Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Soccer Life - Brad Ring

There are players that come to be synonymous with one team, no matter how many other teams that they played on before or after that team.

Michael Jordan - Bulls
Peyton Manning - Colts
Ken Griffey Jr. - Mariners
Landon Donovan - L.A. Galaxy

Many times those players are liked because of their on-field performances. Sometimes, though, it's not just because of what they do on the field, but rather what they do off the field and their interactions that endear themselves to fans. 

Brad Ring didn't always light up the stat sheet, but there's not a single Indy Eleven fan who will tell you that they thought that Ring didn't give his all every minute of every game he played. Then the game would end and he would go thank the fans for being there. Then he would play a little soccer with his kids on the field before heading to the locker room. Class act, through and through.

At some point, the Indy Eleven will create a Ring of Honor type award (no pun intended). There have been some great players to go through this club that could be deserving. Historically significant players. Fan favorites. Peter Wilt will be in it.

Brad Ring should be the first player. 

He means so much to the history of the team that when it looked like he might not be returning for the 2018 season, the fans nearly rioted. He (or his likeness) has been featured in 8 of the team's game day posters and nobody else is even close [#1 (May 6, 2017), #2 (August 26, 2017), #3 (October 4, 2017), #4 (March 31, 2018), #5 (April 14, 2018), #6 (May 19, 2018), #7 (October 6, 2018), #8 (May 4, 2019)]. He is one of only two players to reach the 100 games played milestone for the club and the other one is nicknamed, "Mr. Indy."

There's only one "Legend" though and these are his responses to The Soccer Life:

1. Name:
- Brad Ring

2. Role (Player, Parent, Coach, Referee, General Spectator, All of the Above, None of the Above, Other):
- 9 year professional player who is currently retired.

3. Soccer-specific Nickname (and any story behind it):
- "Legend". We had 1 game left in the Spring NASL season in 2016 where we needed to win by 3 goals; we did the unthinkable and won 4-1. I chugged a beer on the field seconds after the final whistle blew while celebrating.

I was going to place a GIF of the beer chug here, but that game deserves to be immortalized in Indy Eleven history as many times as possible. Brad's beer chug was captured by the live television broadcast and can be found at the 5:39 mark of the video, surrounded by fans.

4. Age became interested in soccer:
- 5

5. First recollection of the game:
- 5, AYSO with my dad coaching me. Looking forward to halftime so I could eat oranges.

6. Highest level of play achieved:
- 9 year professional career

San Jose Earthquakes
2010  - 2013 (League stats)
- 37 games played
- 25 games started
- 2,381 minutes

Portland Timbers
2013 (League stats)
- 1 games played 
- 0 games started 
- 1 min

Indy Eleven
2014 - 2018 (stats across all competitions)
- 115 games played (#1 in club history) 
- 95 games started (#1 in club history) 
- 8,525 minutes (#1 in club history) 
- 4 goals 

- 2 assists 
- 28 yellow cards (Most in club history) 
- 2 red cards (6 way tie for most in club history)

7. Honors/Awards
- 2x H.S. All American, 2x Collegiate All - American at Indiana University, 17th Draft pick in the 2009 MLS Draft.

8. Last competitive match – Date (if known) & Level of Play
- Oct. 2018

Last game where he had minutes was with 81 minutes of action in a 2 - 3 loss at Pittsburgh Riverhounds on September 28, 2018. Brad was on the game day roster for 4 of the 5 final games of the season, but did not see minutes. 

9. Position:
- Central Defensive Midfielder

I once wrote of Brad Ring in a June 2017 game recap against NCFC
"Brad Ring has become a defensive midfielder from hell. That ninja kick clearance of his is a sight to behold and he just seems to have a way of keeping guys from doing what they want to do. He had 6 clearances, 3 interceptions, 2 of 2 tackles won, was 90% accurate on his passes, and was the guy who got the NCFC defense to shift to the middle by faking a shot before passing out to Speas on the cross that ultimately led to Braun's goal. With Franco and Vuko pushing forward into the offense, Ring perfectly served as the shield in front of Keller and Falvey, helping keep guys like Laing and Fondy in check." 

10. Jersey number:
- 5 at IU and 4 while with Indy Eleven

11. Coaching experience:
- IU soccer camps, personal ran soccer camps and individual training sessions, U10 coach in Santa Clara, CA

12. Refereeing experience:
- none

13. Most memorable moment(s):
- Having my family on the game field after home game wins.

14. Least memorable moment(s):
- High School State Finals losses in 2003 & 2004

15. Favorite World Cup moment(s):

16. Favorite team(s):
- Indy Eleven

17. Favorite Historical player:
- Zinedine Zidane

18. Favorite Current Player:

19. Indoor vs Outdoor:
- Outdoor

20. Grass vs Turf:
- Grass

21. Other sports played (and to what level):

22. Other Comments:

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