Curran ready to play in North-South soccer game
by Erich Hilkert
PELL CITY—On an overcast Friday with occasional outbursts of rain, Ryan Curran refreshingly did his best to downplay his achievements. First, one of the school’s football coaches wondered if he had told everyone about making a 53-yard field goal at practice. He hadn’t. Then, Curran only mentioned being defensive player of the year for the soccer team; when pressed, he admits he was also given overall player of the year and that he is the first Pell City selection to the North-South squad for boys soccer.

“I didn’t think anything about it until coach [Jeff] Samoranski brought it up to me,” Curran explained. “It was hard to wrap my mind around it because I wasn’t expecting anything like that. It was cool. Individual honors at the end of the season—I’ve gotten those for defensive player of the year, but nothing to this level. It’s exciting.”

Pell City head coach Jeff Samoranski was pleased with Curran’s selection and has no doubt he will perform well.

“This is the first year for any boy to be on the All-Star team from Pell City,” Samoranski said. “Ryan plays as an attacking midfielder which really means that he is the one that, when the ball is coming from the defensive part, they will try to find him, and he is the one who distributes the ball generally to the forwards or the other midfielders out wide. So, his mind is set as the attacker. He plays in the middle of the field, also side to side but diagonal more than anything else. He plays club soccer at Vestavia Hills soccer club. He’s a quality player, has lots of experience. I believe he will be one of the starters on the All-Star team. I think he’s going to do an excellent job. He plays with a lot of people that are on the All-Star team; he knows them from his club team. I think it will be very good for him.”

According to Curran, he started playing soccer at four years old, and as Samoranski alluded to, has previously played club soccer in Vestavia Hills. His older brother Will Curran was a standout player at Pell City for four years on the varsity team before playing soccer at Delta State in Cleveland, Miss. Ryan Curran credited his older brother with being a positive influence on him.

“I always try to be better than him, and he tries to be better than me,” he said. “I just learned from him because he played in college for three years. He pushes and he motivates in his own way. He always tries to help by giving tips in what he has been through.”

Will Curran played the defender position, which was Ryan’s initial position.

“I’ve had to develop for certain positions, but defense is where I started,” Ryan said. “I started learning how to move forward more and midfield just naturally took over.”

The past season Ryan played attacking midfielder for the Panthers, a good fit given his penchant for being able to cross the ball well.

One of Ryan’s favorite aspects of the game is trying to read his opponents.

“It’s easy for me to process what’s going on, to predict what’s going to happen,” Ryan said. “It’s kind of a helpful tool. Some people can be predictable on the ball and that helps out if you can read that, just being able to read the play.”

Samoranski noted this will be a strong opportunity for Ryan to perform in front of a host of college coaches.

“A lot of coaches from the colleges do go to the All-Star game because those players are the ones selected because they are the one or two best players from their team,” Samoranski said. “It gives the college coaches an opportunity to look to see who are really the better high school soccer players and how do they play against really good soccer players at a high school. So, it’s quite likely that some of these juniors have an opportunity for them to be seen by college coaches and possibly be invited to go to their camps, and it could lead to being able to play college soccer.”

Ryan said playing sports at the college level, whether it is kicking field goals or kicking a soccer ball, has long been a dream and he would be pleased if he received any attention from playing in the North-South game.

“I always wanted to play college sports no matter what, and I still have that desire,” Ryan said. “If something happens here, it would be great.”

Ryan is forthcoming when it comes to how he will feel prior to the North-South game.

“Everyone’s nervous before a game,” he said. “That’s how it always is no matter what, but I’m always confident about it. Pregame: I’m just calm, quiet; I don’t talk much. I goof off. I can’t be serious about anything; otherwise, I’ll get too dragged into it, and I end up not playing my best. That’s all I try to give out on the field; that’s all anyone can try to give.”

© 2013