Ryan Moore has taken a circuitous path from his birthplace in Keene, New Hampshire to St. Louis, but we’re sure glad he got here. The 23 year-old midfielder’s cross into the box in Portland last Saturday night was a key ingredient in Mike Ambersley’s game-tying goal, which allowed AC St. Louis to leave with their first road point of the 2010 season.
Ryan attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, near the Canadian border, after graduating Keene High School. He chose St. Lawrence because “St. Lawrence had the best soccer out of all the schools that were recruiting me. I was recruited by some Division I schools, but all of them kind of played boom ball or kick and run soccer and I was looking for a team that would keep the ball and play a bit more, and St. Lawrence had that. Memorable experiences included beating Rochester in the NCAA tournament my freshman year when they were ranked 3rd in the country, and being from New York as well, we had a rivalry with them and it was a great feeling to pull off the upset. My senior year we knocked out MIT in the first round of the NCAA tournament — it was great to be better than those smart kids at something.”
Ryan earned many honors while at St. Lawrence, including being named to the NSCAA/Adidas All Regional Team, the All-Liberty League first team, the Lotto Classic All Tournament team and the Liberty League All Tournament team as a senior. He also played for Queen City in the National Premier Soccer League and the New Hampshire Phantoms of the PDL. His most unique experience, however, came as an exchange student during his last semester. “St. Lawrence has run a Kenya semester exchange program for over thirty years now. I found out about the program on my recruiting trip and was so intrigued that I promised myself that I would be a part of it before I graduated. I was originally going during my junior spring semester, but post-election violence in Kenya cancelled that possibility so I ended up going after finishing my senior season. I had aspirations to play professionally after graduating, so while in Kenya I sought out a professional team to train with. It turned out that the organization I was interning with, the Mathare Youth Sports Association, had a professional team as part of their organization. Mathare is one of the poorest parts of Nairobi, and MYSA uses soccer as a way to teach poor youths life skills as well as being a safe haven from many of the struggles they experience in their environment. I trained with Mathare United, who play in the Kenyan Premier League. The majority of the team’s players grew up in the slums of Mathare and played for MYSA youth clubs. It was great to play with these talented players, especially knowing where they came from and everything they had to overcome to get to Mathare United.”
Next stop St. Louis, right? Not quite. After returning from Kenya, Ryan trialed with RRFC Montegnee in Liege, Belgium. “I spent October through December training in Belgium, but during Christmas break I decided not to return but instead set a new goal of signing with a professional team in the United States, ” he said. ” I saw on the internet that AC St. Louis was holding open tryouts. I thought, what do I have to lose, so I flew down from New Hampshire to see if I was good enough. From open tryouts I got the opportunity to go through the invitational tryouts, and was offered a contract.”
Ryan is enjoying life in St. Louis. “My teammate Troy Cole and I are currently staying with our second home-stay family. We were originally living with the Hoermans in Edwardsville. They are an amazing family and treated us so well, but unfortunately we were really far from training and wanted to be closer,” Ryan continued. “We now live in Fenton with the Reis family, who have been fantastic as well. Both families really took us in and made us part of their families. I cannot say enough good things about both the Hoerman and the Reis families. You can catch both cheering us on at all our home games.”
Ryan himself cheers for Liverpool, and particularily admired former Merseyside star Xabi Alonso. Ryan commented that ” in my mind, his departure from Liverpool is the number one reason Liverpool struggled so much this season. His passing range and accuracy are unbelievable.” In his free time, Ryan enjoys movies, a favorite being “Fight Club,” and Ryan listens to alternative music and, as far as food goes, he isn’t picky and enjoys any activity that involves food. My kind of guy.
So what has it been like, playing for AC St. Louis? “I was pretty nervous in our first game against Carolina,” Ryan admitted, “but nonetheless, it was a great experience to get that first game under my belt. The win against Crystal Palace Baltimore was a great feeling of weight being lifted off our shoulders. To sell out for our first home game and not deliver the win for the fans hurt all of us players, so we really wanted to get it right in our second home match. The win also gave us the confidence to move forward and continue to improve and believe that we can compete with any team in the league.”
Finally, I asked Ryan how he felt about the fan support for AC St. Louis. “St. Louis has been great, my teammates are top-notch, the fans that I have spoken to are enthusiastic and friends of both of my host families have been so cool. The fan support has impressed me, more specifically the level of passion from the fans, with this being our first season and all. It’s fantastic how closely the Fanatic fan group follows the players and the club. If the fan and player relationship continues to grow, which I know it will, I’m sure together we will make the results follow.”
St. Louisans aren’t the only fans following Ryan’s progress. ” What Ryan is doing is amazing.” said Tom Zaluki, who coached Moore at Keene High. “If you know anything about U.S. soccer, you know that St. Louis is crazy about soccer and to get a chance to play there is great. Ryan has really worked hard to reach this level.” That quote is from Ryan’s hometown Keene Sentinel newspaper. Good to know the folks back home are paying attention.
So are we. And we noticed that it was Ryan’s hustle late in last Saturday’s Portland game, running down the right flank to take in a long pass from Jack Traynor, that contributed to Mike Ambersley’s clutch goal in the dying seconds of the match. Ryan Moore’s journey to St. Louis from New England via Kenya and Belgium has covered thousands of miles, but we’re glad he made it here.
A shout out to Ryan’s parents, Mr. and Mrs Tom Moore, who travelled from New Hampshire to AB Soccer Park to see Ryan play. I had the pleasure of meeting them at the home opener — great people, like all the players’ parents I have had the privilege of meeting. GO AC !!!!