The remarkable story of Eamon Zayed, from Leicester City Academy to Tehran City Derbies and beyond

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Not all players in the Leicester City Academy ends up in the first team, and that was what happened to Eamon Zayed. Once dreaming of a life in the Premier League and a career with The Foxes, but his release from the club made his life one fantastic journey.

Eamon spend two seasons with Leicester City, from 2000 to 2002, and was one overlooked by Peter Taylor and later Micky Adams, but the Dublin born moved on and his talent flourished elsewhere.

After his years with Leicester City were he featured in the U.18 and U.19 sides as well as the reserves, he returned to Ireland and signed for Bray Wanderers. At Bray he became a fans favorite scoring 54 goals in 105 league games.

He returned to England and had a short loan spell at Crewe, but that didn’t work out and then Aalesund in Norway decided to have a look, but both loans resulted in just one single appearance and he returned to Bray.

After a great run with Bray Wanderers, other Irish clubs became interested and he moved to Drogheda United, continued scoring goals. After two years he moved to Sporting Fingals, more goals flushed in.

Derry City was next stop, signing a one year deal back in 2011, helping the club to European Cup Qualification and ending as the league’s top goalscorer. Not really attracting clubs at the highest level in European football, but others noticed his talent.

By the time and after that season at Derry City he had scored 118 league goals and he was approached by Iranian club Persopolis and agreed to a 6 month contract, and what was what going to happen made him historical in many ways.

Not many Irish born players and former Leicester City academy men would be part of such monumental and historical event that was soon to happen. You would probably think it was impossible. But Eamon Zayed is the proof of it, big time. It all happened back in March 2012.

The well known Tehran derby between Persopolis and Esteghlai, was the game that really set the track and record for Eamon Zayed and made him historical in record books of football. Persopolis were 2-0 down and reduced to 10 men when Eamon entered the field.

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His incredible jump into the history books started in the 82nd minute of the game, scoring the 1-2 goal, just two minutes later he had found the net again, and two minutes into stoppage time he scored the winner, and with that final whistle signal, Persopolis had won the game 3-2.

Despite this remarkable hat-trick and scoring a total of 12 goals in his 21 appearances for Persopolis, the stay became short as his contract was cancelled and a move to a new Iranian club was decided.

Zayed returned to Ireland and Shamrock Rovers a few months later. He continued scoring and also had a short loan spell with Sligo Rovers before a new journey started, with a new travel out “in space”, this time to the far east and Malaysia.

Moving has been part of Eamon’s life and another short term deal made it possible to continue playing at a professional level. His new club Sabah were served with 11 new goals in 21 appearances, which again made it possible to see a new move happen.

From Malaysia, Zayed decides to jump at an opportunity to join Indy Eleven in the NASL. The club based in Indianapolis US, is the next step in a career now lasting 14 years since leaving Leicester City back in 2002.

As we speak and writes about this remarkable travel in football the journey man Eamon Zayed is still playing and has just signed a new deal with a new club this January, and at the age of 35, believed to hammer in more goals. Oh sorry, almost forgot to mention his stay at Charlotte Independence who EZ played for for a season.

If you have never heard of the club Cattanooga Red Wolves in the USL Soccer League, this is were you will find Eamon Zayed in the near future, hopefully adding to his tally of goals, which is incredible and amazing to read about.

His record in the Tehran derby will probably never be able to reach for another foreign player and he will for always be remembered in Persopolis.

We should not forget that he also is an international, playing at youth level for Ireland and deciding to play as an full international for Libya, because of his father being born in the country. Eamon Zayed has so far been capped eight times scoring one goal, seeing his last appearance back in 2015.

You could surely be amazed by Jamie Vardy’s life in football, and that story being told so many times, but this one of former Leicester City Academy player Eamon Zayed might be even more exotic and adventures.



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