An ISB student for over a decade, Sam Zapatka graduated in 2010 after making himself known in sports such as volleyball, basketball and softball. An IASAS champion in both volleyball and softball, an interesting aside which explains a bit about the maturity and character of the young Sammy Zapatka was the fact that as a middle schooler he was the de facto assistant varsity boys’ basketball coach, not bad for a pre-teenager!
A Career in Sports
Sam knew that he wanted athletics in his future. Upon graduation, he attended Springfield College in Massachusetts, an institution well-known for its athletic-based majors, and is, in fact, the “birthplace of basketball.” Graduating in 2013 with a degree in Sports Management, his experiences while in college had seen him supervise Division III sporting events, serve as the assistant volleyball coach as well as designing marketing information for BlazeSports America, a non-profit organization whose mission is to change the lives of children and veterans with physical disabilities through adaptive sports and recreation. Sam’s involvement with BlazeSports motivated him to become a Certified Disability Sports Specialist, while his work with the volleyball team allowed him to travel to the World University Games in Kazan, Russia in 2013.
In 2014 Sam acted as the team manager for Men’s USA Volleyball B Team for two important competitions, the Pan American Cup in Mexico and the Pan American Games in Canada. With that he was responsible for all the required documentation and team logistics for the team. Additionally, he managed all of the video data and statistical analysis for those competitions.
The international responsibilities that Sam undertook led to his next job with the U.S. Soccer Federation. With the USSF Sam has served as the National Teams Coordinator, the Events Operations Coordinator, the Events Operations Manager, and currently as the Men’s National Team Administrator. These positions have taken him to Papua New Guinea with the Women’s U20 National Soccer Team, to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Paralympics Games, as well as other international competitions in Europe, Asia and South America.
FIFA Women's World Cup
Sam Zapatka’s FIFA Women’s World Cup story is so compelling, let’s let him tell it:
“During the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, I was in charge of the Friends & Family (F&F) Program for US Soccer. The program is designed to assist the F&F of the players named to the World Cup roster with transportation, accommodations and tickets during the World Cup. Essentially the program alleviates any stress and concern from the players so they can concentrate on being successful on the field. As we continued to win throughout the World Cup, the program continued to grow. We began with 86 total family and friends for the first game, and by the final were managing over 350. It was an incredible experience working with all the F&F of the players It was also the first time in my working career I was able to watch and enjoy the games myself!
One of the most memorable moments of my life was when the final whistle blew and we had won the World Cup, being surrounded by so many Americans who just watched their daughter, their wife, their sister, or their best friend achieve their dreams, was simply amazing. The next four days were pure jubilation, from the after-party in Lyon, to the parade in New York City, to the ESPYS in Los Angeles, we celebrated like champions.”
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on everyone around the planet, but ISB’s Sam Zapatka has continued his work with the U.S. Soccer Federation as the Men’s National Team Administrator as the team prepares to battle in 2021.
Keep up the great work, Sam!