Our Mat’s mas­sive Span­ish deal

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Nick Houghton & Tom Smithies

For­mer Oakhurst boy and cur­rent Soc­ceroo goal­keeper Mat Ryan has just signed the big­gest deal of his life with Euro­pean giants Va­len­cia.

THE Mediter­ranean sun of Spain and hun­dreds of thou­sands of ador­ing fans are a long way from the pitch of De­mons Sta­dium Seven Hills.

But it is the re­al­ity for for­mer Black­town City ju­nior and for­mer Oakhurst res­i­dent Mat Ryan (pic­tured) af­ter sign­ing a six-year con­tract to play for Va­len­cia in Spain’s La Liga com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s the pin­na­cle of the game, the level you want to get to,” Ryan, 23, said. “To test your­self against the best is what ev­ery­one wants to do, isn’t it?’’

The goal­keeper’s sign­ing with Va­len­cia was re­ward for years of hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion, his mum Carol Ryan said.

“This is Mat’s ul­ti­mate goal,” she said. “He has al­ways wanted to play against the world’s best and now he has the chance.”

“I al­ways knew he was pretty tal­ented but it has been his com­mit­ment to train­ing and im­prov­ing his game which has al­lowed Mat to climb to this level.”

Black­town City NSW Premier League coach Mark Crit­ten­den al­ways saw Ryan’s po­ten­tial.

“It’s a real buzz to see Mat recog­nised for his hard work,” he said. “I re­mem­ber one pre­sea­son I banned him from us­ing his hands so he could fo­cus on his ball skills and dis­tri­bu­tion.”

Ms Ryan said de­spite all the plau­dits her son was still the hum­ble boy from Western Syd­ney.

“That’s just Mat’s per­son­al­ity. He is very grounded,” she said.

“He still keeps in con­tact with all his friends from Syd­ney and he also bought our fam­ily home in Oakhurst.”

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