Mike McCurry got the best of both worlds.
McCurry is a senior at Archbishop Ryan High School. He spent the first five quarters of his high school career at Roman Catholic. He loved Roman, loved the soccer team, but he didn’t love the commute.
“Mainly the ride was what I didn’t like, that’s it,” said McCurry, who lives in Parkwood and has been getting an extra hour of sleep since he transferred to his neighborhood school after the first marking period of his sophomore year. “I would leave early and I didn’t get home until 4:30, now I get home at 2:30 when we don’t have practice.
“I loved Roman, but I love Ryan, too. I had friends here, and I liked it before I came here. It’s been great being here.”
Especially after last year.
McCurry was the starting midfielder on the Raiders, who danced their way to the team’s first Catholic League championship in nearly two decades. They knocked off three great teams in the playoffs – Father Judge in PK’s in the championship, La Salle and McCurry’s former team.
“It was such a good feeling winning it, it was such a good team, and Judge, they were the favorites, and their goalie (Jim Shensky) is a really good friend of mine, so it was good to beat them,” McCurry said. “But it was hard beating him because you don’t want your friends to lose.
“It was a great game. He says he saved my PK, and I say I got the plaque. We’re still really good friends. It was kind of weird, we’ve been on the same team since we were 5. We’ve practiced together a lot, so he knows my tendencies.
“Beating Roman was fun, too. I’m still friends with all of them. The teams are the same. At Roman, it’s a lot of tactics and plays. At Ryan, it’s hard work and never stop running. That’s how we won.”
McCurry played a huge role in last year’s championship team, but one aspect he didn’t have to worry about too much was the role of being a leader. The Raiders had an experienced group, but many of them are now preparing for college. While they do that, McCurry is preparing to lead the Raiders.
“The biggest thing I need to do this year is mostly be a leader and make sure everyone does the best they can and at the end, try to go back to back,” McCurry said. “I feel like as long as we don’t get our heads down, we have a good team. I feel like we can go back to back. We’re working for it 100 percent.”
McCurry gives them plenty of options.
A natural midfielder, McCurry plays for PDA, an academy team in New Jersey, where he also plays striker, left wing and centerback. He enjoys learning all of the positions, and he’s happy to contribute anywhere he’s needed.
“I like it because if one thing isn’t going right, like if I’m a striker and not scoring, I can go to centerback and get more opportunities for other people,” McCurry said. “I like playing different positions because when I play striker, sometimes my shot isn’t right. My coach will switch me and it just works out.
“I like playing anywhere. I’m mostly a midfielder, but if it’s better playing somewhere else, I’ll play anywhere.”
McCurry has been quite busy this summer, and it’s because of soccer. He traveled with his club team to San Diego for a tournament. It was a quick trip, but it got him running around with the best players around.
“It’s fun, because the furthest I’ve ever gone before was North Carolina,” McCurry said. “I’m looking forward to playing, it’s great competition and it should help me.”
Summer soccer is to get better for the high school season, which is quickly approaching. McCurry and his teammates are working hard both on their own and with their team in hopes of defending their championship.
It won’t be easy. On top of losing some elite players to graduation, the Raiders will once again compete in the crazy tough Catholic League.
But the same could have been said from last year’s squad, and at the end of the season, the Raiders were the ones with the plaque.
“I guess be more physical and learn how to have more balance,” said McCurry, who wrestled for Ryan last year, but plans on focusing on college soccer after his senior season. “As a team, I think we’re going to be very good. We’re definitely going to be in shape. I didn’t like running at soccer, but we ran a lot there and wrestling. In the summer workouts, we did fence lines every single day. We’re in good shape.
“Every single practice we run. If we don’t run during a drill, going 100 percent, then we’ll just run. It’s one of our better skills. Other teams get tired, we don’t. I think if we’re in shape, we can go back to back.”
He’ll also be busy preparing for beyond Ryan. The goal is to play college soccer, and he’s starting to talk with his mom about where he’ll go.
His whole family will be paying attention. They’re all big fans of watching him play, and he’s very thankful for that.
“My dad helped me a lot, he was my coach when I was little until high school,” McCurry said. “He played for Ryan, too. He still comes to every game, all my family does. My cousins come. My mom comes to all my games, too. She’s a soccer fan because of me, she won’t watch it on TV.
“I’m lucky, my family is very supportive. They were so excited when we won last year. I hope we can do it again.”