April 8, 2011 > Zaki Sarwary
By Mihir Bhagat
Anytime an athlete is able to play a sport at the varsity level it's undoubtedly a commendable achievement. In one case a high school athlete has played two varsity sports since his freshmen year of high school and was captain in both -- not to mention he played on multiple premier clubs, winning several awards and achievements along the way. To some, that's downright remarkable. Yet when evaluating Zaki Sarwary's decorated athletic career, remarkable may be an understatement.
Sarwary is currently a senior at Mission San Jose High School amidst the boys volleyball season and is leading the Warriors to dominance as they rank third in the North Coast Section. Along with his efforts, the team has been rolling through the Mission Valley Athletic League with a perfect 27-0 record over the past three years.
The team as a whole is incredibly skilled and they're poised to make a deep run at the title this year. In previous years, the Warriors were seeded No. 3 in 2010 and were upset in the first round by No. 6 De La Salle; in 2009, again as the No. 3 seed, Mission fell to No. 1 Foothill in the championship. Zaki said that a lot of the team's success is a product of the tremendous coaching on the team.
"I owe a lot of my accomplishments to my volleyball coaches, Dan Kwon and Daniel Yang, who have helped me progress as both a person and athlete," he said.
His goal is to play his best season yet and take home the trophy. He also plans to coach the sport in the coming years in order to give back to the game.
Sarwary was named to the Second Team All-League as a junior and has a legitimate shot at being named to the All-NCS team this year. His talents have caught the eyes of coaches on the next level. Various DIII schools have scouted Sarwary, and a number have offered him scholarships.
While he's undeniably talented on the court, he has a passion for playing soccer as well.
"My father played soccer as a child and he was a big influence on me," Sarwary mentioned. "That really motivated me to take up the sport."
He began playing in ninth grade for the FC Fremont D1 team and would go on to make the varsity squad as a freshmen. He quickly developed into a top-flight player and decided to test his skills at the next level.
Sarwary joined the Bay Area Premier Soccer League with a semi-pro adult team. Together they seized the national championship of their division in 2009 and would repeat as champions in 2010 as well.
At Mission, he was a captain this year after proving himself as a starter at midfield since his sophomore campaign.
The team set the tempo of the season early with a statement victory over last year's NCS champions. Unfortunately, they suffered a tough blow when Zaki tore his MCL and sprained his ankle midseason. With courage and resiliency, he would come back to help his team finish fourth in league play. He would end with Second Team All-League honors.
Even though his days playing in high school are over, he's looking forward to the future. In fact, one day, he aspires to play on the Afghanistan national team. "I want to make my country proud," he proclaimed.
That aside, what's probably most admirable is that Sarwary takes the term student-athlete to heart. He explained how his parents emphasized the importance of balancing sports and education and how they were always able to keep him focused. He raved about the invaluable role they've played in his life.
"Without the support of my mom and dad," Sarwary noted, "none of my accomplishments would have been possible."
Career wise, his interest lies in civil engineering. Even though he remains undecided on which college he'd like to attend for now, he's keeping his options open. Regardless of where he attends, he intends to play collegiate soccer.