Sunday, March 23, 2008

Philly Interviews: USA U-18 striker Ryan Finley

There is no better way to start off the new direction of a blog than by interviewing a potential future MLS Philadelphia player. Ryan Finley is a name that one might not know well now, but certainly will in the future. He is a United States Under-18 striker getting ready to make his mark in college and on a higher level and what makes him unique to this blog is the fact that he grew in the Philadelphia Metro area (South Jersey to be exact). With the US Youth Teams, he has traveled to and scored in Argentina, Northern Ireland (Ballymena Tournament), Japan (Toyota International Youth Championship), etc. and is also one of 40 to be brought into the US U-17 Residency program in 2006 along with the LA Galaxy's Isreal Sesay and FC Dallas' Abdi Ibrahim. Finley will most likely make a name for himself in the PDL this coming spring as he plans to possibly take the field for the South Jersey Barons along side former MLS Draft Pick and South Jersey native Byron Carmichael. Likened a bit to Brian McBride, Finley will be on his way into college at the end of the year, but has said - if the right pro opportunity comes around - he wouldn't be too opposed to taking it. Maybe one day his path will lead to the Chester waterfront...

How has your experience been within the South Jersey Barons organization? Are there any other Baron products that we should be looking out for in the near future?

My experience with the Barons was very good. I played Super Y with them in the summer [for] two years. Now that I am back home from residency I plan on playing PDL with them also. As for other players I have played with a defender named Kevin Davis for a couple years. He is a big strong defender with a big left foot. I would say he is one to keep an eye on.

How was your experience at the US Under-18 Mega-Camp in early February?

I always enjoy getting called into the National Camps. Anytime you can be around that caliber of players is a good thing. A lot of colleges attended also, so that was a plus. Anytime I can wear the crest is an honor.

Did you always expect the sport of soccer would take you this far? You've been to Argentina to play, to the Bradenton IMG Academy to work with the best of your age group, to France, to Japan, to Northern Ireland, etc. Which was the most memorable?

I didn't always think soccer would take me this far. I am from a small town and played for a home town club for most of my life. Once i started playing with the regional teams and National Teams I knew that international trips would come up. Since I was a little kid I've always wanted to play soccer. Getting invited into the Residency program at IMG was an honor. I will never forget the times I spent there. As for the international trips, it's always fun to go abroad but the most memorable would have to have been Northern Ireland. Playing Czech Republic [there], we were down 2-0 at halftime. Came back to win 3-2 and I scored the winner so that's always a memorable event.

All that traveling as got to take its toll? What's the toughest part?

Yeah, the traveling does take a toll. The toughest part has to be either the time difference or just getting your legs back after a long plane ride.

With all that said, what is your plan for the near future? College, go pro, any thoughts on the new MLS academies? If college, which ones are you looking at?

Plans for the near future are to play PDL in the summer and go to college next year. If a pro offer came about, I would have to consider. After college, I definitely want to play professionally. As for college - I'm looking at Duke, Ohio State, St. Johns, UCONN, and Notre Dame.

Who has been your most influential coach along the way during your young career?

There are a couple coaches who influenced my career. First, Dean Fink, my club team coach, since I was 9. Also, Byron Carmichael and Raul Diaz Arce. Carmichael and Diaz Arce have really helped me take my game to the next level. They have taught me so much about being a forward and really have elevated my game.

If you could have one player feed you a cross, who would it be?

Feed me a cross I would say [Cristiano] Ronaldo or maybe Beckham.

Do you feel South Jersey has been able to provide to you a place to become the soccer you player you are now? If not, what needs to be changed in the area?

I think South Jersey has helped me become the player I am now. New Jersey as a whole is a great state for soccer. I have been traveling to PDA (basically, New Jersey's FC Delco) lately to do some training. As for something that could change, most of the big clubs are up in North [Jersey] so maybe a big club of our own.

Being from Lumberton and Rancocas Valley, do you ever run into/have you played with Byron Carmichael?

I laughed when I saw this question. I train with Byron and play with him in the PDL. Byron and I will be playing up top together this summer. [Sidenote: Could end up being as prolific as the Ruben Mingo/Byron Carmichael pairing from a couple years ago].

Favorite team? Player?

Favorite team, don't laugh at this one, but I like Reading. One of the coaches from the Barons is from that area so I just started to like them. My friends make fun of me because they like Man Utd, Arsenal, and Chelsea and I like Reading.
Favorite player would be [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy. I like to think I play like him.

Is there a player you mold yourself after? A favorite USMNT player?

I try and mold myself after [Ruud[ Van Nistelrooy. He is always in the right spot and scores goals in bunches. Favorite USMNT player - former one - would be [Brian] McBride but as of the present I like [Clint] Dempsey.

If you were planning to move to play abroad, what league would most suit your style of play?

Playing abroad I would say maybe England or Germany. England is a lot of hustle and speed. Germany has a lot of big guys in the league.

What do you think are the U-23 squad's chances at the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics?

Anytime you have a Jozy [Altidore] and a Freddy [Adu] in a squad you always have a chance. They hit a couple of speed bumps in qualifying, but I like there chances in the Olympics.

Who do you pick for this upcoming season's MLS Championship?

This is a tough one. I'm going to be a little biased but I think Red Bull. It would be nice for a championship to come to this area.

What would you think of playing on the Chester Waterfront in a couple years for the new Philly MLS team?

I would love to play for them in front of all my friends and family. I was happy when I heard MLS was coming to Philly. It's nice to build up the game in this area.

What do you think the new team should be named?

The name? This is another tough one. I'm not really sure about this one.

Thank you for taking the time and good luck with everything in the future, Ryan. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of you.

1 comment:

Dorie said...

People should read this.