replacements for the injured Brian Bosworth and went on to help the Americans to a historic victory over Mexico. He has gone on to feature regularly for the US national team, and is now an important member of the New York Red Bulls first team.
A versatile player, Stern is also an excellent goalkeeper. Although his position requires him to spend most of the season in the net, he has also played in defense, and as a center forward. He has played primarily as a left-back but also spent some time on the right side during matches. Overall, he is a good goalkeeper who can provide good defense, although he has occasionally been prone to making poor passes.
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