Our Mat’s massive Spanish deal
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.”