The name Samodurov is legendary in both the boys and girls soccer programs at Camas High School.
Zander Samodurov graduated from CHS in 2020 and took his soccer talents across the Atlantic to play at Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, England. His older sister Fiona graduated from CHS in 2016 and went on to play soccer at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.
Samodurov was presented with this incredible opportunity at a showcase with his club team in Seattle. The program through LJMU is connected with Everton Football Club, which is one of the most well-known clubs in the English Premier League.
“I was never really interested in playing soccer after high school. After high school, I always planned on going to Europe to go to school in England or Spain,” he said. “After the showcase, I heard about the opportunity to go over there and play from this guy, I got an email. I thought that was a good opportunity because it would be a smooth transition, I’d be able to meet people, and I’d be able to go there.”
Last fall, Samodurov traveled by himself across the world to start his new adventure in Liverpool. He moved into a flat with a couple of other college students.
“I am forced to meet new people. It’s not really by myself, but I have my own room so it’s kind of nice,” he said.
England was under a pretty strict lockdown when he first arrived so he was unable to do much except train with his team. Samodurov had a smooth transition into the team and had no issues with adapting to the British style of soccer.
“It didn’t seem too different to me. The players were more technical and less physical,” he said.
In November and December, some things started to ease up and he was able to explore the city.
Samodurov said, “I went and visited Anfield and Goodison Park. Not inside, I just went and looked around. They both look like really nice stadiums.”
He was also able to make a brief trip to London.
Samodurov said, “I got to visit London in December. I saw the London Eye, Big Ben, and the London Museum. I got to see a lot of historical places in London, but obviously, there are a ton of things that I want to see over there.”
Living pretty much on his own was a big adjustment for him. He was forced to mature quickly and adjust to a new culture.
“I feel like I learned a ton about living on my own because I had no idea how much it would cost me to buy my own things. There’s so many things that I didn’t even think about,” he said. “I realized there are a lot of things that I wasn’t fully prepared for, but I think it’s a good learning experience for the future.”
In addition, he also experienced some culture shock.
“The country is a lot different, there are a lot of different things. I would walk around the city to get a lot of places and I’d look to the left when I’m crossing the road. I would think that cars would be coming from there, start crossing, and then almost get hit by a car because they drive on the other side of the road,” he said.
Later on in December, Samodurov decided to go home for Christmas break. Little did he know, but he would not go back to England for a long time.
Samodurov said, “I wanted to go back, actually I had a flight booked for January 6th. While I was here from Christmas break, the Prime Minister announced that they’re going into another lockdown the day or two before I was supposed to fly back. I’d already been there for a month of a lockdown and you’re just locked in your room for days on end so it wasn’t too great. I decided to wait here until that gets lifted and things are going back to normal over there. Hopefully, I’ll be flying back in April.”
While he waits for the lockdown to be lifted, Samodurov has been doing online school for LJMU and working.
He said, “I like school and the program I’m doing, architectural engineering. It’s pretty enjoyable, but the only problem is since I’m over here, classes are at 1 a.m and end at 7 a.m. The sleep schedule is the problem, but I really enjoy the classes.”
“Some days my schedule is really full and some days when I have work and school off I’ve got a lot of free time. Usually Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I’ve got work from three to ten and then I’ll get home at 10:30 p.m. Then I’ve got to get ready for school and I have that until one to 7 a.m., and then I sleep until I work again,” Samodurov added.
Over the course of his time back in Camas, he decided to stop playing soccer for LJMU and focus on school. He wants to have more free time to get a job and attend Premier League games once fans are allowed back in the stadiums. Samodurov plans to move back to Liverpool when the new school year starts.
“The thing that I’m looking forward to the most is Premier League games letting fans back in. That’s something I’m really excited about and going to school in-person hopefully soon,” he said. “If Messi (Lionel Messi) goes to Manchester City then I’ll go to as many of those games as possible.”
Samodurov is loved and respected by people throughout the community. His leadership as a captain for the CHS boys varsity soccer program made a lasting impact on his teammates and the program as a whole.
CHS Senior Spencer Fewel said, “He impacted the soccer program in such a great way because first of all, he’s such a great person to be around, but also he loves playing the game the right way which helped us on the pitch so much.”
CHS Senior and varsity co-captain Noah Frazier said, “I feel lucky to have been friends with Zander over the last few years. He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met and always lifts the mood whenever he’s around. He’s a super approachable guy and a very kind person. As a teammate, he’s someone that you always want to play with. He’s so fun to watch and does things that I could never do if I practiced them for a year. He works so hard and pushes himself to get better and better.”
CHS Senior and varsity co-captain Ethan Jud said, “He’s a great teammate because he really expects a lot. He’s a type of leader who leads by example, expects a lot, and wants our play to be better. He strives to always improve how we play the game. He’s also a really funny guy and great to be around.”
Samodurov’s passion for the game is second to none, which has rubbed off on his friends and teammates.
Frazier said, “My freshman year I remember him getting the highest score on the yo-yo and that made me want to beat him and it pushed me to get better. His passion for football is incomparable to anyone else I know. He could talk about football all day, every day, and not get enough. He can recall the exact minute a goal was scored for Barcelona in games that happened six years ago. He goes to Doc Harris to play just about every day. He always lets us all know he’s going and tells us to invite anyone who wants to come.”
Frazier added, “Just the other day we were playing at Doc and Zander saw some freshmen playing and invited them to come play with us and now they come to Doc with us quite often.”
Jud said, “He loves the game so much that it’s infectious. I’ve never seen a more devoted fan, to mainly Barcelona. It’s crazy, just seeing how much he loves Barcelona.”