BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, June 25, 2010
After coming off an impressive freshman season at Duke University in which he finished third in the ACC in scoring, forward Ryan Finley is currently on trial with Danish club Randers FC.
Finley's decision to play college soccer at Duke University has been successful so far. Playing under head coach John Kerr, Finley has had a very successful freshman season where he has scored 11 goals and five assists in 21 ACC games.
As a former USMNT and English Premier League player, Kerr was able to help Finley get the opportunity to go on trials with the European clubs including another trial with Norwegian Eliteserien club Viking.
Now currently in Denmark with Randers, Finley is happy with how things have gone so far.
"My college coach John Kerr helped me get over here," Finley told YA from Denmark. "I am hoping to play well while I am here. So far I have had a great time over here. Training has been intense and I am learning a lot. Randers is training two times a day since it is preseason so I am gaining a lot."
Despite being on trials with professional teams Finley has not lost his NCAA eligibility. While returning to Duke for his sophomore season is still an option, he hopes to impress while in Europe.
Wherever Finley plays next season, he feels strongly that his season at Duke has prepared him adequately for the professional game.
"Duke has helped me to prepare for bigger, stronger, and faster defenders," Finley insisted. "The one year at Duke so far has really helped me grow on and off the field."
Finley, 19, is a native of Lumberton, New Jersey where he developed as a star for Rancocas Valley Regional High School and his youth club team, the South Jersey Barons. His game is built around being a powerful target forward with the additional ability to attack defenders off the dribble.
"I would say I am a target forward, who can score goals, but I also like linking up with other players and going at people one vs. one," Finley described. "I always try to play like Van Nistelrooy. He has been my favorite player for a long time."
Finley's impressive freshman season with the Blue Devils has also earned him callups to the US U20 national team by head coach Thomas Rongen. He featured in the team's first camp of the 2011 cycle last December in California as well as for the Dallas Cup in March.
"The U-20s have been great," Finley said of the experience. "I always love going to the events and being around high quality players."
So in addition to attempting to impress on his trials overseas and perhaps earn his first professional contract, Finley also considers it a personal goal to continue to earn U20 callups as it builds towards the World Cup next year in Colombia.
"Coach Rongen is a fantastic coach," Finley concluded. "I have never heard a bad thing about him and I enjoy playing for him. I hope to be called again and make my way into the team. Going to the World Cup is a definite goal."