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Season review: Nick Zimmerman

Editor’s note: PSP is running season reviews for each Philadelphia Union player — one per weekday for the next few weeks. You can read all the reviews here.

Nick Zimmerman started the year with high expectations. He was drafted by the Union in the expansion draft from New York after accumulating 11 appearances, 7 starts, and 757 minutes in his rookie season in 2009. Deployed often as a winger or a forward, Zimmerman was tabbed early by fans as someone they expected to be contributing off the bench. Ultimately, in a year where the Union were looking for answers to aid Sebastien Le Toux in scoring goals and looking for wing help when both Roger Torres and Shea Salinas were injured, the coaches did not turn to Zimmerman often.

High point

To some extent, this whole season has been a magical ride for most of these players. From being selected in the expansion draft, to the Superdraft in January and big pressers over the winter, straight on through soccer in snow, starting the season on the road, and rocking PPL, these players have been through a storybook year—forget the wins and losses for a minute. Though he didn’t play a large role in it statistically, Nick was there to play when called on, to put in the work at practice, and give the coaches and the fans everything he had. Through it all, the ups and the downs, he did the Blue and Gold proud.

Low point

Not seeing more time on the field, perhaps, is an overall low point. But in particular, it’s hard to pinpoint any singular occurrence for Nick.

2010 statistics

8 games (1 start), 159 Minutes Played, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 3 Shots

Strengths

Speed, finishing, size, attitude. Zimmerman is a quick player and, by most accounts, a great locker room presence.

Weaknesses

Reading other players, both in passing and timing runs. It could be a field vision issue, something that will improve with experience.

Outlook

Zimmerman’s future with the Union is a little bit of a question. Had the Union had a full roster in March, I might have advocated for him to go on season-long loan to Harrisburg to gain more experience. He showed well there both times he played with the Islanders and generally seemed to enjoy the experience. It’s a shame he didn’t get more opportunities there. On field for the Union, I only see the depth in front of him mounting. With the acquisition of Justin Mapp, Zimmerman moved one man further down the pecking order on the wing and was already sitting as the fifth option at forward. If the Union acquire any impact offensive reinforcements, they will likely slot in ahead of Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s future for the time being is likely in a reserve capacity. His flexibility as a winger or forward makes him ideal for a depth role. With the reserve league returning next season, his tenacity, hustle, and leadership should serve a team of young reserve players well. Learning the system and the Union’s style of play will benefit Nick not only as a reliable reserve but also in elevating aspects of his game.

With an expanding roster, there really is no immediate reason to waive any player currently under contract. Strategically, it makes the most sense to proceed through the multiple drafts in November, December, and January and then re-assess the situation during camp with relevant additions, draft picks, and players present. There is the potential of being dealt over the winter, however. With the Union in the market for a veteran player or two, it’s possible that Nick might be included in a trade package to a team looking for offensive prospects. Despite any possible trades, I would expect to see Nick in camp in February fighting for a job against trialists and draftees, a year stronger and a year wiser.

(Photo: Paul Rudderow)

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