Release: September 1, 2010
Guy Who Gets It"
The central midfielder is often referred to as the engine of a soccer team. They are the player who often times covers the most ground during a game. Even though they are not among the most prolific goal scorers on a team, it is their play that often dictates the flow of a team's game. If all that is true, then the Binghamton Bearcats are in good hands with two-year starter junior Ryan Walter playing at that pivotal position.
Binghamton head coach Paul Marco watched Walter for several years during his high school career. He saw a feisty player with much potential.
"During his sophomore and junior year, we identified him as someone we thought had a big upside," Marco said. "We thought he would be a better college player than a high school player...even though he was a very good high school player coming out. We made him one of our number one targets and thought he was a guy who would not only wear a Bearcat kit but would help bring us to where we wanted to go."
Originally from Snyder, N.Y., Walter was a New York State Sports Writers Association (NYSSWA) third-team all-state selection his senior season at Nichols High School. It was during his final season that he came to Binghamton on a recruiting visit. After that visit, he had little doubt as to where he wanted to go to college.
"I came for the Homecoming game against Boston (in 2007) for my recruiting visit," he said. "I got to hang out with the guys afterwards. Right when I left, I knew I was coming here."
When Walter came to Binghamton in 2008, he made an impact right away. Even though Binghamton had seven seniors on the squad that year, Walter was named the starting central midfielder. At the conclusion of the season, he was selected to the America East All-Rookie Team.
"It was definitely a big adjustment from high school to college," he said. "The speed, strength and competitiveness were tougher. Luckily I adjusted pretty quickly."
Walter became a fan favorite at the Bearcats Sports Complex during his first career home game against Bucknell on Sept. 19, 2008. His gritty play and feistiness lead to a near confrontation by an opposing player. The next week when Walter walked around campus, people he had never met were approaching him.
"After the Bucknell game, people I didn't even know came up to me and said I should have fought him," he said. "I knew I couldn't have done that because (Coach) Marco would have tore my head off. It's a really cool feeling though when all of the fans know who you are."
Last season, despite missing several games with an injury, Walter was still named second-team all-conference. Heading into his junior season, TopSoccerDrawer.com has named him as one of its 20 best players in the America East Conference. Despite all of the honors, however, Walter sees room for improvement.
"I have been growing a lot since I have come here (in terms of being) soccer savy," he said. "I also feel like I still have a ways to go to be the player I want to be."
One area Walter does not need much improving in is with his school work. Last spring, he was inducted into the National College Athlete Honors Society after just three semesters in college.
"During the season, it is tough but you got to do the work," he said. "That is part of being a student-athlete. The whole environment of the men's soccer program (is geared towards) making sure you do well off the field as well as on the field."
Marco, for one, has the utmost respect for how Walter is balancing his athletics and academics.
"It's not a balancing
act for Ryan," Marco said. "He has it sorted. He is
not only walking a straight line, he is jogging or running. We
talk a lot about being someone who gets it. Ryan is a guy who
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