It’s hard to believe Ryan Tauss was not a natural soccer talent.
Not at first, anyway.
“When I started to play soccer, I was terrible,” said the Niskayuna senior, who switched his interest from baseball to soccer in grade school. “But I liked it, and I wanted to get better.”
He’s improved enough to have been selected to play or train in Argentina, England, Spain, Las Vegas and all over the northeastern United States. And improved enough to attract the attention of West Virginia University, where he will continue his career next fall.
“The other school I was really interested in was North Carolina-Wilmington,” said Tauss, who gave a verbal agreement to Mountaineers coach Marlon LeBlanc a month ago. “If you could put the beach [Wilmington] with the courses I want to take, it would be perfect. But I liked West Virginia.”
That Tauss has developed into one of the Capital Region’s best players is not surprising to Niskayuna coach Jeff Ormsbee.
“I remember tryouts when Ryan was going into seventh grade,” said Orsmbee, the freshman coach at the time. “We ran the tryouts along with varsity, and Dave [then varsity head coach and current assistant Dave Bundy] and I looked at each other and thought there was something about him.
“He was a gangly kid, but he worked hard and had a knack and passion for the sport. As good as he’s become, he’s never stopped working at it. He still has the same enthusiasm. He isn’t burned out.”
Tauss played on the freshman team as a seventh-grader, and two years later, both he and Ormsbee made their debuts at the varsity level, with Niskayuna reaching the state semifinals.
“That’s something I’d like to do again this year,” said Tauss.
Tauss has played on his share of outstanding teams, having been identified as one of the top players in the state.
He’s been in the Olympic development program at both the state and regional levels, training with and playing against some of the top players in the nation.
“That’s helped so much,” said Tauss. “You’re exposed to the best players, and you train with the top players.”
Playing club soccer with the Hicksville Strikers meant innumerable trips to Long Island.
“It’s four hours one way,” said Tauss, who helped the Strikers reach the under-17 national championship tournament this summer. “I usually would just go on weekends, to train or for games. They let me train up here the rest of the time. My parents [Edward and Patricia] have been great. It’s been a lot of time travelling.”
Tauss’ development has enabled him to train in Spain with Real Madrid, and play in England and at the 2009 International Festival in Argentina.
“It’s entirely different,” Tauss said of training abroad. “Kids our age have been playing only soccer for years. I remember playing on a 17-year-old team, against a team of 14-year-olds, and we got killed.”
Tauss’ wealth of experience is something Ormsbee is tapping as his Silver Warriors go through their tough Suburban Council schedule.
“We use him as a resource,” said Ormsbee. “He’s seen things and been in situations on the field that the other players haven’t. But we couldn’t do it if Ryan wasn’t good about the way he helps out, and if the players weren’t receptive.
“He’s become more vocal as a captain, but he’s not loud when he’s trying to point something out. And his teammates respect him, what he’s accomplished.”
“If I can help my teammates, I want to. We have the same goal,” said Tauss. “I know I’m usually going to have someone marking me tight, so I have to find ways to get them into the game.”
A second-team all-state pick last year, Tauss has never put up gaudy scoring numbers.
“He’s had to deal with being the focus of the other teams’ defenses the past three years,” said Ormsbee. “But he’s got a strong shot.”
Tauss has played in back for most of his club career, and in midfield at Niskayuna.
“Being versatile is going to help me in college,” said Tauss. “If I can play in back, or in midfield, or even up front, it might get me more playing time.”
Tauss, who dreamed of being a major league baseball before making soccer his top athletic priority, has aspirations of playing professionally.
“That’s my ultimate goal in the sport,” he said. “I wanted to make the major leagues when I was playing Little League. Now, I’d love to get the chance to play soccer professionally, overseas, here, it doesn’t matter. Just to get to that level.”
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Categories: High School Sports