Beyond the time difference between Powell, Wyoming, and Liverpool, England, the culprit was coach Stan Rodrigues — a guy known for his early morning wake-up calls. But instead of rousing Tyrer for an early-morning practice, the news this time was more congratulatory in nature.
When he awoke to Rodrigues’ 4 a.m. text, Tyrer learned he’d been named a First Team Scholar All-American.
A business major with a 3.8 GPA during his time at NWC, Tyrer said he didn’t believe the news at first.
“At the moment, I was shocked. I had to read it a second time to make sure it was real,” he said. “When I sat down later in the day, I realized that I achieved one of my individual goals for the season.”
Tyrer was one of just 22 junior college players across the nation who were recognized for their achievements — in the classroom and on the field — by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. To be eligible for consideration, a player must be a sophomore with at least a 3.3 GPA, start and significantly contribute to 50 percent of their games and be nominated by a current member of the NSCAA.
Players on this year’s Junior College Scholar All-America Teams will be formally acknowledged at the All-America Luncheon on Jan. 20 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in conjunction with the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Convention. Rodrigues will be there to accept the award on Tyrer’s behalf.
“Coaches nominate their kids from all over the nation. There are quite a few junior colleges from all over the nation that have a soccer program; this encompasses all of them,” Rodrigues said. “For Ryan [Tyrer] to be picked as not only one of the top defenders in the nation, but academics as well is a huge deal.”
The coach added that, “Ryan deserves every accolade he gets. I believe he’s one of the best at his position in the nation right now.”
Tyrer was recruited to NWC by former coach Rob Hill, who surprised the young defender by naming him a team captain as a freshman. The pressure to succeed as a first-year player in a new country on a new team was tremendous; to be named a captain ensured all eyes would be on him.
“I realized I had to step up my game, as there was a lot of pressure on me,” Tyrer said. “Rob Hill showed a lot of faith in signing me to come to NWC and welcomed me with open arms in my first year.”
After a 4-7-1 season his freshman year, expectations were low heading into 2017 — especially with Hill’s resignation shortly after the season ended. But under new head coach Rodrigues, Tyrer and his teammates were the Cinderella story of the Region IX North, finishing 5-4-1 before losing in the first round of the Region IX Tournament.
“Working with coach Rodrigues has helped me massively,” Tyrer said. “Straight away, as soon as he came in, he set us up the way he wanted to play and the way he thought would work for the team. ... He just wants to do one thing, and that’s to win. That is why we got on really well.”
“Ryan [Tyrer] and I had a very good working relationship from the outset,” the first-year coach explained. “We trusted each other. I valued a lot of his input, and I think he valued mine. I will miss him a lot. His character is second to none.”
Tyrer praised Rodrigues and assistant coach Dave Gillatt for making his sophomore season a memorable one.
“Coach Gillatt has done a lot for me over the two years I have been here; he has made me feel so welcome,” Tyrer said. “Without him, it would of been a hard time for me being here, as it was a bit of a culture change here for me. Coach Rodrigues and his wife Angela have helped me a lot in this second year, made me become a better person on and off the field. And Angela has been the perfect soccer mom for us here on the soccer team.”
As the team transitioned from one coach to another before this season, Rodrigues said he relied on the leadership of his sophomores to make the process a smooth one, especially for the younger players. He credits Tyrer’s leadership and approach to the game for making his job easy.
“He made me a better coach, for exactly those reasons,” Rodrigues said. “It put me at the top of my game as a coach. Not only did he meet my expectations, he exceeded them. There’s not one player on my team who’s going to forget Ryan.”
As for the future, Tyrer plans to continue playing for a four-year school while working toward a degree in business.
“Academically, not only does this award help NWC because of how well he does here, he’s also a great investment for when he decides to pick one of the many schools that are after him right now,” Rodrigues said.
His academic achievements notwithstanding, like any collegiate athlete, Tyrer hopes for an opportunity to play at the next level.
“After this, hopefully I will be getting calls from the MLS draft/combine to be a part of that,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal for me, as my dream is to become a professional soccer player.”
For his part, Rodrigues is confident Tyrer will excel in whatever he chooses to do.
“It takes a special player to not only be top on the field, but in the classroom as well,” Rodrigues said. “In the long run, this guy is going to have an amazing career, on and off the field.”