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Athlete of the Week: Zak Downes, IMG Academy soccer program

Zak DownesThe goalkeeper and more than 80 other athletes associated with IMG Academy announced their college intentions on Thursday. Downes will play collegiately at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

When did you make the decision to come to Bradenton and the IMG Academy soccer program?: Last year when I was with FC Dallas, I was at a showcase and IMG scouted me. I was pretty good friends with (IMG Academy soccer program Boys U15 coach) Oscar (Pisano). He scouted me and told me that he would like for me to come to IMG, so I did.

So, you’re glad you made the decision to come to IMG?: I’ve been really happy with the decision to come here. The facilities are unbelievable. You can’t get any better. Everything, including the weather, is amazing.

What are the differences between Bradenton and where you’re from in Texas (Flower Mound)?: There’s just a lot of country accents in Texas. A lot of big trucks and really hot weather.

Hotter than Bradenton?: Of course.

What did you like best about Longwood University?: It’s a good school for soccer — a good (NCAA) Division I program. They’re a young team that is coming up. The coach is English, and I love the English style of play. Virginia is just an awesome state.

What other schools recruited you?: I had (interest/scholarship offers from) Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma and Stetson University.

What are your soccer-related goals?: I would like to go to the professional level of play.

What do you hope to get out of your experience at Longwood?: A good education and a good amount of playing time.

What is going to be your college major?: Education.

Why would you like to go in the field of education?: I like working with the kids. I just think it would be a good major for a successful life.

Would you like to coach someday?: Yes, I would love to teach and coach. Hopefully after I’m done playing professionally, I can be a coach.

Where do you see yourself in 10-15 years?: In 10-15 years, I see myself hopefully playing pro and just having a family and kids.

Favorite athlete: Iker Casillas, the goalkeeper for Spain (and Real Madrid).

Favorite subject in school?: I love history.

What particular period of history are you most interested?: I like the Civil War and that era.

Whether they are living or dead, can you think of three people that you would like to have as dinner guests?: I would really love to be with George Washington, John F. Kennedy and probably Tiger Woods. They all have pretty interesting lives. George Washington was the first president and a war hero. I would love to sit down with John F. Kennedy since I’m from Texas. I would love to find out about his shooting. No matter what he did, Tiger Woods is still one of greatest athletes in the world.

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