Sept. 21, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A 2001 graduate of LaSalle High School in Milwaukie, Oregon, Ryan played middle back for coaches Chris Thurley and Matt Baasten. He led his team to four league championships, three state finals appearances, and two Oregon State High School Championships.
Ryan earned first team all-league honors during all four years of high school, second team All-State honors during his freshman campaign, and first team honors in each of his final three years at LaSalle. He was named league player of the year during his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, earning three consecutive adidas All-America honor. He also was named a Parade Magazine All-American and Defender of the Year on March 11, 2001.
In addition to all of that, Ryan was a starting defender of the men's U-18 National Team, and was selected to participate in the U-20 National Team's final training camp of 2000. He was the only player to appear in all 19 matches for the U-18 team last year and played all 90 minutes on the U-18 team that battled to a tie against the U-20 National Team at the U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival in the summer of 2000.
After all he has accomplished on the high school and Junior National level, Ryan now moves into the realm of collegiate soccer at Santa Clara. Thus far in his collegiate career he has yet to miss a single minute of action. We sat down with Ryan to get his thoughts on his first month as a collegiate player.
Q: How has your first month as a collegiate player gone?
A: "It's going good. The college game is a lot different from what I am used to. Our team plays more along the likes of an English style long-ball game and I am used to playing more of a possession style of game. Obviously the guys are a lot more physical. Coming out of high school where some players were a little tentative, but here there is no room for that."
Q: What has been your biggest adjustment thus far?
A: "The single biggest adjustment for me has just been the style of play. The guys here are a lot bigger and stronger. A lot of them depend more on their athletic ability and size, so it is a big adjustment to get used being as how I am not one of the biggest guys out there. I just have to keep plugging away, get in the weight room and I will eventually get there."
Q: How do you think the international experience you have accumulated with the U.S. Junior National Teams prepared you for this level of competition?
A: "I can bring a lot from those experiences, especially in tough situations. As part of the U.S. National Team we played Portugal in tough conditions in the finals of the Portuguese tournament where we were down 1-0 at halftime and rallied to come back and win the tournament. I think that I can bring a lot of consistency from my experiences. I am not a flashy player by any means, but I am one of those players can be consistent and relied upon for that."
Q: Who is the one person you most admire?
A: "By far, Michael Jordan. He is my idol. Just the way he carries himself on and off the court. He loves the game the way I love soccer. I would love to see him come back."
Q: What kind of goals have you set for yourself in your freshman season?
A: "I think my biggest goal is to help my team win an NCAA Championship. To do that we need to produce good wins by beating tough teams. I would also love to finish first in the WCC. For me personally, I would like to add my abilities into the team and have it mesh well. To bring something new to the team everyday, just getting in there, hanging tough and rolling with the punches."
Q: Who would you consider your best friend on the team and why?
A: "I don't know if I have a best friend yet. I like all of the guys. One of the older guys that I like and admire is Stewy (Jeff Stewart). Just because that on and off the field he is by far the most consistent player and he has a lot of pieces to his game that I would love to have. I will definitely look up to him this year. Also, I am rooming with Steve Cronin who I played with on the National team so I have to say him or he would probably punch me. Then there is Zach Knight who is just the funniest guy I have met."
Q: What is your favorite soccer memory?
A: "It was actually this year. My club team was playing in the state cup finals and my Grandpa came to the game because I asked him to despite the fact that he is not a big soccer fan. Right before the game he came up to me and told me to score a goal, and when I do, to point at him. I told him that since I was a defender that I don't usually score goals but I would try to that day. I ended up scoring on a header and I pointed to him. He looked so happy when I did that. So by far, that is my favorite soccer moment so far."