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With a name like ‘Flop’, she’s got to be good. Tulpehocken graduate Crystal Zerbe, known as ‘Flop’ to her teammates, has been anything but a flop for the Kutztown University women’s soccer team.
After transfering from East Stroudsburg her sophomore season, Zerbe has started in 41 of the team’s 43 games over the last two seasons. With hard work and amazing athleticism, Zerber finished the 2011 season with a first team All-PSAC honor and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division II All-Atlantic first team selection.
“It means so much to me as a player,” said Zerbe of her all-star selections. “That’s always an individual goal of mine every season and I was really surprised when I found out. To be selected as one of the top four midfielders in the conference was really an honor. I feel like it makes all the hard work over the years worth it.”
Her sophomore season was her first for the Golden Bears, but it was a solid start. Solid enough to get her named to the All-PSAC East third team.
But last year was a real breakout year for Zerbe. She had five goals and two assists and her aggressive style made her a special player. Kutztown Head Coach Erik Burstein knows what he has in Crystal, and truly appreciates the hard work she puts into her game.
“Crystal is not only the best athlete we’ve ever had at K.U., but she is the best athlete I’ve every worked with with,” said Coach Burstein. “Her commitment to her fitness and the game of soccer in general is unmatched and it makes her such a unique and special player at this level,
“Flop is a pure competitor with a relentless work rate. Combine this with her technical ability on the ball and her tactical awareness on the field and you get one of the very best players in the PSAC as weel as the Mid-Atlantic Region.”
Zerbe started playing the sport of soccer at five years old. She played for the Reading Rage program for almost 10 years as well as the Tulpehocken Soccer Club and other club teams. She still treasures her memories of the Tulpehocken High School team.
“What I remember most is winning the district championship my junior year and the seniors that I graduated with who had played together with me since we were little,” said Zerbe.
While she played with the Reading Rage, one of her teammates for nine of those years was Taylor Seitzinger, who was killed in a car accident earlier this year. At Kutztown, she wears number seven in remembrance of her.
Crystal is a competitor. She admits that she has a tough time dealing with failure, which is a motivation for her to work as hard as possible to be the best player she can be. Her college coach has noticed her determination.
“When you watch ‘Flop’ on the training field, during a match or even in the weight room, you can see the players immediately show her respect,” said Coach Burstein. “The intensity and quality at which she plays or trains demands respect from everyone in the program. The second she begins to play, she is given that respect.
“A player of her abilities doesn’t come into a program often, but we are thrilled to have her again this year as she had had a profound effect on our program.”
Crystal give much of the credit to her parents for their support of her in soccer.
“My parents definitely had the biggest influence on my soccer career,” said Zerbe. “They have always been there giving me continuous support throughout the years. They both have given up so much over the years for me and I believe their overwhelming support for me to play this sport is the only reason I have been able to be a successful college soccer player.”
Zerbe is a secondary education math major at Kutztown and plans on being a math teacher after graduation. In addition, she would like to pass on her soccer knowledge and coach at whatever level she can coach at.