Playing internationally is one of the biggest honors that a player can achieve in their career.
North County Battalion head coach Ryan Guy knows that all too well, having starred for the Guam National Team on a regular basis.
According to Guy, playing for Guam has been an amazing experience, one that has taken him around the world.
“Football is a common language around the world, one that brings people together in a time when so much is made of financial, social, political, and racial differences. Never has that fact been so clear than on my travels with the Guam National Team. As an example, to be an American greeted as an honored guest in the heart of Tehran, Iran simply because I play a game that is mutually understood, appreciated, and respected demonstrates both the power and responsibility that this game encapsulates.”
But playing for a national team is just one small piece of Guy’s career as the University of San Diego grad has also played in Ireland, in MLS, and even here in the NPSL.
He was drafted by FC Dallas in the second round of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, but chose to pursue opportunities in Europe. He would go on to sign with Irish side St. Patrick’s Athletic, spending four seasons with the Saints. He made 139 appearances with the club, scoring 25 goals in the process. Perhaps his most important goal came against Latvia’s JKF Olimps during the first qualifying round of the 2008 UEFA Cup. This happened to be St. Patrick’s first ever-away goal in Europe, a major moment for the club and a highlight for Guy’s career abroad.
But his biggest highlight has to be playing for the Airtricity League of Ireland’s Best XI against Manchester United in the first-ever game at the new Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. It was a dream come true for Guy and a major moment for Irish football supporters.
When Guy did choose to return to the U.S., he spent three seasons with the New England Revolution. He would play in 45 matches, logging four goals and over 3000 minutes of play.
Guy also played in the NPSL with Warren Barton’s San Diego Flash. Barton just happens to be involved with North County and Guy is very excited to be working with the global soccer icon once again.
“I have the utmost respect and gratitude toward that man. Having someone who is so experienced and well-positioned in the game is extremely important to any club. To have Warren involved is a huge plus for the NC Battalion.”
Guy’s playing experience is impressive and so are his coaching credentials as he is widely regarded as one of the top young coaches in the region. Over the years he has served as an assistant coach in a number of youth academies with the pro clubs he played for. Today he is an Assistant Director of Coaching at San Diego Surf Soccer Club, one of the top youth clubs in the entire country. Guy is the head coach for three teams there and an assistant for two others.
As you can see hiring Guy was an easy decision for Battalion owner Jason Barbato.
“He is a natural leader and has the respect of his peers, both players and coaches. We saw an immediate impact throughout our organization when Ryan was named as the head coach. There was a growing confidence in what the Battalion is building upon and towards.”
Being a head coach at such a high level was an exciting prospect for Guy, one that he is eagerly looking forward to.
“Taking on the position of head coach is a privilege and responsibility that I don’t take lightly. Helping to build a professional club is no easy task, but I look forward to doing my part, which is facilitating and developing an on-field style that our fans and community can be proud of.
Success, and by that I mean wins, plays a large role in the growth of a club as well, and so I feel a positive pressure to help my team achieve victories. Coaching at this level is a new endeavor for me, but one that excites me every time I step on the pitch.”
Building a team from scratch is no easy task, but Guy is certainly up to the challenge. He is preparing his team for a grueling schedule that will put the Battalion up against fellow expansion sides and teams that have been part of the league for years.
“I expect the conference to be tough with our strongest competition coming from the also newly formed Albion SC Pros. The Western Conference should mimic that with stout competition running all the way up the coast. I plan on taking the season one match at a time and letting our hard work and talent on the pitch dictate our position in the NPSL.”
Considering the success Guy has experienced in his career, it’s not surprising that he has set some significant goals for the season ahead.
“Managing a team of men who have families and careers in addition to their commitments to our team is very much about relationships and squad depth. I believe our team has the depth, and we are working hard to develop the relationships necessary to be able to adapt and thrive when dramatic lineup variations must occur. Our on-field expectations are lofty, but our goal is to win our conference and to get deep in to a playoff run, if not win the championship.”
Winning in the NPSL is just one piece of the puzzle as Guy has big plans for the San Diego soccer market. He is working tirelessly with Barton, Barbato, and the entire Battalion organization to make San Diego into one of the biggest soccer cities in all of North America.
“San Diego is a largely untapped market, one that is aching for a fully professional outdoor franchise whose branding caters to the multiple demographics that the city has to offer. I think it’s only a matter of time before the city and a strong ownership group with world-class branding comes together to make it happen.”
If the Battalion’s early success on and off the field is any indication, the team has a very bright future. And much of the credit goes to Ryan Guy, a globetrotting soccer star that has given the team a strong foundation.