Lucas Zaya

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Lucas Zaya
Personal information
Full nameLucas Zaya
Year of birth1983
Place of birthIridia City, Iridia
Playing positionForward
Senior career
YearsTeamApps(Gls)*
2007Iridia Iridia Cyclones
2007–17Craitland Biulya äqi Jedu FC
National team
2007–09Iridia Iridia
2009–13Monovia Monovia
2013–17Craitland Craitland9(5)
* Appearances (Goals)
Player has received at least one call-up for any emboldened national teams

Lucas Zaya is an Iridian-born former-footballer who last played for Biulya äqi Jedu FC in Craitland, with whom he spent the majority of his career. A forward with a prolific domestic goal-scoring record, Zaya represented his homeland of Iridia, Monovia and Craitland internationally; appearing and scoring in multiple FMF World Cups for the latter two nations' teams.

Career

Club

Zaya began his career with the Iridia Cyclones, his homeland's only full-time club, after Iridia joined Micras in 2007. Later that year, after impressing at international level, Zaya signed for Craitish League 1 side Biulya äqi Jedu FC for a fee of Cr 6.5 million. Zaya was given the 21 shirt ahead of his first season with the team, and made an instant impact by hitting five of the team's six league goals that year. BäJ acquired Tellian forward Guillermo Trescrara in the summer of 2008, and Zaya forged a strong strike partnership with him in the subsequent season as the pair's 15 goals—Zaya scoring nine—helped the club to a third-placed finish whilst winning its first ever silverware in the King's Cup as Zaya scored in both the semi-final and final. Zaya increased his league tally in 2010, as he ended the season as the league's second-top scorer with eleven goals as BäJ again finished third. Although the club could only finish in fifth the following year, Zaya's own accomplishments saw him score a personal record 13 league goals whilst also scoring in the semi-final and final of the cup that year as the team lost the latter 2–1 to Sverige Tiem FC.

Zaya made his way into the league's top scoring charts in both 2012 and 2013, hitting ten and 13 goals, respectively, as BäJ were only able to finish in mid-table and not challenge for any titles. However, in the 2014 season, the team finished second in the league as Zaya again hit double figures of goals with ten, alongside new strike partner Aki Mäenpää, and sealed a second cup win. Gianluca Salmoiraghi joined the team for the 2015 season, meaning Zaya, now in his 30s, had stiffer competition for a place in the starting line-up. In what was an unprecedentedly successful year for BäJ, the club won its first league title, the WMFA Champions' League and also the 2015 FMF Champions' League, with Zaya's goal tally including six in the league as he played an important, if reduced, role. As the club finished third in league in 2016, they won a second successive confederational title, though Zaya was utilised increasingly more as a back-up and only scored four league goals. The following year, Zaya's contributions to the team were solely as a reserve player; his only goal of the campaign coming in February as the team finished sixth, and he announced his retirement from football that summer at the age of 34 after ten seasons in Biulya and with six winner's medals to his name.

International

As one of Iridia's few full-time footballers, Zaya received his first call-up to the national team in 2007 for that year's FMF World Cup qualifiers. Although the team failed to score in any of their six matches, ending with two points, Zaya's performances were noted by pundits and earned him a move abroad that summer. As a member of the EMUFA, Iridia would have gained automatic entry into the 2007 EMU Championships later that year, but a brief hiatus of the nation on Micras meant that they were not able to compete despite returning soon afterwards. Zaya helped the team to an improved fourth place in their six-team qualifying group for 2008's competition before again finishing in fourth in the following year's group. However, Iridia was dissolved in 2009 after Ocia, which annexed it in 2008, split into eastern and western entities, and Zaya gained eligibility to represent Monovia; another Ocian territory.

Zaya received and accepted a first call-up to Monovia's national team for the 2009 FMF World Cup, where he made his début in a loss to Beaugium before scoring the only goal in the final group match against Interland to help the team finish third, but fail to advance. Zaya continued to play regularly for Monovia into 2010 as the team advanced to the the summer's finals unbeaten, and was involved in the unsuccessful CiboTap 2010 final loss to Alexandria. While Monovia found themselves on a surprising run to the semi-finals of the World Cup that year, where they eventually finished fourth, Zaya did not find the net himself with Armand Diarra the team's biggest scoring threat. Zaya was involved in Monovia's qualification campaigns in 2011, 2012 and 2013, with the team unsuccessful in reaching another World Cup, before Monovia left Micras after Ocia was declared dead.

In light of Monovia's collapse, Zaya was granted citizenship of Craitland, for which he applied after six years' residence. He made his début for this third national team in an 8–0 friendly win over Mailong and scored a hat-trick in an impressive performance, which led to his inclusion in the squads for EMU 2013 and the 2013 FMF World Cup. Although Craitland were surprisingly eliminated in the group stage of the former, they topped their World Cup group unbeaten, with Zaya scoring the fourth goal in a comfortable win over Nova England, and ultimately finished in fourth place as Zaya made further appearances. However, Zaya failed to be involved in any Craitish tournament squads after 2013 and retired in 2017 having earned nine Craitish caps—scoring five times in total—and remaining eligible for call-ups until ending his career entirely.

Honours

Biulya äqi Jedu FC