Player Profile: Ryan Maxwell
The NPSL, as with most leagues within the beautiful game, is full of clubs that thrive and clubs that struggle. Beyond the clubs, brands, and badges stand an array of players as ranged in origin, talent, and personality as they come. While we talk about new badges, the next great kit, and the coolest supporters group, these players are the centerpiece of the sport we’ve come to love.
Amongst the long list of players calling the NPSL Midwest-North conference, one that has become home to clubs successful on and off the pitch, is La Crosse Aris center back Ryan Bammel Maxwell.
Born in Spanish Town, located in the Jamaican parish of St. Catherine, Maxwell came to the United States in 2016 on a scholarship for Iowa lakes Community College, later transferring to Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey.
Maxwell joined La Crosse Aris for the 2018 NPSL season, knowing that the club had a history of struggling but also confident that he could use the opportunity to benefit both himself and the club, who gained attention toward the end of the season when they managed a 0-0 draw against eventual conference champions Minneapolis City.
“My experience with LC Aris was very good. They gave me the opportunity to play soccer at the next level other than just playing soccer in college. We had the youngest team in our NPSL conference… but I’m proud that I represent them and hopefully would sign again with them for the 2019 season.”
Maxwell had good things to say about the role the NPSL has come to play in his developing soccer career. “[The] NPSL is very good because it’s a semi pro development league that can be a showcase for you to go to the next level.”
Maxwell’s current aim is to work his way to a professional contract, following the tracks of major successes from the north conference like Joseph Stanley Okumu, now with the Real Monarchs in the USL Championship and the Kenyan National Team after impressing with AFC Ann Arbor, and Brandon Bye, who played with Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Minneapolis City before joining the New England Revolution.
Maxwell’s pursuits, however, are not simply to reach a bigger stage in the game. Instead he hopes to use the fruits of his labor to provide support and opportunities for the next generation.
“My goals as a player is to become a professional player… If I do become a professional player, I would like to build my own academy to give kids back home the opportunity to either go professional or the opportunity to study and play collegiate soccer in America, so they can get exposure and other things.”
Maxwell had this to say when summarizing his journey in soccer. “I used to play soccer without shoes so I would always kick my toes nails out because we use to play on the street we didn’t have a field… I started playing with the adults in the ghetto but I was always different from the rest. I went to school even when I didn’t have lunch money but my grandmother would make sure that my belly was full every morning… She’s my biggest motivator and she keeps me going but all my family and real friends back home show me their full support and encourage me… I’m also thankful for Renee Jedicka and Janeice Gerrad and a few other people that help me on my lonely journey in America.”
Maxwell, currently aiming for an improved season with LC Aris in 2019, is still on the early steps of his journey, but is an example of the talents developing their game in the lower leagues of this country and in college, even in clubs that fail to grab headlines with their results.
- Dominic Bisogno
Player Profile graphic artwork provided by Cory Mizer, check out his gallery!