Former Herd men’s soccer player to host ZEE Soccer Christmas Camp


Paulo Pita

Rafael Simoes and Paulo Pita with ZEE Goalkeeper Academy campers.

Former Marshall University men’s soccer goalkeeper, Paulo Pita, will be hosting a two-day soccer camp with ZEE Goalkeeper Academy before leaving the state of West Virginia one final time.

The ZEE Goalkeeper Academy, owned by Rick Zucchi, is based in Port Orange, Florida. Zucchi gave Pita ownership to create a goalkeeper academy based in West Virginia. In 2016, Pita played in a summer league in Florida. While he was there, he coached a kid named Ian.  Ian’s family and Pita have remained in contact. In 2018, Pita returned to Florida and Ian’s mother introduced Pita to Zucchi.

“He is a really nice guy and has been a huge impact throughout my soccer college career,” Pita said. “After coaching for him once, he thought I had the potential to coach kids, and he gave me the opportunity to be the director of the ZEE Academy. Now, I opened my own goalkeeper academy here.”

Pita will be hosting this camp along with Rafael Simões, former volunteer assistant coach for the Marshall University men’s soccer team.

Pita will be working closely with goalkeepers while Simões will work alongside field players.

General skills that will be covered during the camp incorporate dribbling, passing, shooting, ball control, heading and correct general field positioning.

Goalies will be focusing on physical aspects of soccer such as footwork, agility, strength, balance and first step quickness. Technical skills consist of shot stopping and handling, dealing with crossed balls and breakaway saves. Tactical skills include distribution, positioning/angle play and defensive set pieces. Other psychological abilities embrace leadership, decision making and communication.

The camp will be broken up into three groups, ranging from eight years old and up.

Group one will consist of eight to 10-year olds from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Group two will involve of 11 to 13-year olds from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Group three will comprise of 14-year olds and up from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“I’ve been carrying this brand for over a year now,” Pita said. “It’s just a chance to give the kids an opportunity to grow into the soccer game and get to know a few different drills not only from American people but from Brazil.”

The dates of the winter camp are Dec. 21-22 and take place at the HIT Center of Huntington located at 2240 Fifth Ave. #101 Huntington, W.Va. 25703.

More information about the ZEE Soccer Winter Camp-Huntington, WV can be found at or Pita can be contacted at 913-944-3399 and Simões can be reached at 681-313-3687.

“It’s a fun soccer camp,” Pita said. “But also, we go through a lot of soccer techniques and few different styles of the game.”

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].