Ryan Guy did it all for the New England Revolution. Playing with the club from 2011-2013, he saw time at every position except left back and goalkeeper. Although not always a starter during his tenure, he did establish himself as a driven and reliable player. The versatility and skills that Guy developed while with the Revs were valuable to both the team and individual.
Guy joined the Revs after four years with St. Patrick's Athletic of Ireland. He enjoyed the lifestyle, culture and soccer tactics of the country, but the economic crisis reduced playing opportunities. Stores were closing on a daily basis and most Irish clubs were unable to properly pay their players. Unwilling to accept the status of part-time player, Guy returned stateside in 2011.
The University of San Diego graduate trialed with the Portland Timbers and FC Dallas before eventually signing with the Revs in June. Under head coach Stevie Nicol, Guy was solely deployed as an outside midfielder. This changed when Jay Heaps took over the reigns as the new gaffer moved Guy around the field.
"It ended up being a time where I needed to learn a lot," Guy explained. "I needed to change some stuff about my own game, becoming a kind of utility player for a year or so. It was a time where I got to work on my trade."
Guy was more than willing to embrace the role of utility man, understanding that these types of players are highly coveted in a league with strict roster rules. Guy's athleticism and intelligence made him the perfect player to experiment with. There were times that Guy believed that his flexibility was an asset and other times where he viewed it as a hindrance.
"As much as I loved being that utility guy for the Revs, I feel like I lost my identity in a specialized position," Guy said. "I think that once I became utility, I wasn't ‘specialized' in a position. It's both a good and a bad thing."
Guy was released by the Revolution at the end of 2013, which he described as "quite a mutual decision." Although there was talk of extending his stay in New England, Guy wanted to explore other options, both in and out of MLS. The versatile player hoped to find more consistent playing time in a more permanent position.
When nothing serious materialized, he returned home to California and began to play with the San Diego Flash of the NPSL. Guy has relished the opportunity to be closer to family and reconnect with head coach Warren Barton, but still hopes to accomplish more professionally.
"As a footballer, you're never happy until you're at the level of football that's at your level or beyond," Guy said. "But I'm playing under Warren Barton, who did a lot in helping me get to the Revs in the first place. He's teaching me a lot, even though the level isn't quite where I want to be."
Operating primarily as a midfielder, Guy has already contributed some stellar performances that could help initiate his next move. His status as a Guam international will also be beneficial as it will unlock opportunities in Asia.
"My position as a Guam national team player has given me the ability to be seen as an Asian football player," Guy stated. "With that comes opportunities in Eastern Asia--places like Australia--where they have different positions."
Guy went on to explain that many Asian leagues have designated roster slots for Asian players that come from outside of the country. Guy, who is the son of former Guam senator Jesse Lujan, would fit the criteria to fulfill one of those slots. A move to an Asian league would ideal as it would put him closer to Guam. He's especially interested in playing in Thailand, Japan, Malaysia or Australia.
Guy has found that each Asian league looks to use their player slots differently. He pointed out that Japanese teams tend to look for strikers and center midfielders while many Australian clubs sign wingers. Fortunately for Guy, he can play any of those positions.
"I'm privileged to be able go into those countries saying that I am those things because truly I have been there, I have played there, I have done it." Guy said.
While Guy doesn't mind being the utility player, he would like to settle on a position. He believes that his best contributions are made while in the middle of the park, but realizes that his next club will likely dictate where he plays.
"I haven't really decided on what I'm going to be because at the end of the day it looks like it's going to depend on where I end up," Guy enlightened.
Guy looks back fondly on his time in New England, praising the fans and the organization. He's particularly grateful for the chance to explore different positions. At 28 years old, he still has plenty of productive playing years ahead of him. The experiences that he had in New England will help him during the rest of his playing career and beyond.
"I'm hoping that it will help me come to the later part of my career stronger, and maybe even the future career in coaching-to help me better understand the rest of the field as I'm trying to help all players out," Guy remarked.