Senior George Montag reflects on his four years as a starter for Archbishop Ryan soccer.
In a way, Georg Montag was disappointed.
The four-year starter on the Archbishop Ryan High School boys soccer team had just played in his final game in a Raiders uniform, a 1–0 loss to St. Joe’s Prep in the first round of the Catholic League soccer playoffs, and he didn’t want it to end.
But after he thought about it, it would be hard to be completely upset.
The Raiders hung tough throughout the year while playing the best teams in the Catholic League, and they did it by playing the brand of soccer that over the years made the Raiders one of the top teams in the league.
“We played for each other, and we never quit,” Montag said. “For four years, no matter what, we played together, we played tough and we did a lot of good things. It’s tough because some people might see we had four unsuccessful seasons, and we didn’t win a championship, but we got better and improved. We played together.”
Montag’s leadership was evident by his words. But it was even more on display during games when he’d encourage his players to work harder or let them know that when they made a mistake, it was OK.
That was partly because he wanted his teammates to improve, and giving them advice would help them in the future. But he also did it because he genuinely cared about the other guys wearing Ryan jerseys.
The sad part is many of them will no longer share a soccer field with him, but Montag is also happy he’ll still play on the same team with many of the guys.
“I play for for Philly Soccer Coppa 1999s all year round,” Montag said. “A lot of the guys on the team play for them, so it’s not like I won’t play with most of the guys. These are guys I’ve played with my whole life, they’re my best friends, and we start practice this week, so it will be great to get back out there with them.”
That’s the good part.
But there are players who aren’t on that team, and Montag will certainly miss playing with them.
“That will be tough because you’ve been friends with these guys, you see them every day at practice and now you won’t be playing with them anymore,” Montag admitted. “Playing club ball is very competitive, you go out every week, you play in tournaments all over, Maryland or Virginia, but in high school, you play for pride. It means a lot to play with your friends, to play for your school.
“That’s the tough part about it ending. I’ll miss playing with them.”
He might not play with them, but he’ll certainly reminisce about the great times they had together.
Montag’s dad, also named Georg, is the head soccer coach at Holy Family University, and when he attended Ryan, he won a Catholic League championship in 1988. Dad loves to tell stories about his successes on the field, and his son will likely share his stories when he gets older.
“We had a great year, the offense was mostly older guys, so we did score a lot of big goals,” Montag said. “I’ll tell people about beating Judge. It was the only time I beat them, so that was a huge one. And in our first game against St. Joe’s Prep, I scored late to put us up 2–1. They tied it, but it was a big goal at the time.
“We had a lot of big games, a lot of games where we played well. We did it together. We had a lot of games we’ll talk about.”
Next year, Montag plans to continue his soccer career and he hopes the more he plays with Coppa, the more offers he’ll receive. Right now, he’s looking at La Salle and Holy Family.
“My dad would love to have me, but he wants me to make the best decision and I’ll see what happens,” Montag said. “He had a really good recruiting class last year, he loves to get guys from the Catholic League and the (Suburban One League). A lot of the schools in their conference recruit international players, but he likes to get the local guys and he gets great players, so playing there would be great.”
He’s unsure about what he’ll study in college, but there’s a strong possibility his soccer career won’t be finished when he graduates.
“I want to play in college because I think if you do, you’re putting yourself in position to possibly play professionally, depending on who sees you,” Montag said. “You never know, you might not get the chance, but if you’re playing in college, you might be seen by someone who will give you a chance to play professionally.”
If his future isn’t as a player, he could always follow in dad’s footsteps, even if it’s not at the college level.
“If I get the opportunity, I’d love to give back to the sport because it gave so much to me,” Montag said. “I’d love to coach in the Catholic League because those guys do so much, or at the club level. I’m not sure, it won’t be for a while, but I can definitely see myself doing something in soccer. To give back and because I love it so much.” ••