Aiming for the Moon

2013-08-27 00:00

MARITZBURG College soccer star Ryan Moon has three dreams he wants to achieve.

Speaking to The Witness, the 17-year-old striker said his first dream would be to play against his older brother, Bafana Bafana defender Bryce Moon.

“I’d like to go on the field against him and finish him,” the youngster said.

Ryan also dreams of donning the Bafana jersey one day alongside his brother, a feat so far only accomplished by Siyabonga and Thamsanqa Sangweni, who both took to the field in a World Cup qualifier last year.

“I’d also like to one day go overseas and play in Europe,” he said, adding he was a big Liverpool fan and counted Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge as his favourite players.

With his brother Bryce having played at a Confederations Cup and in the Uefa Champions League for Greek side Panathinaikos, it was natural that Ryan would regard him as an idol.

“I look up to him. He’s achieved a lot in his career. He’s played in the Champions League. To have a brother who has achieved so much is motivational,” he said.

“We chat daily on BBM and he always calls me. If I see that there’s something that he’s done wrong, I’ll criticise him. But, he’s playing well these days,” he said, chuckling.

“When he’s in town, he’ll always come and watch me.”

Ryan has been playing soccer since he was five and started turning out for the local Pirates under-six side.

“I used to watch my brother a lot. He was a striker back then and he was scoring goals every game. I started out on the wing, and once I moved up front, I enjoyed it.”

Strangely enough, when Ryan first got to College, he was on a rugby scholarship after moving from Pelham Primary School.

“In my first year here, I played for the under-14 A team. I scored a try against Grey Bloem that I will never forget,” the former fullback and flyhalf said.

“I used to play everything. I also played soccer and I played basketball. The following year, my parents sat me down and they told me I needed to decide what sport I wanted to play and go far with. I decided I wanted to play soccer.”

Ryan has made the provincial side every year, and after being named in the KZN under 19 side this year along with four of his team-mates, he said he wanted to work hard and get into the national under 19 side.

The Maritzburg College first team, which includes other KZN players in Ayren Bond, Thulebona Dladla, Brylon Petersen and Luyanda Shange and is captained by Maritzburg United’s Bandile Shandu, is the strongest Ryan has seen since he’s been at College.

For Ryan, this year has been one of his best, and it includes two hat-tricks. He also turns out for Woodlands FC as their games tend to be after College’s games.

“Usually after games for College, I rush off to Woodlands to play for them. It’s tiring, but I enjoy it. I’m never one to complain about extra soccer.”

Ryan said his short-term goal was to follow in the footsteps of his school team-mate Shandu and try to earn a chance to play in the PSL.

“I’d like to be at least training with United by the end of my matric year. You can’t rush into these things because they take time,” he said.

He also praised his coaches Dan Haswell at College and Robbie Cupido at Woodlands FC, and said they had a big impact on his game.

His mother Geraldine Moon said it would be an honour to have both of her sons playing together in the national team. Recalling a story from when Ryan was younger, she said: “We were seeing Bryce off at the airport when his agent came up to Ryan and said ‘you also play football? Hopefully you’ll be as good as your brother one day’.”

To which Ryan responded: “No, I’m going to be better.”

College coach Haswell said the youngster was a fantastic talent with an excellent attitude towards training and learning. “He can shoot with both feet, he’s good in the air and can hold the ball up,” said Haswell.

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