The No. 3 UCSD women’s soccer team begins the postseason with the CCAA Soccer Championship on its own Triton Soccer Field. The defending CCAA champions have been led by several players this year, including Midfielder, Caitlin Ryan. The junior from Chula Vista recently took time to discuss the Soccer postseason and life as a student-athlete at UC San Diego.
Q- How do you feel this 2006 soccer team measures up to some of the past UCSD soccer teams you have been a part of?
RYAN- This year we have a lot of experience on the field. We have a strong senior class and about 10 juniors. As freshmen we were all very naïve taking for granted how quick seasons can end and how seasons fly by. Plus there were so many freshmen my incoming year that we outnumbered and overwhelmed the upper classmen. It has taken some time for us to mature into players who can be counted on to bring the right attitude to every game.
Q- Has practice changed at all with the upcoming CCAA tournament and the NCAA championships?
RYAN- I think the team understands that any game from here on out is make it or break it time which makes practice a bit more exciting. Everyone on the team is buzzing with anticipation for the upcoming game against Humboldt and it shows in practice.
Q- What are some of the things you enjoy doing away from the soccer field?
RYAN- I love riding my bike and hiking.
Q- Who on the team has a particular skill you would like to have?
RYAN- I’m going to change this question up a little and just make a wish list of skills. First, I would wish for Sugg’s presence in the air. I have problems with getting my feet to leave the ground. Second, I would wish for Chelsea’s shot because she can hit a ball from 35 yards out on the run and it’s just amazing to see. Third, I would want Kathy’s speed because in my opinion she is the fastest player in D2 soccer. Last, would be Dickey’s determination and resilience to come back from any injury.
Q- What would you like to do with your Anthropology major?
RYAN- Ideally I want to become an Archaeologist. I’ve always had a fascination for religion so maybe study something in those two fields. Also, my dad was a deep sea diver in the Navy so sunken boats has always interested me so maybe something in underwater archaeology.
Q- How has head coach Brian McManus helped you as a player?
RYAN- Brian is a rare coach who is able to dig out the best in those who come to play for him.
I’ve known Brian for 6 or 7 years playing on his club team Nomads. He was the first coach to call me on my laziness, harping on my bad attitude. My wake up call came when he told me that he wanted me to come to his school and play for him again. It was funny because I was not really thinking about playing soccer in college. The coaches I managed to talk with at other schools seemed uninterested. So, the best thing he has done for me is kept me from hanging up my cleats.
Q- What part of your game has improved this year?
RYAN- Well this year I seem to be playing positions that I never would have thought I would be playing. First couple years I was a forward with no speed and now I’m a sweeper still with no speed. I think I’ve improved in my communicating on the field even if what I say is totally random and sometimes very high-pitched.
Q- What factors played a part in your decision to attend UCSD?
RYAN- Basically, Brian told me I was going to come to UCSD to play for him. Of course it is one of the top schools in the nation with the coolest library on the planet which were some of the other enticements. However, I credit Brian with my decision to attend UCSD.
Q- Do you have any funny stories to share involving the soccer team this year?
RYAN- Well for the past couple years Brian has played these really entertaining jokes on the freshmen. One of the freshmen’s jobs is to bring the large water cooler out for practice and every year, like clockwork, they manage to spill it on the way to the field (this past year holds the record for two spills). Brian then begins to yell at them saying the ice is going to kill the grass and ruin our field. They begin to frantically scoop the huge ice pile off of the grass, this year even getting our goalie coach Vinny to help them.
Q- Do you have a favorite pre-game meal?
RYAN- Kathy makes pasta and meatballs or chicken.
Q- What other UCSD athletics teams do you enjoy watching?
RYAN- Women’s and Men’s Basketball have improved a lot over the years I have been here and I enjoy watching them play.
Q- How much of an advantage is it to play for the CCAA Championship on your home field?
RYAN- Hosting CCAA’s is a huge advantage especially with the rowdy Amanda and Kathy fan clubs that come to every home game. It will definitely add to the pace and intensity of the game. It’s exciting to play under the lights with supportive fans and parents. Hopefully, we can really put on an exciting show for all those who come to the game.