Yukon soccer player signs on with Real Salt Lake

Yukoner Callum Wood Ryan had his life turned upside-down last month - but in a good way. The 16-year-old soccer player uprooted his life in Whitehorse after receiving an invited to play in Utah.

Yukoner Callum Wood Ryan had his life turned upside-down last month – but in a good way.

The 16-year-old soccer player uprooted his life in Whitehorse after receiving an invitation to play in Utah for the Real Salt Lake club’s developmental academy this season. The academy is affiliated with a Major League Soccer team by the same name.

Ryan was invited onto the team after displaying his on-field skills during a six-week camp during the summer.

“Living here is the dream,” said Ryan in an email to the News. “It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and even though it’s tough being away from home and the level of play is much higher, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Every day I train like it’s my last, and that’s the way I love it.”

Ryan originally attended the camp in hopes of securing a spot in trials for the MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps. In fact, he also wanted to tryout for Real Salt Lake, but he wasn’t allowed since Canadian players are off limits to American MLS teams.

When offered a spot on Salt Lake, he had to be released by the Whitecaps, who have priority over players in their district including Yukon.

“During the camp I trained very hard, and I improved a lot,” said Ryan. “At the end of the camp they asked me if I would come back for the school year, but I needed a release form from the Whitecaps because I’m part of their district. Of course I gratefully accepted the offer because at RSL we have the best facilities I’ve ever seen for a North American academy and you live in dorms at the fields, which is amazing.”

Ryan, who grew up in Dawson City and moved to Whitehorse at age 12, had a more red tape to cut through. It was a mad rush to get a student visa before the start of classes in early August.

He is currently attending Mission Heights Preparatory High School in Casa Grande, in the neighbouring state of Arizona.

“When I got back to Whitehorse after the camp I had to rush very quickly to get all of the forms handed in because I had to be back at the training grounds in Arizona in the next eight days,” said Ryan. “I thank my mom and my dad for helping me get those in because that was a lot of work. In the end I got the release form and I got a student visa to live in the U.S. and I got here by August 1, and started school on August 4.”

Ryan played for Yukon at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que.

He scored three goals at the Arctic Games to help Yukon’s juvenile male team place fourth.

Ryan has also played for Yukon at national championships and for the U18 Yukon Strikers at the USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament in Minnesota, leading up to the Canada Games last summer.

On Real Salt Lake’s under-16 team Ryan plays wing and right back. The team, which hasn’t had any regular season matches yet, will face other academies in the western U.S. and southern Canada this season, with their first tournament this weekend.

The club’s website boasts that both the U16 and U18 teams have made the league’s playoffs every year since it was founded. It also notes that every RSL-Arizona Academy graduate has either been offered college scholarships or professional contracts upon graduation.

“I would like to thank my parents for their support and willingness to let me leave,” added Ryan. “I would also like to thank all of my coaches back in the Yukon for preparing me for this opportunity. And I would tell my teammates back home that if I moved abroad to play, then they could too.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley gives a COVID-19 update during a press conference in Whitehorse on May 26. The Yukon government announced two new cases of COVID-19 in the territory with a press release on Oct. 19. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
Two new cases of COVID-19 announced in Yukon

Contact tracing is complete and YG says there is no increased risk to the public

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on April 8. Yukon Energy faced a potential “critical” fuel shortage in January due to an avalanche blocking a shipping route from Skagway to the Yukon, according to an email obtained by the Yukon Party and questioned in the legislature on Oct. 14. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Energy faced ‘critical’ fuel shortage last January due to avalanche

An email obtained by the Yukon Party showed energy officials were concerned

Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys), the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. “Our government is proud to be supporting Yukon’s grassroots organizations and First Nation governments in this critical work,” said McLean of the $175,000 from the Yukon government awarded to four community-based projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government gives $175k to projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women

Four projects were supported via the Prevention of Violence against Aboriginal Women Fund

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

When I was a kid, CP Air had a monopoly on flights… Continue reading

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Alkan Air hangar in Whitehorse. Alkan Air has filed its response to a lawsuit over a 2019 plane crash that killed a Vancouver geologist on board, denying that there was any negligence on its part or the pilot’s. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Alkan Air responds to lawsuit over 2019 crash denying negligence, liability

Airline filed statement of defence Oct. 7 to lawsuit by spouse of geologist killed in crash

Whitehorse city council members voted Oct. 13 to decline an increase to their base salaries that was set to be made on Jan. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council declines increased wages for 2021

Members will not have wages adjusted for CPI

A vehicle is seen along Mount Sima Road in Whitehorse on May 12. At its Oct. 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the third reading for two separate bylaws that will allow the land sale and transfer agreements of city-owned land — a 127-square-metre piece next to 75 Ortona Ave. and 1.02 hectares of property behind three lots on Mount Sima Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse properties could soon expand

Land sale agreements approved by council

Most Read