Long layoff from soccer doesn’t slow North keeper

Although Zach Green hadn’t played soccer since elementary school, he wanted to give the sport another try his senior year.

Now, after sharing time in goal all season, Green has emerged as Columbus North’s full-time keeper. He’ll be in the net again today when the Bull Dogs face Class 2A No. 9 Evansville Memorial at noon in the Jeffersonville Semistate.

“I have a lot of friends that play soccer, and they said they needed another goalkeeper,” Green said. “So they convinced me. I love to watch and play soccer for fun, so I came out during the summer and worked on goalkeeper skills with (goalkeepers) coach (Jose) Acosta.”

This season, Green has been solid in the net. He has allowed 11 goals in 925 minutes, a 0.95 goals-against average.

Last week, he played all 80 minutes in a 3-1 regional final victory against East Central.

“I figured if I put in enough work, I could see a lot of playing time,” Green said. “I worked on my skills a lot in practice and got to see more time as the season went on.”

North head coach Andy Glover likes Green’s athleticism, determination and grit. He said of the 6-foot-2 senior, “You can’t coach height.”

“Zach has been a fine addition to the team,” Glover said. “He has accepted his role within it and benefited immensely from the expertise of Jose Acosta. His ability to integrate the information conveyed from coach Acosta, coupled with his athleticism, has made him a very effective goalkeeper.”

Green is less than a year removed from a torn ACL that caused him to miss all of last basketball season. He was injured in the Bull Dogs’ preseason scrimmage in November and underwent surgery in January.

Green, who had dressed varsity at end of his sophomore basketball season, has rehabbed with Dr. Nate Frasier, who also is an assistant basketball coach.

“He got me back where I used to be, and I’m ready for basketball this season,” Green said.

Next year, Green may try to play basketball in college. He has talked to a coach at Division III Birmingham Southern.

But for now, Green is focused on finishing his brief soccer career with three more wins, which would result in a state championship.

“We started out a little rough at the beginning of the season, but we played more as a team at the end of the season,” Green said. “At the beginning of the season, I didn’t think we’d make it this far, but we’ve been working really hard at practice. Then once the postseason came, we’re playing our best ball, and we began to make a postseason run and have a good shot at making it to state.”

If the Bull Dogs can get past Evansville Memorial, they would play either 2A No. 4 North Central or Perry Meridian in the 7 p.m. semistate final. The state title game is Oct. 29 at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium.

North’s focus is squarely on Memorial.

“We feel like we’re prepared,” Green said. “Our players think we have what it takes to make it to state. It will be rough without Jake Osborne (who received a red card in the regional final) in the midfield, but we have men behind him, and we think they can fill his spot and we can pull out a win.”

If you go

Jeffersonville Semistate

10 a.m.: Perry Meridian (11-3-1) vs. North Central (17-1-3)

Noon: Columbus North (15-5-1) vs. Evansville Memorial (16-4-1)

7 p.m.: Championship

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.