Sports

Ryan Clark Continues to Receive Awards and Recognition

ryan clark awards and recognitionShore Conference Player of the Year, First Team All-American two years in a row, and NSCAA/Adidas North Atlantic Region First Team Honors are only a few of the titles that can be added to soccer star, Ryan Clarks’, list of achievements. Being named player of the year by bigapplesoccer.com is just one more major accomplishment this junior can add to the list.

The Freehold native first started his soccer career at the age of three when he played for a recreational soccer team coached by his mother. Being the first one in his family to play soccer, Clark tried every sport before he made the decision to give up every-thing else.

“I’ve played everything,” explained Clark, “I gave it all up before high school to just focus on soccer.” And it’s a good thing he did because once he reached high school Clark was be-coming more recognized in the soccer community. He was named Player of the Year, First Team All-State, and All Region Player with 11 goals and 15 assists in his senior year.

Clark never imagined that his soccer career would have brought him to where he is today. “I’ll play through high school,” stated Clark. “But then people started telling me I could go pro.” When deciding what University to play for, Clark really connected with the coaches here and the direction that they were heading in.

As a freshman, Clark started all 20 matches that he appeared in and landed himself on College Soccer News’ top 100 Freshmen from Coast to Coast to Keep an Eye on. He ranked second on the team with six goals and 17 points, which tied him for fourth in the league. Once his sophomore year came around, he only continued to improve, contributing more and more to the team.

Although Clark plays midfield he still recognizes the meaning of ‘team,’ and what it means to work together in order to win. “I couldn’t have gotten anywhere without my team,” expressed Clark. “You’re not going to receive any awards if you don’t win.” With a mentality like that, it is no wonder why the Universities soccer team has continued to be a strong and successful team.

After one of his most successful seasons thus far, it appears that he has put in his share of hard work and dedication Clark has put into his soccer career. Being named the player of the year is a huge accomplishment. “It’s pretty exciting,” Clark explained. “I worked really hard so it’s good to see that all my hard work pays off.”

Clark’s road to success starts bright and early at six in the morning when he wakes up to ensure that he can get his full workout in before practice and classes. With such strong dedication also comes many sacrifices. “I can sacrifice what I’m doing now to better my future,” are words that Clark lives by.

Looking up to professional soccer players Christian Renaldo and Zenadine Zenad, Clark hopes to one-day play at the professional level after graduation. His advice for anyone just starting out is to “take it seriously and then just go with it.”

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Athletics