Zach Thornton

Zach Thornton

Football player infobox| playername= Zach Thornton
fullname = Zach Thornton
nickname =

dateofbirth = birth date and age|1973|10|10
cityofbirth = Edgewood, MD
countryofbirth = United States
height = height|ft=6|in=3
currentclub = Chivas USA
clubnumber = 28
position = Goalkeeper
youthyears = 1993–1994
youthclubs = Loyola-Maryland
years = 1996–97
clubs = MetroStars
North Jersey Imperials (loan)
Chicago Fire
Colorado Rapids
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA
caps(goals) = 006 0(0)

246 0(0)
000 0(0)
001 0(0)
000 0(0)
008 0(0)
nationalyears = 1994–2001
nationalteam = United States
nationalcaps(goals) = 008 (0)
pcupdate = 4 June 2008
ntupdate = 4 November 2007

Zach Thornton (born October 10, 1973, in Edgewood, Maryland) is a soccer goalkeeper, who is currently with Chivas USA of Major League Soccer.

Thornton played high school soccer at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland, and college soccer at Loyola-Maryland (coincidentally, he was also a third-team All-American at lacrosse), and was drafted by the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in the 7th round of the 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft. With then-former US national keeper and local star Tony Meola entrenched in Metro nets, Zach played only six games during his first two seasons in MLS. In 1997, he played a few games on loan with the North Jersey Imperials of the USISL, whose starting goalie was future Metro and US national teamer Tim Howard.

The Chicago Fire took Thornton in the 1997 MLS Expansion Draft, and his career took off. Beating out Mexican international Jorge Campos for the starting job, Zach lead the expansion Fire to that year's MLS Cup, and was named the league's Goalkeeper of the Year. He spent six years with the Fire, an automatic starter throughout his time there, and frequently at the top of MLS goalkeeping charts. In 2004, Thornton signed a six-month contract with Portuguese club Benfica. He didn't get a single first-team match with them, however, and re-signed with the Fire late in the MLS season. Thornton did not get any playing time, as his former backup Henry Ring had taken hold of the position in Thornton's absence. In 2005 Thornton would reclaim his spot in the Fire's net missing only a few matches due to injury. Thornton was traded to the Colorado Rapids on March 2, 2007 but was waived at the end of the year. He was subsequently picked up the club he started his MLS career at, Red Bull New York, as the team's reserve goalkeeper for 2008. Thornton was traded to Chivas USA on August 2nd, 2008.

Thornton's first cap with the US national team came in 1994. He backed up overage selection Kasey Keller at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Thornton hasn't been able to translate his success in MLS to the international level, collecting only eight caps.

Thornton is nicknamed "The Beast" for his imposing size. An alternative nickname many fans use is "The Bear", referring to his almost bear-like build compared to an average soccer player, or even an average goalkeeper. According to the Chicago Fire's official website, Zach Thornton stands some 6'3" tall and weighs 230 pounds.

See also

* List of current MLS players

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