If you see a guy running around Penn Charter’s campus, don’t automatically assume it’s someone getting in shape for sports.
It could be someone going to their games. It could be Ryan Bradby.
Bradby is a senior at Penn Charter and for his entire life, he’s been a standout soccer player. You probably recognize the name, his grandfather was the longtime assistant soccer coach at Archbishop Ryan and his father was a star at the school.
But when it was decided Bradby would go to Penn Charter, he met with football coach Tom Coyle, who was friends with Bradby’s father. Coyle asked if Bradby would like to try kicking, and he wanted to give it a shot.
But playing two fall sports can be a challenge, especially when games are on the same day.
“Last week, we had a football game against Central at 3, so I started there, kicked off and played most of the first half,” Bradby recalled. “Then, the soccer field is like across the street, but since soccer is my main sport, I always go there, so I left football and ran across the street to play soccer. Then after the soccer game was over, I went back and played football.
“It was good, we won both games, so that was good.”
Bradby, who lives in Morrell Park, is lighting it up in both sports.
In soccer, he plays center midfield and is one of the top players in the state. He’s getting looks at college and he’s leading a Quaker team that has expectations to compete for the Inter-Ac championship.
In football, he’s become a top kicker. While football is definitely his secondary sport, he has become an automatic extra point and field goal kicker for a Penn Charter team that is off to a 4-0 start. On Friday, the Quakers decimated Upper Dublin 56-0 in a nonleague game, which limited Bradby’s scoring to extra points
But as the Quakers offense rolls, so does Bradby.
Penn Charter has scored more than 40 points in every game and while Malvern Prep is considered the favorite in the Inter-Ac, Penn Charter fully expects to be there with them, and possibly win the tough league this year.
Bradby thinks if he’s in the lineup, the Quakers can’t lose. But it’s not because he’s cocky.
“I play soccer when there are games at the same time, but this year we play Malvern Prep and it will be the first year I’m going to be able to play because we have no conflicts,” Bradby said. “I always say I’m the good luck charm, I’ve only lost two football games. Every time I’m there, we win.
“It’s not my kicking. When I don’t kick, we have a great kicker. Ryan Holmes, he’s a great basketball player, but he’s also a great punter and when I don’t kick, he does. He’s great. But I’m the good luck charm!”
Penn Charter has been Bradby’s good luck charm, too.
When he arrived at the school, he really wanted to play both sports, and both his soccer and football coaches wanted him to compete. But the school’s brass met with him to make sure he would be able to swing it and excel in the classroom.
It wasn’t a problem, but they definitely did their due diligence before allowing it.
“I think that let me know right away how Penn Charter is a great school, because they were worried about me, not as an athlete, but as a student,” said Bradby, who also excels in the classroom. “They told me how important academics were, too. It’s good to do well in sports, but it’s more important to do well academically.”
Bradby does well in both, and he does pretty well in both sports, too.
Next year, he’s going to give up football and concentrate on soccer. It’s not that he hasn’t thought about kicking, or doing both, but it looks like his future is just going to be on the pitch.
“I kicked a little bit in grade school, but soccer has always been my main sport,” said Bradby, who has 20 extra points and three field goals this year, according to stats posted on tedsilary.com. “I would love to do both in college, but it’s really hard, I don’t think I can do it, so I’m focusing on soccer. That’s always been my sport.
“Football is great, I love it. I love kicking for Penn Charter, the coaches and my teammates, I love everything about it. But I love soccer more than anything. I feel the same way about my soccer coach and the players. I love that sport more.”
While he’s playing soccer in college, he hopes to major in some type of business, possibly finance. Right now he’s had some discussion with Catholic University in Washington and he loves it there, but no decision has been made.
The only decision he’s sure of is he’s glad he was a two-sport star for the Quakers.
“Picking Penn Charter was a great choice,” Bradby said. “It’s worked out so well. And this year is going to be the best. We have a really good soccer team and a really good football team. It could be a really great year.”