The Lakewood Ranch senior talks his goaltending skills other than shot-stopping, and his favorite food
Ryan Freeman is a senior goaltender on the Lakewood Ranch High boys soccer team. Freeman had a shutout in the Mustangs' 1-0 home regional semifinal win against Wiregrass Ranch High. It was Freeman's 11th shutout of the season in 19 starts.
When did you start playing soccer?
Probably at 4. As long as I can remember, really, I have been playing. My brother (Lakewood Ranch senior midfielder Travis Freeman) and I played all different sports growing up, like baseball and basketball, but soccer was the family sport.
What is the appeal to you?
When I started playing goaltender full time at age 12, I discovered I liked making saves and helping my team in that way, as opposed to the other sports. I like the team aspect as well, it's not an individually dominated sport.
What is your best skill?
I consider myself a well-rounded goaltender. Obviously, shot-stopping is what people notice, but I also can distribute the ball to my teammates quickly, with my hands or my feet, and play the ball in the air on crosses and high balls.
What is your favorite memory?
The state championship game run in 2016-2017, even though that game did not go our way. I was thankful to be the only sophomore starter in that game, and we made a great run at it.
How does this year's team compare to the 2016-2017 team?
They are pretty different. We have some carryover players, but overall we are much younger and less experienced now. Back then, it felt like we were favored every game. This year, we are more of the underdogs. It has been about us coming together and bonding. Guys are stepping up to the challenge.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Getting over the state title game loss (1-0). It was the biggest stage to lose on. I have the goal saved on my phone. I used to watch it, trying to figure out what I could have done. I have watched it enough that I have it more or less memorized. If I make that save, or if the referees do not give Ricky (Yanez, former Mustang forward) a red card, who knows what happens. I have moved on from it now though, it does not haunt me anymore. I am happy to be the guy in net and thankful I have another opportunity.
What is your favorite food?
Chicken parmesan. I will eat it with pasta or as sandwich, it does not matter.
What is your dream vacation?
I would love to go to a World Cup in a different country. That is my No. 1 goal.
What is your biggest fear?
I do not have a specific fear. I try not to think in that way. I believe if you overly think about something that can go wrong, that thing will happen. You need to think positive. Your thoughts lead to outcomes.
Finish this sentence: "Ryan Freeman is ..."
... Thankful for my teammates, coaches and family. The people around me have shaped me. I am lucky to have the people I do.