FRISCO, Texas -- Zach Loyd became the 16th player in franchise history to make 100 starts for FC Dallas on August 11 against the LA Galaxy. In a season that has seen five different players make their 100th start for the club, Loyd’s accomplishment stands out for a couple of reasons.
The Oklahoma native accomplished the feat second-fastest in club history, just three weeks behind Jason Kreis’ benchmark set in 1999. However, Loyd distinguished himself as the youngest player to join the Century Club as the defender was approximately five months younger than Kreis was when he hit the milestone before the turn of the century.
Besides talent and work ethic, a key factor to Loyd’s accomplishment has been his durability throughout his young career. Last season, the right back was just four minutes behind goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for most minutes played on the team, appearing in 2,696 out of a possible 2,700 minutes played with his only two games missed coming via red card suspension.
His versatility extended to college as well, with Loyd missing out on just eight out of 108 possible games while with the Tar Heels.
“I give a lot of credit to our staff here,” said Loyd. “I think they’ve always done a great job no matter what it is, whether it’s addressing how to eat off the field or if I pick up a knock, they’ve always done a great job…and then to hit 100 games that fast, a lot of that credit is just being thankful that God allowed me to have health.”
“It’s something you can’t take for granted and I’m thankful that God has allowed me to be in that amount of games and be consistently healthy.”
Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that the 26-year-old has avoided major injuries despite his rough-and-tumble style, flying up and down the right wing from defense to attack while never giving an inch to the opposition.
“The way we play, we get our outside backs way up the field and to get back up the field to defend and attack is pretty tough,” said Matt Hedges, Loyd’s roommate on most road trips. “His motor is amazing, how much he runs during the games. He’s just up and down the field.”
Still in the early stages of a successful career, it’s unlikely this is the last ironman milestone Loyd hits, and his never-say-die attitude has certainly rubbed off on his teammates.
“He’s the man,” said George John. “Very tenacious on the field, aggressive and fearless. That’s the kind of player you want to play with and have playing next to you.”