Gyasi Zardes: American Soccer’s First Super-Athlete

Twenty years ago, it would have been virtually impossible to imagine an American soccer player like Gyasi Zardes sprinting down the left side of a Dutch soccer field, outpacing defenders and making a difficult goal look like a simple tap-in to start the scoring for the United States men’s national team in what would become a furious 4-3 comeback win against the Netherlands. Zardes, simply put, is an athlete. With a perfect blend of speed, agility and determination, he is a menace when racing up and down the sideline. His first touch is a revelation, blending spin moves and quick turns typically seen in the NBA Finals onto the grass soccer fields rapidly emerging across the country. It’s not that Zardes would have lacked the ability or work ethic. When he was growing up in Hawthorne, California, that was never in question. "I always wanna work hard, and that’s always been my motto," Zardes told Bleacher Report. "I’m from Hawthorne, and people from Hawthorne work hard." That’s not just his opinion. You might have heard of another hardworking young baller from Hawthorne by the name of Russell Westbrook. Back in 2011, Westbrook's dad shared this story of Russ' childhood drive with Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman: ...
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