Natalie Cracraft, Guest Writer
Anticipating the outcome of the game, a college soccer star faces the adrenaline rush head on. It was two minutes before the time was called. As he turned to look, the scoreboard showed a tied score. Two obstacles lay in front of him, with a decision that had to be made in a split second.
Without thinking, he quickly lunged to the right, then bounced back to the left. As the ball moved swiftly between his feet, he ran as fast as he could towards the opponent’s goal. He had one shot, this was it. With high adrenaline and cheers from the crowd, he kicked the ball as hard as he could. It flew through the air, past the goalie, into the corner of the net. This was a battle that only one team would win, and he did it. He won the game.
Patrick Ries, junior, business has been playing soccer his whole life. Ever since he was four years old, Ries has devoted his time and dedication to the game. “The beauty of the game itself is what I enjoy most. While I’m playing, I just love to compete and win. I knew I had a talent and loved to express that. But what I enjoy most is the art when you watch it. I love seeing the tricks, vision, passion, etc. of the players while they are playing the game on any level. I primarily and truly appreciate the game when I watch it at the professional level, but at any level, the game is still beautiful,” said Ries.
Ries started his college soccer career at a junior college, then transferred to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to continue his education and passion for soccer. For many reasons, Ries chose UMSL to continue his soccer career. Reis was attracted to UMSL by the coaching staff and legacy of the soccer program. Ries has many strengths when it comes to soccer, but because of his speed, agility and determination to score, he is the striker for his team. In this position, Ries truly thrives.
Every athlete has their struggles, but over the years Ries has adapted well. “Because I commute from home (roughly 45 minutes), the days are very long. Early classes, some downtime to do homework and study, then off to practice for roughly two-and-a-half hours. On the weekends, we may be out of town, so you must be disciplined to get homework done, along with performing at your best for the team,” Ries said.
Between the traveling, weekly games and practices, Ries has very little downtime. “Over the semester my weeks are long and draining. The biggest challenge that I am faced with is getting all my homework finished and done on time. However, life is full of obstacles, but with the help and support from family and friends I can tackle these challenges one day at a time,” Ries continued.
When the love for the game is not enough for him to keep playing, his teammates are. “We all have that love and bond for each other that a team should always have. We all share the same interests and passion for the game, and I think that’s what makes us all so close. At times, people butt heads, but at the end of the day, it’s all love,” said Ries. Throughout the years, Ries has made friendships that will last a lifetime.
According to Ries, “When I reflect back over the years and reminisce on all the games, trips, teammates and coaches, I realize why I love the game so much. All my experiences have led me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” Ries plans to continue his soccer career at UMSL for the next two years, while tackling challenges and becoming the best player he can be.