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Ryan Shasha is a integral part of the Valley Regional boys’ soccer team as a vice captain and left forward. Ryan also plays guard for the Warriors’ basketball squad and is a high jumper on the outdoor track team. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Shasha )
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Ryan Shasha epitomizes hard work by playing an array of sports at Valley Regional High School. Ryan is a member of the Warriors’ boys’ soccer, basketball, and outdoor track teams. This fall, the senior vice captain has seven goals to go with five assists on the soccer pitch.
Ryan helped Valley boys’ soccer qualify for the Class M State Tournament this season. He feels glad to have been a part of that journey, especially since the Warriors had to go up against so many formidable foes in the Shoreline Conference.
“It was pretty important to qualify for states this year. I think we have a tough conference. We didn’t make the Shoreline Tournament, which is a bit of a disappointment, but we’ve had more time to focus on states,” says Ryan. “Being in a strong conference, I think that kind of adversity against tough teams has prepared us well. We had a lot of ties and games we’ve come back from against these tough teams.”
One of Ryan’s best assets on the soccer field, basketball court, or the track is his speed. As the adage goes, speed never takes a day off. As a result, Ryan often gets up front at the forward position to try to score some goals for the Warriors.
“I usually play left forward, and I’ve pretty much been a forward as long as I can remember, probably because of my speed,” says Ryan, who lives in Chester. “I get most of my goals by chasing on long balls that were played to me or playing it by someone and running onto it, beating the last defender, and getting it on goal.”
This year, Ryan is taking on a bigger leadership role as a vice captain for the Warriors. Ryan leads the team alongside senior captain Cam Frazier.
“What I do as vice captain is similar to what Cam does as captain. On the field, I try to be supportive of my teammates and make sure that they are in the right position and making the right decisions,” Ryan says. “Coach wants us to be an extension of the coaching staff. You can’t call timeouts and talk to the coach like in basketball, so he needs us to be on the field as an extension of him.”
Ryan hones his leadership skills as a member of the Essex Boy Scout Troop 12. While competing in three varsity sports, Ryan is also planning to complete his Eagle Scout project. Ryan believes the process is giving him skills that he can take back to his teams.
“I want to try to get my Eagle Scout before my 18th birthday, which is May of next year. You have to get everyone involved in an Eagle Scout project,” says Ryan. “I think in Boy Scouts, when you get older, a big part is including younger members of the troop and teaching skills that older kids taught you and pass them on. In soccer, I just like to be encouraging to the younger players. Everyone on the varsity squad has something to offer. So, I want to make sure they’re in a position to succeed.”
Head Coach Mick Fearon appreciates all the ways that Ryan helps out his club. Fearon says that Ryan shows composure as leader and battles hard to make a positive impact on the field every day.
“Ryan’s a really good kid, and he’s well-rounded. He plays soccer, basketball, and track. A lot of times, kids get told that you have to stick to one sport, and they end up taking away from their other sports,” says Fearon. “Ryan started the season really strong, but he got hurt and had to take it easier. He battled to play in every game that he could.”
Earlier this year, Ryan finished first in the high jump for Valley track at the Class M State Championship by clearing a height of 6 feet. Ryan feels proud to have turned in such a notable performance on the big stage.
“Last spring in my junior year, I won states in high jump for the school. I won it outright, and my height was six feet,” says Ryan. “I had done it before at other meets and invitationals. At Shorelines, I only cleared 5 feet-8 inches. I was the first seed, and I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, but when I did it in states, it was a relief.”
Before big games or a state meet, Ryan makes sure that he gets in the right mindset to perform to his potential.
“Probably before a big game, I’m trying to calm down. You get nerves and stuff, but once I step on the field and warm up, I’m trying to get hyped up,” Ryan says. “I’ve played soccer my whole life, so it just comes natural. Basketball, I definitely want to calm down. Soccer is a fast-paced game, a lot of back and forth, so usually I’m trying to get excited.”
Ryan feels excited to be playing in the State Tournament with the soccer squad, but he’s also ready to get out on the basketball court. Ryan grew up watching some talented Valley basketball teams, and he thinks that the Warriors can have a great campaign this winter.
“When I was younger, especially in basketball, I grew up watching Jonathan Luster and the excitement in the gym. It’s the best feeling, being out on the court and the one everyone is watching now,” says Ryan. “Our goal is a state championship. We’re returning so many seniors, and we’re all getting bigger, faster, and stronger. We want to get back to states and go further than last year.”
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