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Nardi prevails with Cal Strength, ready for SRV season

Za'Dorian Nardi picks off his first of two passes Saturday. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Za'Dorian Nardi picks off his first of two passes Saturday. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

San Ramon Valley junior cornerback Za’Darion Nardi is utilizing this unique – and longer – offseason to his advantage.

Whatever the situation is, whether that’s a delayed season, losing a football game or whatever else life throws his way, Nardi doesn’t complain or let what’s happening impact him in a negative light.

Instead, he’s thankful for it all.

“Just waking up knowing that God has blessed me with another day,” Nardi said. “And every day is not promised, so I just like to make the best out of every day and what I have.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world early last year and altered the lifestyle of everyone, Nardi found ways to make the most of the situation at hand and ready himself for the looming junior football season – even if it got delayed, like it has this season.

Nardi goes out to the track and works on his speed with some of his coaches. He also works with Cal Strength, whose football team he was a part of during the Winner Circle Athletics Champions League in Southern California.

“It’s definitely a mindste thing,” Nardi said. “With COVID, you’ve just got to keep pushing and not really worry about what’s going to happen, but more so as just getting better and whenever the time comes just being ready whenever it comes.”

Playing with Cal Strength, Nardi, his coaches and his teammates produced one of the best travel ball seasons during the six-week period.

Cal Strength went 5-1, with its only defeat coming in overtime by seven points. Two of the six games resulted in shutouts from the Cal Strength defense, while only one opponent scored more than seven points.

And Nardi played a key role in that, bringing in three interceptions – two of which came in one game when he earned West Coast Preps Athlete of the Week honors. 

“It showed me that I could really hang with anyone,” Nardi said. “There’s a lot of D1 commits and people with a lot of offers and five-star athletes out there. But it showed me that I can really just compete with anybody no matter what, and that doesn’t mean anything. You just have to show me what you got as a player.”

Nardi credits much of his success to those around him, those in his “support group” who helped elevate his game to new heights.

“My parents more so,” Nardi said. “They just believe in me no matter what I do, like any decision I make they’re with me 100%. And Joseph Mar at Cal Strength and Marcus Malu at Malu Fitness. And my 7-on-7 coaches, MLUYFI, a 7-on-7 team. They just help me improve each year and every offseason, like getting stronger, getting faster and making me a better player.”

With the remarkable season on Cal Strength’s team concluded for the recent travel football circuit, Nardi aims for a strong season at San Ramon Valley.

What Nardi hopes most for is the same camaraderie and success at SRV that he just endured with Cal Strength, adding to a San Ramon Valley program that most recently won a North Coast Section crown in 2018 and was an NCS quarterfinalist in 2019.

“My goal for myself is just to get better as a player,” Nardi said. “Just work on myself as an athlete, and I know my support group will help me with that 100%. And my goal at SRV is just to come together as a team like with the Cal Strength team and just perform at our best every game and show what we got.”

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