A junior business analytics major from Manchester England, Ryan Shields, has been a part of the Manhattan College Men’s Soccer team since his start at MC in 2015. Shields, #7, played Mid Field alongside his teammates for three seasons. He is intended to graduate in January 2019 and thinks his team has what it takes to make it far in the MAAC championships.
The Quadrangle: How did you get involved with soccer?
Ryan Shields: I’ve been playing soccer since I was 7 or 8 years old so about 12 to 13 years. I am from a family with a sporting background, my dad played an awful lot soccer and from there I started playing for fun and progressed and played through high school so it started becoming more and more serious. I never envisioned coming to the states at all so it was completely new but it was a really good opportunity at the time and I had to take it.
TQ: What made you decide to come to Manhattan College?
RS: It’s funny actually, a guy I used to play with back home knew the coach here and came a semester earlier than I did and put my name forward and when I spoke to the coach directly he helped me come over and get my visa.
TQ: What was the transition from England to the United States like?
RS: It was pretty difficult actually at first. Obviously, I’ve never been that far away from home so to come that far for such a long period of time it was a big commitment but having said that ever since that it has been better and better every time I have come back, it’s gotten more and more like coming back home which is brilliant. Soccer helped in terms of being a part of something. Like being a part of a team and a group of people sort of gives you something socially I think to go and meet other people and know people in your classes in the respect certainly helped and I think the fact that people take an interest in you when you are part of a sport certainly helped integrating myself in so it’s been all positive.
TQ: What are the practices like?
RS: Practices are pretty tough depending on the work load and how many games we are having. We train two hours normally in the morning 9-11 and we have gym sessions on top of that and video analysis sessions and meetings etc so for the most part they are really enjoyable. I enjoy them because they are beneficial and productive for us so I can’t complain too much on them.
TQ: How would you describe your relationship with soccer?
RS: I have a Love-Hate relationship with soccer if I can say anything, I always try to stay positive with it and try to enjoy it as much as I can but having said that, it is a lot of time and effort so trying to get the balance right, that’s the difficult part. I try to do my best and leave it all on the field I never want to be regretting anything so I try to just do my best and whatever happens I forget about it and move onto the next after that.
TQ: How do you balance work, school, and soccer?
RS: I just try to stay as organized as I can and just plan out my day and try to write it all down so it doesn’t get too overwhelming so that way I can just box things up and cross them off one step at a time and to be honest the academics hasn’t been too overwhelming as much as it might have been initially and over the past few years I’ve been able to manage that better and better. I try to work the best I can on campus and fit it around my academics and soccer. When I had time over the summer I had been going around and just trying to work locally. This summer I interned at an engineering firm just helping out with the finances and the business intelligence side of it so that was really good and something meaningful to put on my resume which always helps. I’ve been working at the fitness center in Kelly commons and last semester I worked in the athletics department helping out with the other sporting teams. Anything fitness or sport related I enjoy doing.
TQ: Who are your role models?
RS: My dad is a big inspiration for everything I do but besides from that I have some sporting idols but I’d say my day is a role model to myself and helps make a lot of my decisions and gives me a lot of wise words from his experience.
TQ: What are your plans for after college?
RS: I’ve always wanted to set up something on my own, I don’t quite know what I want to specialize in yet but I can definitely see myself creating something and hopefully building something and I think especially straight out of college would probably be the best time to do it when I am young and I don’t have a lot of obligations so that’s definitely the way I want to head. But having said that I think I’d be open to any sort of opportunity I get particularly to working in the city if I ever got the chance.