My name is Rick Zucchi, I’m the founder of the ZEE Goalkeeper Academy and the professional goalkeeper glove brand called ZEE Goalkeeper Gloves. I’m 57 years old and since I was 8 years old I’ve always wanted to be a goalkeeper.

The passion in becoming a goalkeeper wasn’t that easy back in the late 1970’s, there was no cheap electronic recording devices, we couldn’t upload our videos to YouTube and share them all over the planet. Everything was still manual and to get your name out unless you lived in a large city with a professional club present, it was basically impossible to be seen by the scouts!

I lived in a small town in the North of Wales called Llandudno, the closest place to play competitive soccer (football) was in Colwyn Bay. So at the age of 11 I started to commute 4 days a week after school to the club. That was cut short because my parents decided to emigrate to Italy (my fathers place of birth). Little did I know that this was going to be a huge bounce forward for me when coming down to my Goalkeeper Development. Unfortunately I did not find a competitive travel club until the age of 14, but when I did it was a great score. The club was called Pescatori Ostia and was the second largest club in the city of Ostia (located just outside Rome).

For around 20 months I broke my back working every afternoon during team training and to the side goalkeeper practice. I wasn’t the coaches first choice till the starting goalkeeper sustained and arm injury during a training session and now the coach looked up to me. It went well, very well. 21 matches, 16 clean sheets and an average saves per game 9. So, that spot was mine and stayed mine till the end of the season.

The season after I was brought in to try our for Serie A Academy S.S. Lazio. I said to myself that there was no chance that they’d take me, but little did I know that the club had a scout attend several of my games and had already made contact with the president of Pescatori Ostia. I was expecting to try out with another dozen goalkeeper candidates, but it was just me. Here I am a 16 year old kid surrounded by 4 trainers in a soccer complex that I had never even dreamed of training on.

They took me!

I played for S.S. Lazio till I was 19 and there I was traded to Serie C2 team Ostia Mare. I agreed to a 2 year contract and could not believe I was now playing as a professional goalkeeper in one of the most biggest soccer loving nations on the planet.

Playing in the 3rd division you can imagine that the contracts we’re not huge numbers, but to be honest it was just enough money to live and average life. However I wanted this more than anything and I was convinced that I would have made it higher up and maybe one day play in the Serie A. I had no support from my parents, they really didn’t care about my progress in soccer. I don’t recall once my father coming to watch me play, even if I offered him free tickets with the best seats available in the stadium.

19 months in the worst of the worst happened, I was involved in a motorcycle accident and I badly broke my right leg. 3 months in a cast and another 2 on crutches. The club handed me my contract and said goodbye. They had already replaced me with another goalkeeper and there was no turning back.

It sunk in pretty fast that my played soccer career was over, so I applied instantly for my coaching licenses and because I was an ex-professional soccer player I was admitted to the first course that year. 6 months later with my UEFA C license in hand I knocked on S.S. Lazio’s door once again and I was offered a spot to train their U12-U13 goalkeepers, during that Time I went ahead and applied for my UEFA A Goalkeeper license and worked on getting that license as well while taking my first steps as a goalkeeper coach.

One year later with my A license in hand, I knew I could stat coaching at a professional level, so back to Ostia Mare I went and offered my services to the first team coach. I was totally in luck because at that time the Goalkeeper Coach had just resigned.

At Ostia Mare I stayed for 11 years, working with the Academy goalkeepers and the pro’s. Then the decision took place to move to the United States. I had a very good job offer in the DotCom booming business that I couldn’t turn down. So, I thought that my coaching career was over and it was for nearly 14 years.

In 2010 my son Blake was born, I had hopes that one day he would chose to play soccer and become a better goalkeeper than I was. That dream came true, Blake took to goalkeeping very fast and at the age of 5 I took him to the local soccer club. They took him, but he was too young to play in their league so he could train only.

While talking to the Director of Soccer Operations at the club, I mentioned that I played as a professional goalkeeper and coached goalkeepers at the highest level. She showed interest right away and offered me a position at the club as Goalkeeper Academy Director. Needless to say I accepted the offer with my eyes closed.

My adventure at that club lasted a little over a year, then the club took a direction that I did not want to take. However I wanted to stay in the ring of goalkeeper training and that I did.

ZEE Goalkeeper Camps - Port Orange Florida

I created my own Goalkeeper Academy, I started to purchase all the equipment needed to ensure that the goalkeepers had all the tools they needed to develop the way I wanted them to. The word got out and in no time my academy was already full to the point I had to hire more coaching staff.

Today that goalkeeper academy is the largest year round goalkeeper school in North America, offering seasonal Goalkeeper Camps and Clinics with the highest ranked Goalkeeper Coaching Staff in the Southeast US.

After 7 years and hosting more than 150 Goalkeeper Camps, clinics and events and being able to work with over 1,800 goalkeepers from all over the nation, we can say that our goalkeeper school is one of a kind. We have distinguished ourselves as being a “Development Goalkeeper Academy’ and not a Babysitting recreational money-grabber like most of the competition is.

Like stated at the start of the article, ZEE is also a brand of professional goalkeeper gloves. The idea started back in 2017 when we produced the Pro-Game 3.0 Ultimate and are still selling strong today. All of our past and present goalkeeper gloves have palms in 4+4mm German Contact Latex that happens to be the best quality grip on the market today.

ZEE Goalkeeper Gloves - Pro-Game 3.0 Ultimate

We believe that if you’re going to produce a goalkeeper glove you need to start off on the right foot and guarantee it is the best possible glove around because made out of only quality materials. We have kept these standards over the years and the production of our goalkeeper gloves is strictly using the latest and most advanced materials.

We take pride in the production of our goalkeeper gloves, planning the design takes months and we test dozens of prototypes prior to picking out the glove that will go into production. Yes, it takes time and the spending costs are higher, but at the end of the day the goalkeepers can tell you that it was well worth it.

Rick “ZEE” Zucchi