FRISCO, Texas – It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours for Ethan Zubak.
The LA Galaxy Academy product and Galaxy II standout signed his first-team deal on Friday, and less than 24 hours later, he was making his Major League Soccer debut.
The 20-year-old Corona native went 15 minutes in the team’s 2-0 defeat to FC Dallas on Saturday at Toyota Stadium, showing positive signs in his brief showing. Although the result wasn’t ideal, Zubak, who has spent the last six years in the Galaxy organization, was overjoyed to make his debut for his hometown club.
“It’s been a crazy 24 hours,” Zubak told LAGalaxy.com. “I’ve known for a little bit that I’d get my contract. Next thing I know, they tell me I’m going on a trip to Dallas, so it’s been an emotional 24 hours but in a good way.”
Needing a spark late in the match and without DPs Zlatan Ibrahimović and Romain Alessandrini due to injury, head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto called on the youngster to make his first-team debut.
The accomplished goal scorer at the Academy and USL level nearly had an opportunity to make his presence felt in the 83rd minute when he was unable to handle a probing ball by Daniel Steres in the FC Dallas penalty area.
Postgame, Zubak admitted that he would have liked to do better on the sequence.
“I thought that I maybe could have taken the shot. I gave it a little pass to Efrain too, though I think it was unlucky that he missed it,” he said. “That’s a chance that maybe I could learn off in the future — maybe I could have taken the shot, maybe it was the right play."
His play on the field notwithstanding, Zubak's appearance on the first team roster is a culmination of a journey that began at 14 when he joined the Galaxy Academy.
From there, Zubak enjoyed a wealth of success, winning the USSDA U-16 title in 2014, and becoming the first member of the Galaxy Blended Learning Program to sign a second-team deal two years later. The youngster quickly acclimated to the USL, scoring 17 goals in 83 appearances for Los Dos through two seasons.
As he prepares for his next challenge, the 20-year-old striker is ready to build on Saturday's debut.
“It’s been a long, long journey. I don’t think it’s still quite hit me yet especially since I’ve been with the club for six years or so," Zubak said. "This moment right now, I don’t even think I’m feeling it. All of this is a lot to think about, but I think when it hits me, it’ll be a moment of realization, but I also want it to be a short one.
“This is just the first step.”