Zimkowski gallops off to play for Mustangs
St. Joseph’s Andrea Zimkowksi, here leaping into the arms of teammate Tricia Benedict after scoring a goal in Los Padres League play, has decided to play collegiately at Cal Poly, signing a letter of intent earlier this month. — Times File Photo

A couple of weeks ago, St. Joseph High girls soccer player Andrea Zimkowski signed a letter of intent to continue her playing career at Cal Poly. But if she had her way, she really could have waited a couple more weeks to talk about it.

Right now she is focusing on the success her team wants to have in the CIF playoffs.

The senior leader of the Knights does not like to talk about herself. Her teammates and their success is more important to her than individual accomplishments.

But because she has been such a successful team player, with excellent individual talents, Cal Poly wanted her to bring that ethic to San Luis Obispo and Spanos Stadium.

Cal Poly is a place Zimkowski is comfortable with and happy to be attending.

"I have always liked the campus," Zimkowski explained. "I've been around it since I was little. I've always liked the atmosphere and I've always gone there to watch games. It kind of feels like home."

Zimkowski also felt comfortable with Mustang coach Alex Crozier.

"Everytime I talk to him he is really level headed and calm," she said. "I get a long with him which is very good."

While Zimkowski is not very comfortable talking about herself, her St. Joseph coach Landon Reid has no problem with complements for his star.

"Andrea in any program will bring stability," Reid said. "The hardest thing coming in as a freshman is adjustment - adjusting to school and adjusting to playing if you don't know yourself - Andrea knows herself.

"She knows what her strengths are, so Andrea will come in and be somebody that they can count on right away," Reid adds. "Not always found in a freshman."

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Reid explained that Zimkowski had already committed to Cal Poly before he arrived, but has talked to the Mustang coaching staff several times about their new recruit.

"She had already decided by the time I took the job," he said, "so the conversations I've had with them have been more about what kind of leader she is off the field and how she interacts with her teammates.

The all-time leading goal scorer in school history with 51, Zimkowski has scored 17 goals and has 11 assists so far this year in 23 games. Her skills have impressed Reid, who is serving in his first year as St. Joseph head coach.

"The credit for her development from a coaching perspective goes to her club coach Brian Reed," Reid explained. "She has been able to pick up all the skills that he has instilled in his program."

Zimkowski is excited that she is not going so far away to school that her parents can't watch her still play.

"My family has always been really involved," she said. "I've been seriously involved with club for the last six years and every week we were traveling and they are behind me 110 percent.

"I'm really happy that they can still be involved with my soccer in college."

Soccer has always been an important part of Zimkowski's life.

"My favorite thing about soccer is it's always there," Zimkowski explained. "It's always been a stable thing and something I can take refuge in.

"If I'm really angry then I can go outside, play soccer and concentrate on that. It will get my mind off stuff and I don't have to worry about anything else. Soccer has always been there and I know it will always be there.

February 24, 2009

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