COLUMBUS, Ohio – So few athletes get to play sports in college, and even fewer land at a dream school.
Yet that’s what Lombard native and Timothy Christian grad Zach Dobey was able to accomplish as a soccer player. Dobey dreamed of playing for a top program in the Big Ten.
“My dream was always to play in the Big Ten when I was in high school and even before that I always wanted to play either at Ohio State, Indiana or Wisconsin,” Dobey said. “I was able to end up at Ohio State, so that was a big goal of mine. I just love playing really great competition any given day.”
In order to become a player good enough to play at a program like Ohio State, Dobey needed to put the time in. He played for all three major academy teams in the Chicago area to get there.
He played for a Chicago Fire club team when he was 10 years old. In middle school, Dobey went to the Chicago Magic and played under current Fire assistant coach Mike Matkovich. For his high school years Dobey wound up at Sockers F.C. and was a part of a 14-year-old team that won the prestigious Dallas Cup while beating teams from Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico.
It was with Sockers that Dobey was spotted by the Buckeyes. He had reached out to OSU previously and when the coaching staff got to see him at showcases the interest became mutual.
Dobey, currently a junior, was quickly able to adapt to the college game and was one of two freshmen to play in all 19 games for the Buckeyes, including 11 starts. As a sophomore made 17 starts as a defender and again played in all 19 games.
“Breaking into the team my freshman year was a little difficult because I was thrown into the center midfield position and it was hard to adapt at first,” Dobey said. “The main thing for playing time is the quicker you adapt to the college game, the more playing time you get. I was able to make the transition pretty quickly so I guess that’s why I saw a little bit more playing time.”
Dobey is hoping the Buckeyes can win the Big Ten and make the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament after failing to post a winning record last season. In preparation for the upcoming season, Dobey did something a little different in the summer — the geology major spent seven weeks in Utah for a field camp.
“It was a lot more academic stuff this summer,” Dobey said. “I was able to get a lot of running in, and a lot of the people I went with played soccer in high school or played club at some point so we had little pick up games at night after we worked in the field. That was good. It was a nice break so I could get recharged for the season.”