Meet Zavier Hajdukovich: “The Alaskan Anchor”

Jared Darling, Sports Photographer

Zavier Hajdukovich, the California State University, East Bay Men’s Soccer goalkeeper, finds himself an astonishing three thousand miles away from his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. Although the goalkeeper is far-removed from home, Hajdukovich seems to be finding himself a new home in front of the nets at Pioneer Stadium. The sophomore standout has protected the Pioneer goal in all 13 games thus far this season, logging 1,170 minutes in front of the net. After sitting on the bench for much of his freshman season, Hajdukovich has stepped up to the pitch and delivered strong performances for CSUEB this Fall 2022 season. 

Hajdukovich’s soccer journey began in Anchorage at the age of 10 when he first started playing as a goalkeeper. He quickly became attached to the position for many reasons, though he is most drawn to the thrill that comes from making important saves. “I think my favorite part about [being a goalie] is making those big saves when they are needed most,”
Hajdukovich added. His love for the position propelled him to national acclaim when he was nominated for the Gatorade Player of the Year in his senior year of high school. In spite of his accolades, Hajdukovich faced many challenges during recruitment season due to the pandemic, but credited the continued interest, enthusiasm, and persistence of the CSUEB coaching staff as one of the main reasons behind his choice to become a Pioneer. 
It is clear that the CSUEB coaching staff has found their hidden gem in Hajdukovich. The Pioneer goalkeeper has amassed five shutouts for the season — four of which have led to East Bay wins — including two in California College Athletic Association (CCAA) play against Sonoma State University and San Francisco State University. Most notably, Hajdukovich leads the CCAA in total number of saves and saves per game with an astounding 80 total saves and an average of 5.73 per game. 

Hajdukovich cited his rigorous work ethic as a reason behind his success on the field. “Over the summer I ended up staying down here in California to get in as much training as I could with the best players possible around,” which enabled the star goalkeeper to improve upon all aspects of his game. 
Regardless of individual effort however, soccer is, ultimately, a team sport that requires everyone to contribute. As such, Hajdukovich recognized his teammates and coaches for helping him shine on the field. “I definitely attribute my ability to all of the amazing coaches I have had and the tips and tricks they have taught me about the game,” expressed Hajdukovich, further extending his gratitude towards his defensive line as “they have been awesome this year and they have helped me as much as I have helped them.” 
Hajdukovich’s drive for greatness rests on one thing: winning. “Winning games is one of the best feelings ever, so if I want to get that feeling as much as possible, I can’t let any goals behind me,” Hajdukovich commented. 
nspired by Hajdukovich’s pursuit for victory, the Pioneers are hoping that such unwavering desire will lead the soccer team to secure a spot in the CCAA playoff tournament at the end of the season and end a substantial playoff drought. 
The Pioneers are currently sixth in the CCAA standings, which has them holding on to a playoff spot with just 3 weeks left to play. Defying the CCAA pre-season poll — which predicted the Pioneers to finish last in the conference by popular vote — remains Hajdukovich’s premier source of motivation: “We are definitely looking to prove some people wrong, so [I’m] super excited to be a part of that,” Hajdukovich admitted. 
As CSUEB’s Men’s Soccer team enters the final stretch of the season, the Pioneers’ celebrated goalkeeper holds his spirits high. “Super excited for the rest of the season, I’m most excited though to try to fight for that playoff spot,” said Hajdukovich. 
Aside from all the attention and success that Hajdukovich has amassed on the pitch this season, the Alaskan native is most proud about hailing #FromTheSnow and representing Alaskan athletics. Empowered by his identity as a rare Alaskan talent, an insatiable hunger for individual achievement, and unflagging commitment to team play, Hajdukovich’s successful sophomore campaign has been an integral part to the success of this year’s Men’s Soccer team and one of the main reasons they hold a playoff spot.