Some might call Zach Loyd’s professional soccer career short, since the Tulsa native spent only eight seasons in the Major League Soccer before retiring in 2017. The Verdigris High School product – who was the fifth pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft – played seven of those seasons with FC Dallas before finishing with Atlanta United SC, where he didn’t play due to a concussion. He says that he really can’t complain.
“I’m thankful for it. I really enjoyed it,” he says. “Now that I’m out of it, I realize how much of a blessing it was to be playing as long as I was. I see a lot of people who want to make it, or they were in it [and miss it], so I’m really blessed to play as long as I did. To represent the national team is something I dreamed of as a kid.”
Over the past few years, the talented 32-year-old has made a successful foray into coaching along with his wife, Casey, whom he met at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where they both played soccer. (Casey also had a successful professional soccer career through 2013.) The pair got their first taste of coaching in 2012 with Vickery United, a soccer program started in Dallas for refugee children. Along with coaching high school soccer in Dallas, Loyd is also head coach for Lone Star Republic of the United Professional Soccer League (UPSL), where his wife assists him.
“It’s been real fun,” says Loyd. “I really enjoy being able to work with everyone and getting that perspective. You get to see the whole team and how it functions together. As a player, it’s a little bit different. You’re worried about the whole team, but you work in groups. I like the relationships of it. That’s my favorite part, building relationships with the guys and trying to build something as a whole, finding guys that fit into what you want to do.”
In 2019, he and Casey started their own faith-based non-profit. 10/15 Ministry (which is named for the Bible verse Romans 10:15), is a way to combine two things the Loyds are incredibly passionate about: soccer and their Christian faith.
“The game of soccer, it’s brought a lot of joy into my life, and it’s good to be able to stay around the game,” says Loyd. “Everyone loves the game, but it’s the things that help people off the field – especially with the ministry being able to impact people outside of the field – that have been really good and enjoyable.”
Even with a busy coaching schedule, this proud Okie still finds time to return to his roots to catch up with friends and family.
“I miss the people,” says Loyd. “I also miss the slower pace there. People aren’t in a hurry. Everyone enjoys where they’re at and what they’re doing. I really enjoy that when I go back, just slowing things down.”