By Scott Strasser, March 28 2017 —
Hopefully Dominick Zator enjoys Canada’s west coast climate.
On March 21, the Dinos men’s soccer team’s outgoing captain signed a year-long professional contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2) — the reserve squad for Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps. The team plays in the United Soccer League, which is the second highest level of soccer in the United States and Canada.
The 22-year old Calgary native said he is excited to sign his first professional contract.
“I was quite honoured to hear about it, it’s a huge step for me to move forward and play professional soccer,” Zator said. “Being able to represent as a professional and being in a professional environment — it’s the next step and a level up from being in the [university league].”
Zator joined the Dinos in 2012. He was an immediate starter on the team’s defence and played five seasons with the U of C, captaining the squad for the last three. Despite playing as a centre back, Zator boasted six goals and 15 assists in 68 matches with the Dinos.
Zator was also named to the U Sports All-Canadian second team in 2016 after leading the Canada West conference with 11 assists that season.
As team captain, Zator led the Dinos to a Prairie Division title in 2015 and a second-place finish in 2016. In his first year as captain in the 2014 season, Zator helped the team set a nine-game win streak — a Dinos men’s soccer record.
While the Dinos failed to top the Canada West conference during Zator’s university career, the team became a constant presence near the top of the Prairie Division standings as well as in the conference playoffs.
Dinos head coach Brendan O’Connell said Zator was an influential member of his squad and played a key role in getting the program where it is today.
“He has pace, he reads danger really well, he’s cool and comfortable on the ball and can step out from the back four into midfield. He is the centre back that [teams] are looking for these days,” O’Connell said. “He’s given everything to our program and he’s worked hard at his game.”
Zator’s success extended beyond his work for the Dinos. In the offseasons, he played two summers with the Calgary Foothills FC in the USL Premier Development League (PDL) — the highest level of amateur soccer in North America. In his second season with Foothills, Zator led the squad to the PDL final.
WFC2 head coach Rich Fagan said Zator is a promising prospect for his squad and will have a chance to be “an important piece on the team.”
“He had a strong collegiate career and was an important member of the Calgary Foothills FC,” Fagan said in a team news release. “He’s an athletic centre back with excellent tactical awareness.”
The WFC2 kicked off their 2017 season on March 25 with an away match against the Los Angeles Galaxy reserves.