Sports Person of the Week
Silva’s Moving Forward for the Warriors
Senior Ryan Silva recently moved up to the attack for the Valley Regional boys’ soccer team and showed that he feels right at home at the forward position. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Silva)
Ryan Silva is taking on a new role with the Valley Regional boys’ soccer team by moving up from the midfield to the forward position this year. So far, the transition is working out pretty well for Ryan, who recorded a hat trick in the Warriors’ season-opening victory over Hale-Ray last week.
A senior, Ryan feels eager to see what his final season at Valley Regional will bring. While the midfield has traditionally been Ryan’s home on the pitch, he’s excited to be moving into the more aggressive left wing position.
“It was a great start. I got three goals and one assist in my first game as left winger. I couldn’t ask for much more than that,” says Ryan. “It was a transition that I wanted to make. I used to play more forward and left wing, but then I went back to the midfield and played that for a couple of years. I wanted to go back to there for this final season.”
While midfielders can certainly get involved in the attack, Ryan enjoys employing the purely offensive approach. Ryan tries to be crafty with the ball. He’s not out to get a shot on goal on all of his touches.
“As a left winger, I like to play smart. I like to quickly make a decision and play combinations with my midfielders or strikers and make runs behind the defenders. That’s where I can receive a ball through or have an opportunity to put a cross in and score,” Ryan says. “As a midfielder, one of my best qualities is my passing accuracy, close or long. I try to create as many opportunities as I can in the center to make scoring opportunities for the team.”
Ryan recently experienced one of the biggest thrills of his soccer career when he learned that a college was recruiting him to play at the next level.
“Getting my first college offer is my biggest achievement. It was a very big deal to me, because I’ve been playing for a long time, and I’ve worked so hard to become a better player,” says Ryan, an Essex resident. “Having a coach reach out to me saying that he wants me to play for his team and go to their college was such a great thing.”
Being a senior comes with added responsibilities since younger players often look up to the leaders on their squad for cues on how to conduct themselves. Ryan likes helping his teammates along their path of learning the game.
“I like to be a vocal presence on the field, trying to help direct the play, and I’m always trying to be a leader for my teammates,” Ryan says. “I’m always trying to stay positive to keep the team’s energy and morale up. That’s really important for our success.”
Ryan has become a more difficult player for opponents to deal with on the field as a result of the strength and size that he’s added the past two years. Ryan often makes time to hit the weights with the Warriors’ senior captain, Michael Brooks.
“I like to lift. I’ve been lifting for quite a few months now. I go with my friend Michael Brooks, the captain,” says Ryan. “We’ve both worked really hard over the summer, going almost every day, even going to lift after practice. It’s helped us both a lot physically on the field.”
Head Coach Mick Fearon is impressed with how Ryan progressed from a JV player into a varsity starter during his time with the Warriors.
“Ryan started off the first years as a junior varsity player. Between his sophomore and junior year, he really worked on fitness and improved in that sense. He became a starter as a junior, and he mostly played midfield. Graduating two forwards allowed us to push him as a forward,” Fearon says. “Ryan plays all year, so that helps him. He’s embraced playing as a forward. He’s going to come up against some good defenders, and he’s not afraid to shoot the ball at the net. It’s always good to have forwards willing to take shots.”
While getting three goals and an assist in his first game as a varsity attacker was an incredible feeling for Ryan, he’s even happier about the fact that Valley is playing any games at all this fall.
“It felt amazing to be on the field again. I enjoyed every second of playing that first game. It couldn’t have gone better for us as a team. We played really well. Our spirits are high after that,” says Ryan. “We’re looking for a great season, and we want to go all the way. Our players have been working hard in practice. We’re looking very strong as a team. I think we’ll get far this year, and we’ll have a lot of success this season.”