Pilot in the Spotlight: Ryan Kawulok

By The Beacon | August 31, 2011 9:00pm

By Kyle Cape-Lindelin Staff Writer capelind13@up.edu

Senior men's soccer captian Ryan Kawulok shares his experiences playing with the Pilots and the U-23 Portland Timbers Club Team

Q: How do you play with both the Portland Timbers U-23 club team and the Pilots?

A: During the summer everyone tries to get extra runs and practice in while the season is over. The Portland Timbers U-23 team is affiliated with the MLS pro team so the Portland Timbers help players do that. The coaches for the pro team are the same for my U-23 team and they really focus on teaching kids what it takes to play professional soccer and push the kids with talent and aspiration to get to that level. I very much plan to continue to play professional soccer after this season whether that be in the MLS or overseas.

Q: What's the biggest transition between college soccer and club soccer?

A: They're actually pretty much the same. In college you game plan more and study your opponent more, so there is much more preparation and the speed is sometimes faster, but the competition is basically the same.

Q: What parts of your game have you tried hardest to work on this summer?

A: Learning how to organize my teammates as their leader. I was elected one of the team captains for the first time this summer, and it is definitely a lot of responsibility helping players get into their roles and helping the young guys along.

Q: What is the best part of your game?

A: My build and height combined with my speed are my best parts. My height allows me to be physical against opponents, yet my speed really helps me on offense.

Q: What made you want to come to UP after your family has such strong Colorado connections? (Ryan was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colo. and two of his cousins played football at Colorado State University).

A: I really liked the program and the coaches when I got here and fell in love with the atmosphere and history that the students and the school have toward soccer. The support and enthusiasm everyone has for it is very special.

Q: What's your favorite thing about UP?

A: The community that we all feel and have for each other here and the people and teammates I've met are really amazing.

Q: What's your favorite memory you have as a Pilot?

A: Definitely my sophomore year where we made the NCAA Tournament and went to the Sweet 16. That was an incredible run where we all pulled and rallied together. The first round win against New Mexico in overtime was my favorite game ever. We were down and it looked bleak, but we battled back and Collen Warner came up huge for us scoring two goals at the end of the game. It was very exciting and amazing to be apart of.

Q: What advice do you have for your teammates on your experiences and being one of the leaders on your team?

A: I just try to help them out in training properly and let them know to keep working hard all the time and never quit. You can make the life that you want as long as you are always working for it.

Ryan Kawulock (Talley Carlston -- The Beacon)