Native college soccer player hopes to inspire youth

FRUITLAND, N.M.

Submitted | Ryan Chaney, 18, from Tracy, Calif., plays for the California State University-Stanislaus men's soccer team. He is Navajo and Hopi and a freshman on the team that qualified for the 2015 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championship. They ended their season in the first round last week when California State University-Los Angeles defeated them in penalty kicks 3-0, after a 1-1 tied game.

Submitted |
Ryan Chaney, 18, from Tracy, Calif., plays for the California State University-Stanislaus men’s soccer team. He is Navajo and Hopi and a freshman on the team that qualified for the 2015 NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship. They ended their season in the first round last week when California State University-Los Angeles defeated them in penalty kicks 3-0, after a 1-1 tied game.

Ryan Chaney could never imagine his life without soccer.

He fell in love with the sport after he first stepped onto a field at the age of four, and again when he was about 10 years old, and again in high school when he started to think about his future.

He decided that playing competitive soccer had to last beyond his high school career; he wanted to go all the way.

“I grew up playing it since I was four. Having the love for soccer has always been there,” Chaney said. “I think it was coming down to the point where after high school, I knew I wanted to play soccer for so long that after high school it had to continue…time was what pushed me to strive for that goal to play college soccer.”

As an 18-year-old freshman at California State University-Stanislaus in Northern California, a Division II school, Chaney has lived out his goal and exceeded it by playing in the NCAA 2015 Division II Men’s Soccer Championship on Nov. 13.

His team played California State University-Los Angeles in the first round and was defeated in penalty kicks 3-0, after the game ended in 1-1 tie. They finished their season in the first round.

It was a dream that just about every college soccer player dreams of, and one that Chaney worked toward.

“I was always one, ever since I was little, to go out there and do my best, and never let up to what my task is,” he said. “It was a very successful season, not only because of playing time (I got) but because of how far we made it and the accomplishment that I made.”

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Categories: Soccer

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com.