Stock is rising for Ryan’s soccer team

Owen Stock is ready to take over his second year as the starting centerback at Ryan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Owen Stock might have been the new guy on the block, but he was ready for anything.

Last year, Stock became the starting centerback for the Archbishop Ryan High School soccer team, and that’s a heck of a responsibility for an incoming freshman.

He also was one of the smaller guys on the field, now standing 5 feet 9 and weighing 150 pounds, but he was responsible for marking some of the big brutes who play for the Raiders’ PCL rivals.

Sure, the bigger foes pushed him around, but that was nothing Stock wasn’t used to. He’s got two older brothers who have been doing that to him for years.

“I think it definitely helped having my brothers work with me, because they were always bigger and stronger and I would play with them,” said Sock, referring to his older brothers Joe and Ryan. “They helped me my whole life. Going into the Catholic League, the guys were bigger and stronger. It was a big adjustment, especially because I was a freshman, but after a game or two, I was ready.”

Stock is now following in both his brothers’ footsteps. They both starred at Ryan before going on to play at Holy Family. Joe, also a defender, graduated from Ryan and Holy Family. Ryan was also a Raider, but the goalie is still at Holy Family where he is playing while trying to earn his master’s degree.

But this summer, the two men are on a team playing in the Lighthouse Men’s League. One of their opponents this year was a team consisting of Ryan players, and their younger brother was their opponent.

“They won 3-2, they got us on a late goal,” Stock said. “When they’re not playing, they help us out. Both of my brothers help me whenever they have time, and my dad is a coach, so they all help me. They all played soccer, my dad at North and my brothers at Ryan, so they know a lot. They help me a lot.

“I love playing in the men’s league. It’s hard. I’m younger, so I think it helps me get tougher and stronger. When you play in the Catholic League, you have to be ready, it’s very physical and some of the guys on the other teams are stronger. I think sometimes they see me because I’m smaller and think I won’t be that good. I like that. I love it when people underestimate me.”

Good luck with that this year.

People know Stock is a player after he helped Ryan enjoy a magical season last year.

The Raiders went undefeated in Catholic League play last year and ended up winning a game in the state playoffs before falling in the quarterfinals.

There were some great seniors on the team, but the bulk of the squad is back this year. And they’re working this summer to make sure the team has another magnificent season this year, which will likely include Catholic League playoffs, something that didn’t happen last year because of COVID.

“Last year was hard because we really didn’t know what was going to happen, we didn’t know if we were going to play,” Stock said. “They decided not to play, and then they decided to play. It was hard for all of us, but we were ready because we played together as much as we could during the summer.

“Coming into the season, I didn’t know if I would be able to do it. The Catholic League is great, but I was lucky. I had a lot of help. My coach (Ryan) Haney helped me a lot, and then the older guys helped me a lot. The defense was so good. We were all really young, we only had one senior who was great, but the rest of us were young.”

Now they have a year of experience under their belts and they’re ready for whatever the Catholic League throws at them.

Last year the Raiders didn’t play La Salle during the season and Father Judge elected to play in the spring, so there are big challenges that lie ahead for Ryan. Teams like Roman Catholic and Archbishop Wood are also lurking so it won’t be easy, but Stock and the Raiders believe this year can be a special one.

“I love our defense, I think we can be really good because we played great together last year and now we’re more comfortable,” said Stock, who lives in Bensalem. “We have a lot of talent back there. We’re so young, so many juniors and sophomores on this team.

“I think it helped a lot that we had an undefeated season and it shaped us up to live up to it again, and we have the same expectations. We did pretty well in the league, and we got to the state playoffs, so we had a good year. We did it last year, so now we know we can do it. We’re just getting better every day.”

Not only is the team gaining confidence, but so is Stock.

Last year he was the little guy who had to fill a huge role. Now he’s the young veteran ready to take the next step.

“I try to play fearless, and this year I’ll be able to do that because I know what I’m expecting,” said Stock, who does well in the classroom. “We’re playing really well together this summer in the men’s league and the Lower Moreland League. The more we play together, the more comfortable we are. I think that will help us so much.”