On her recent European sojourn, Mariners media volunteer Jess Norton ventured to Brugge to catch up with Maty Ryan.
On her recent European sojourn, Mariners media volunteer Jess Norton ventured to Brugge to catch up with Hyundai A-League 2013 Grand Final winning goalie, Mathew Ryan. Not only did Jess witness Maty keep a clean sheet at the Jan Breydel Stadion as Club Brugge beat Oud-Heverlee Leuven 1-0, she also sat down for an exclusive interview with Mat to find out how he is enjoying life in the Belgian Pro League.
Jess Norton (JN): Maty, how have you settled into life abroad?
Mat Ryan (MR): Brugge is a beautiful city! I spend a lot of time with the boys in the city centre being social, and I am really enjoying my football here also.
JN: It-s been an impressive debut season for you so far having become Club-s first-choice custodian. What have you made of it all? You-re Brugge-s boy!
MR: It-s been a really good start to my European career. I have just been taking each week as it comes and fortunately enough for me at the moment my form is really good, I am really happy with how I have been playing. It-s an easy place to fit in and I am really enjoying my football.
JN: You featured in the derby against Anderlecht a few weeks ago. What was that experience like?
MR: The fans that day, the hype and the build up to it, it was very much like Western Sydney back home. It was a very big atmosphere, a very loud atmosphere, with fans going crazy. It was a great result for us (Brugge won 4-0) so all our fans went home very happy as did us players.
JN: Brugge recently signed a new coach in Michel Preud-homme. It must be interesting having a former goalkeeper as your new boss.
MR: Yeah, I hadn-t heard of him when he signed but I quickly learned that he was a bit of a king here, and quickly learned that he was keeper of the tournament at a World Cup. I-ve since watch him on YouTube and have seen his qualities as a keeper. Initially when a new coach comes in you have to push for that spot again, so I tried to knuckle down initially, work hard and make sure I kept my spot on the pitch. Hopefully he can be positive for my future and I can learn a thing or two off him.
JN: You-re off to the Socceroos camp for matches in France and England. Excited?
MR: I-m very excited to be involved in the National Team again. Obviously it-s vital preparation for the World Cup coming up and obviously with Mark Schwarzer-s omission from the squad hopefully I can make the most of some game time and hopefully I can impress Holger (Osieck) and the rest of the squad and gain some respect from them. Hopefully I can stake my claim for a World Cup spot for next year.
JN: You-ve been following the Mariners closely since you left the Club. How do you think the team will go this Hyundai A-League season?
MR: From what I hear they have recruited very well and they-re very happy with their pre-season to date. Obviously I will be following it very closely and fingers crossed they can go back-to-back!
JN: You-ve watched ‘The Code: Life with the Mariners- Grand Final special episode over the past few days. What was it like watching that and looking back at the Club-s Grand Final win?
MR: I watched the whole episode with a big smile on my face! Just re-living those memories was truly amazing, it all feels like it has all gone so quick. It-s good to have a documentary like that where you can watch it whenever you want and re-live it. I am sure I will be watching that a few hundred times over the coming years.
JN: What do you miss most about Australia, the Coast, and life with the Mariners?
MR: Probably just the people, the environment and the whole lifestyle. Obviously my family are back home, also. As a young kid you can get caught up in the limelight about being overseas for football and you don-t really think about the sacrifices that you have to make. It was a little bit tough in the beginning but football has been a very good cure for me and I am really enjoying my time here. But probably the culture of the Mariners, turning up to work with a big smile on my face and seeing all the boys and getting on with them is probably the biggest thing I miss.