The former Staten Island High School star center and Arena Football Veteran joins the Streets for their inaugural season.
03/14/2019 11:42 AM -
By Peter Schwartz
Who says you can’t go home again?
That’s exactly what former Port Richmond High School center Nate Ryan is doing as he has signed with the New York Streets for their inaugural 2019 National Arena League Season. The Arena Football veteran did not play the last two seasons in order to focus on a career and life at home on Staten Island as it was hard to juggle his responsibilities while also hitting the road to play football.
But with the Streets bringing Arena Football back to New York, it was time for Ryan to get back on the gridiron.
“Having a hometown team I wouldn’t have to turn my life upside down to play for was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Ryan who received All-Borough honors when he played high school football. “I am very excited to be able to play football again. It has been a passion of mine since I was a little kid and the opportunity to play in front of my family is very special to me.”
After high school, Nate went on to play for Division III Morrisville State College in Upstate New York where he majored in Criminal Justice. He was a four year starter for the Mustangs and was a USA College Football Pre-Season Division III Honorable Mention All-American in 2013.
Ryan would launch his professional career in the IFL with the Green Bay Blizzard in 2015 and later that year joined the Billings Wolves. The following year for Billings, Nate was named to the IFL’s All-League Second Team.
After that 2016 season, Nate decided to step away from playing football for a couple of seasons so that he could focus on being the Varsity Offensive Line Coach at Moore Catholic High School on Staten Island while also working for the Department of Education. But now that Arena Football is back in New York, Ryan is ready to snap again and the Streets are happy to have him.
“I’m really excited to be bringing in a local kid with the kind of talent Nate will bring to the organization,” said Streets Head Coach Rick Marsilio. “We are looking at Nate being the anchor on the offensive line.”
It’s been more than a decade since there was Arena Football in New York and with the Streets getting ready for training camp, the roster continues to take shape and now Ryan is on board. As the Streets are set to be one of two expansion teams in the NAL this season, Ryan brings with him some experience of being a part of a new team.
He’s also excited to be working with Streets Head Coach Rick Marsilio who is also no stranger to start-up football clubs.
“I was part of a brand new franchise while I was at Billings,’ said Ryan. “I know the growing pains that can come with that process. Having a coach that has experience in arena is a huge reason I decided to play. He knows exactly what it is going to take to be successful.”
One of the biggest differences between the 100 yard game and Arena Football is that the indoor game is eight on eight as opposed to eleven on eleven on the big field. In Arena Football, there are just three offensive linemen and with the game relying heavily on an offense that can score a lot of points, there’s a lot of pressure on the offensive line to give the quarterback time to throw.
“What I learned early in my career was that this game is fast and physical,” said Ryan. “If you can’t match the motor of opponent you are going to have a long day. As a center, your off hand has to be your best weapon. The nose guards are so talented in Arena Football that if the punch with your off hand is a split second late, the quarterback is on the ground.”
Growing up on Staten Island, Ryan wasn’t that familiar with Arena Football but hehas grown to appreciate the opportunities and people that he has encountered in the sport. And now that there’s a hometown team again, Nate is ready to help the Streets rock the Westchester County Center with lots of familiar faces in the stands.
“I never imagined being able to play professional football as a kid and being able to still play as a man really is something that I am proud of,” said Ryan. “As far as fans in New York go, we all know they’re the best in the world. It’s a blessing to be able to play in front of a great city and in front of family and friends.”
The Streets are fortunate to have added Nate Ryan to the mix for 2019. From high school star on Staten Island to a brilliant career in college to his experience in Arena Football, Ryan has anchored offensive lines at every level and he’ll be doing just that for the Streets this season. Throw in his recent experience as a high school coach and it will be like the Streets having another coach on the field when the offense is doing their thing.