Leadership fit for a King
If you want to make an omelet, you have to be willing to break a few eggs. Revolution Under-16 midfielder Ryan Kingsley apparently takes the phrase literally.
Sure, the vocal leader in his second year with the club wants to do what it takes to win. He takes time to mentally prepare to step foot on the field. He envisions his every move and builds his teammates up. But, before he can do any of that – he has to eat his eggs.
“A fried egg, maybe with some cheese,” Kingsley laughs. “It works for me.”
It may sound quirky, but for a guy that spends the entire game vocally leading his team on the field, the added energy boost might be a smart play.
“This level of soccer is so much higher than any other soccer I’ve played before,” the 16-year-old native of North Attleborough, Mass. added.
Returning to the Revolution for his second season, he admits his comfort level has skyrocketed as has his familiarity with the speed of the game and the expectations of the Revolution’s coaching staff. More importantly, in year two he knows that mistakes at the Academy level are exploited in every facet of the game.
“You know what the play is like. Last year, coming in you didn’t really know how high the competition level is going to be. Everything has to be perfect. You can’t make a mistake. The first touch, the pass, everything has to be exactly where you want it,” said Kingsley. “The other players at this level are so good that it stands out and the mistakes stand out more.”
A heady player, Kingsley has played three positions in the past two seasons: at right back, center back and deep-line central midfield. That versatility and knowledge, according to Director of Youth Development and U16s Head Coach Bryan Scales, have become vital assets to the club.
“The more experience you have, the more you understand what it means to concentrate,” said Scales. “Ryan is now in year two - he’s able to understand the rhythms of the game, how to concentrate, what that looks like and how quickly things need to happen.”
The newer players on the team undergo a baptism by fire, but it is here that Kingsley takes it upon himself to build his younger teammates up.
“When they make a bad pass – other people could get on them – but I like to support them and tell them they’re going to do better next time. I think I’m a very verbal person and I can see the field really well.”
That desire to improve the team surrounding him, however, starts with a stern self-evaluation of his own game; Kingsley is his own biggest critic.
“I think you need to be a little more critical when it comes to yourself,” said Kingsley. “You have to make sure you’re not just telling yourself you’ll do better next time. You have to really promise yourself that you’re going to do it better next time and work to make sure it’s perfect.”
Scales has noticed that Kingsley’s tireless and diligent analytical approach is infectious.
“He can get on guys. He knows when guys are cutting corners,” Scales said. “Ryan is a leader and so now we want to make sure we put him in good situations on the field and the guys can follow his lead.”
It’s a position that Kingsley relishes, especially in late-game situations.
“Teams are always looking for someone who can pick the team up,” said Kingsley, “It increases the pressure on you to perform.”
As he emerges one of the “veterans” on the team, it’s a challenge that he continues to work on. And to Scales, it’s been a noticeable progression of leadership among the second-year players, especially for Kingsley.
“The younger guys are looking to them to see how to react in certain situations: how do they behave in the hotel, on airplanes, on buses and so those guys are really good examples of what we’re all about,” said Scales.
“I think that he leads by example in how he approaches training every day, how he approaches games, his professionalism, how he competes.”