Very possibly the best and most accomplished boy’s soccer player from Bartlett High School during the first 25 years of the sport (1968 – 1993).
Zdenek Zak, Bartlett High School Class of 1972, joined the Bartlett High School Boys Soccer team in the 1969 season – as a sophomore – and was an instant impact player over the next 3 years at BHS. He had earlier gained skill in his birth country of Czechoslovakia.
The inaugural BHS soccer team of 1968 concluded the season with a 5-6-1 record, but offensive scoring was minimal at that time (22 goals to 17 goals allowed).
But what took place over the next three seasons was absolutely brilliant as the BHS soccer team went 11-1-0. 12-0-0 and 11-2-0 in regular season play for combined 34-3-0 record and a remarkable 61, 55, 56 offensive goals scored by BHS (172 to 51 goals).
Over the 1969 and 1970 seasons, the Green and White won their very first Border Conference Championship (league play began in 1969); had a regular season record of 23-1; was selected to the Western Mass/MIAA State Tournament where they defeated both Quabbin and Leominster in back to back years before losing to eventual State Champions Ludlow and Chicopee High Schools.
Zdenek finished his senior year as the team’s leading scorer and MVP. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, the ALPHA Club and the Junior Classical League.
Long to be remembered by BHS soccer followers was Zdenek’s athleticism, speed, dribbling and crafty passing, and his great shooting and crossing pattern range, uncanny penalty kick style, soccer mind, sportsmanship and being a good teammate.
An interesting 1971 season side-note took place when the BHS Varsity Football team, under Coach Ron Springer, Recruited Zdenek to be their placekicker for the annual Bartlett vs. Southbridge “Thanksgiving Day Classic” in late November of that season.
Upon graduation Zdenek went on to play the next four years at the College of the Holy Cross where he was the highest scorer on both the 1974 and 1975 varsity teams. He graduated from Holy Cross in 1976.
Dr. Zdenek Zak resides in Webster and has served the Webster community for over three decades as an optometrist after gaining a Doctor of Optometry Degree from the New England College of Optometry.