While most of Crew Stadium will likely be rooting against Chivas USA when the Goats take on Columbus on Saturday evening, there will be at least a few friendly faces in the crowd for the Red-and-White.
Rookie midfielder Ben Zemanski grew up just an hour-and-a-half from Crew Stadium, and is expecting a crowd in Columbus on Saturday night.
“It will be nice to see a lot of faces who support me in the stands,” Zemanski told MLSsoccer.com over the phone. “I know a bunch of people that are coming. It should be good.”
Zemanski played four years at NCAA powerhouse University of Akron, serving as captain his senior year and leading the team to an appearance in the 2009 NCAA National Championship game. He is expecting a contingent of his friends from school along with his family.
“A lot of family will be coming and a lot of friends,” he said. “I’m excited.”
The 22-year-old is no stranger to the Columbus Crew. Growing up as a soccer fan in the area, the Crew were the team to follow.
“I’ve been to a couple of [Crew] games,” said Zemanski. “I supported them because they were the local team.”
Zemanski played his high school soccer at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, which is two hours north of Columbus. Zemanski was a standout at CVCA, where he was elected a National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American and a first-team Division II All-Ohio selection in 2005.
Captaining the team in both his junior and senior years, he served as an important part of the squad that would twice play for the Ohio High School State Championship in Crew Stadium.
“We lost one final on penalty kicks, but we won the other,” said Zemanski. “They’re all good memories. Hopefully I can make another good memory on Saturday night.”