In this episode of “Getting To Know You,” we highlight Utica City FC Coach Ryan Hall. Hall is no stranger to soccer in Central New York. From 1999-2002, he played college soccer at Syracuse University. After college, Ryan played outdoor soccer with the Syracuse Salty Dogs, as well as the Rochester Rhinos. In his professional indoor career, he has played with the Cleveland Force, Chicago Storm, California Cougars, New Jersey Ironmen, and most recently with the Syracuse Silver Knights. In the 2016-17 season, he took over for interim coach Bryan O’Quinn halfway through the season. The next season he led the Silver Knights to their best record in franchise history at 13-9, and in the process became a finalist for MASL Coach Of The Year.
Name: Ryan Hall
Hometown: Great Falls, Virginia
What made you start playing soccer?
My parents put me in soccer, among other sports, at a young age to tire me out. Apparently I had a lot of energy.
Growing up, who were your favorite players?
I was a big Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes fan. These two were never the “flashy player” with all the tricks but through pure grit, hard work, and determination they became two of the best players to ever wear a Manchester United uniform. They were by far the biggest influences on me growing up.
Do you have a favorite team, besides Utica City FC?
I am a fan of the sport in general. There isn’t one particular team I follow more than others but I enjoy watching teams from all over the world and then comparing/contrasting the different styles and philosophies from across the globe.
Who was the most difficult player to play against in your indoor career?
A few players come to mind. Two players that I was fortunate enough to call teammates but were some of the most difficult players because I had to train against them everyday were Hector Marinaro and Zoran Karic. I learned everything by just watching, training with, and battling against those two every day. In terms of opponents, two names come to mind that were a nightmare to defend: Donnie D’Ambra and Todd Dusosky. Both players were very strong, physical, and very skillful. You always had to bring your “A” game when playing against those two.
Fill in the blank: To be successful in the MASL, you must be _______.
Physical, skillful, and have the ability to learn on the fly. Indoor is a unique game as it is very methodical but at the same time gives players the ability to be creative and improvise on fly.
When you’re not playing soccer, what do you do in your spare time?
I actually don’t have much free time being that I have a typical 9-to-5 job, coaching UCFC, youth soccer, and running futsal leagues in Syracuse. If I do find some free time, I am usually catching up on sleep.
GM Tommy Tanner coached you as a member of the Syracuse Silver Knights. When you took over as coach, did he give you any advice?
Tommy has been and continues to be a great influence to me. Even though he has now moved more into the front office, we still work closely together with both UCFC and SDA (youth club).
As I write up this article, a funny story about Ryan popped into my head. During the 2016-2017 season, Ryan had just become the head coach of the Silver Knights, and before one of the matches, I was about to enter the War Memorial Arena, but noticed several cars were parked illegally outside. A familiar face came out and started moving these cars. That face was Ryan Hall. Not only is he the head coach of your Utica City FC soccer team, he is also a professional valet driver.
I want to thank Ryan for taking the time out to answer some of these questions!