Blast GK William Vanzela Discusses His Future After Ninth Season In Baltimore

Longtime Blast goalkeeper William Vanzela, who recently completed his ninth season with Baltimore, says he wants to continue playing as long as his body allows him to compete at a high level.

The 2021-22 season marked Vanzela’s ninth season with Baltimore. The 37-year-old started 15 games during the regular season, allowing 5.45 goals per game with a .682 save percentage. He helped lead the Blast to a 12-9 record during regular-season play before the team fell to the Chihuahua Savage in the MASL quarterfinals.

“We lost to a great team. I think we did everything we could. We put our hearts on the field. We really fought. That’s all you can ask for,” Vanzela said on Glenn Clark Radio April 25. “Games you can win and lose. It’s part of life. I think we learned a lot this season. I think we grew this season a lot. That’s where we’re at. Unfortunately, we did not win the championship series the way we’re used to here, so people think we had a bad season because we’re not in the finals. Everybody’s used to that and so are we.”

But the season was a grind for Vanzela due to injuries. He said he played through a small fracture in his back and a wrist issue, but one injury he couldn’t play through was a concussion he suffered against the Harrisburg Heat Jan. 29. Backup Mike Zierhoffer finished that game and started the next four contests before Vanzela returned.

Vanzela, who has been on four championship squads in Baltimore, said he felt good by the time the playoffs rolled around. He totaled 50 saves during the quarterfinal series against Chihuahua. Vanzela says he wants to continue to play as long as his body allows him to do so at a high level, but he allowed that he thinks about whether he’s hit the end of the road with his playing career “every day.”

Vanzela played the 2021-22 season on a one-year deal.

“When something bad happens you’re like, ‘That’s it. I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done,” Vanzela said. “And then two days later, you miss your best friends. You miss your teammates. Or you go into the game when you come back and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I love this so much, I’m playing forever.’ When you think about Tom Brady, you don’t need the money. You’re playing because you love the game. Then you’re retired and you’re like, ‘What do I do now? I really miss this game. I’m coming back.’ It happens all the time.”

Vanzela runs his Born to Fly goalie clinics and coaches goalkeepers for the Johns Hopkins men’s soccer program, so goalkeeping isn’t going anywhere for him regardless of his eventual decision. But he still relishes playing the position.

“I’m a goalie, so every time I make a mistake everybody blames me forever. That’s normal. I’m OK with that,” Vanzela said. “I’ve done this my whole life, so every time we lose a game it’s my fault, and I can carry that blame. I’m OK with that, but I’m a worse judge. I go home and really review my plays. ‘OK, you suck here, you have to do better here. Oh, that was pretty good.’ If I’m playing at a high level that I’m happy with, I think I’ll continue.”

For more from Vanzela, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran

Luke Jackson

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