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Senior profile: Ryan Keener wants to see sustained success during final season

September 2, 2014
Sophomore defender Ryan Keener kicks the ball to teammates Oct. 28, 2012, at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field. The Spartans won their game against the Indiana Hoosiers, 3-1. Natalie Kolb/The State News
Sophomore defender Ryan Keener kicks the ball to teammates Oct. 28, 2012, at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field. The Spartans won their game against the Indiana Hoosiers, 3-1. Natalie Kolb/The State News —
Photo by Natalie Kolb | and Natalie Kolb The State News

Before redshirt-senior defender Ryan Keener ever donned his MSU soccer uniform he was just a kid from Grand Blanc playing soccer for Grand Blanc High School. While at Grand Blanc he was a two-time First Team All-State player. In his senior season of high school as team captain he scored 15 goals and totaled 11 assists as a defender.

Keener couldn’t tell you how he began playing soccer — just that it was way back in the day around the time when he turned six. It’s been his passion ever since.

Looking for a legitimate chance to make an impact on the field whilst earning a degree from a well-known university, Ryan chose to attend MSU.

“It was just a good fit, I was looking at a few different schools but Michigan State had everything I wanted,” Keener said. “As far as the ability to play and a program that’s really growing and on the way up and I think we’re getting where we want to be now, also with academics I wanted somewhere where it was realistic for me to achieve academically without taking a BS major because you’re an athlete.”

Ryan didn’t feel redshirting his freshman year to be the most glamorous of his options, but with the guidance of the older guys on the team he took it in stride, eventually becoming one of the guys he once looked up to.

“I redshirted my freshman year, so that’s about as low as it goes as far as it goes when you first come in, its not cool to tell people you redshirted, nothing glamorous about that,” he said. “So I want to be remembered as someone who worked their way up and once they got there, they kept working.”

Ryan considers his biggest accomplishment to be growing into the leader that he has become today. He can remember being a redshirt his first year and looking to the older guys for help. With all of his experience as a member of the team, Ryan is proud to be one of those players that can make the younger guys better.

“Being a leader and being a captain on the Michigan State soccer team, looking back to when I redshirted I came in looking at those senior guys and those older leader guys and it seems so far away, so to become one of those guys that I really looked up to. Hopefully I can have the same impact on the freshman as the older guys had on me.”

Ryan is almost done with school now with only seven credits left to complete, but still has a lofty goal in mind before graduation.

“I want a Big Ten championship,” said Kenner confidently. “Obviously a National Championship too, but everyone in the country says that. I really want a Big Ten championship we’ve had a couple shots at it, came close a couple times, won a (Big Ten) Tournament championship , but to win the league championship would really be special.”

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