It was hardly a secret heading into the 2013 MLS SuperDraft that FC Dallas was looking for a fourth goalkeeper to round out the squad. With Richard Sanchez set to miss most of the summer with Mexico at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, a fourth backstop was needed in case of emergency, but few would have recognized the name of Kyle Zobeck as a possible candidate.
Despite impressing in four seasons at the Horizon League’s Valparaiso, Zobeck flew under the radar on draft day allowing FC Dallas to snatch him up in the second round of the supplemental draft. Zobeck earned a roster spot with a solid pre-season and hasn’t looked back.
“I feel like [the season] went pretty well for me and I’m a million miles ahead of where I was when I came in,” said Zobeck. “That’s really my whole goal for the year was just to improve and show what I could do.”
WATCH: Zobeck shutout vs. Chicago
When you talk to Zobeck’s teammates, improvement is the word that first comes to mind.
While the 23-year-old was not seen early in the year while he sat behind Raul Fernandez, Chris Seitz and Richard Sanchez, Zobeck has played a more prominent role with FCD lately having started three of the final five MLS Reserve League matches notching two wins including a season-ending shutout against Chicago.
“I think he came in here pretty raw and he’s definitely improved throughout the whole entire year,” said Seitz. “As cliché as it is, he’s definitely one of those guys who is in early and out late. He’s definitely gone about it the right way. You can tell in his play and he’s gotten a couple games as well which was well deserved.”
In addition to the MLS Reserve League matches, a recent injury to Fernandez and the loan of Sanchez to Fort Lauderdale has meant Zobeck’s appearance on the bench in FCD’s final four matches of the regular season giving the young ‘keeper invaluable game day experience.
“I really enjoyed being on the bench and really understanding what real league games are all about and being ready for it in the future,” said Zobeck. “I’ll be ready for it. I’ve been there before and I know what to expect.”