Where do you live? Mosta
Full-time job: P.E Teacher
Other job: Semi-professional footballer
Team: Mosta F.C
Ryan Grech has had a full and interesting career, experiencing and playing in many Maltese teams. For more than six years, he was part of the Maltese National Team. Starting his journey at the Sliema Nursery with the Under-7s, he became a full member of the Sliema Wanderers F.C.
Sliema at the time had the first synthetic pitch, so it was quite a popular club for young players who wanted to test themselves. When he was 18, Ryan transferred to the Pieta’ Hotspurs, where he played his first match in the Premier League, and after that, continued his lifelong passion with Lija F.C, Balzan F.C, Tarxien F.C and the Vittoriosa Stars, after which he once again joined the Wanderers.
As of 2012, Ryan has been playing in the midfielder position with Mosta F.C, having left the Malta National Team when he was nineteen years old. Ryan has taken part in a number of friendly matches abroad, meeting various talented footballers, along the way. Three years ago, he attended a match in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, while he was a member of the Sliema Wanderers and he played against OFK Belgrade in Serbia last year with Mosta F.C.
Apart from football, Ryan has dedicated his life to children. Teaching is a family vocation, as both his mother and his sister are teachers, and he happily combined his love of football and physical exercise to his devotion for kids, becoming a P.E teacher. He was also one of the organisers of the Puttinu Charity match in Hamrun for three years running, where he also took part as one of the players.
Ryan is a very friendly and extrovert person – he loves travelling, trekking, listening to deep house music, going out with his many friends, as well as spending quality time with his family. On the other hand, he cannot stand ignorance and obtuseness.
How is your relationship with your team – are you just colleagues or do you spend your free time together?
Being a footballer helps you to have many friends. My relationship with my team mates has always been a great one, and in fact, I still sometimes hang out with ex team-mates, as well as with friends from my current club, too. This helps with keeping up the team spirit, which is very important. Being involved in a club means that you have to work and get along with loads of different people. I hate working with people who have hidden agendas and with ignorant individuals, however unfortunately you find these people everywhere. My tactic is to remain calm, patient, and to act with sense.
What do you do to keep fit and healthy?
Basically, I match good food with exercise. Eating different nutrients in reasonable portions and training seriously every day is the key to health. One must also feel good about one’s self.
Has football ever created problems in your everyday life?
Personally, injuries caused the most challenging periods in my career. The worst thing about injuries is not the injury itself, but its rehab. Since I work fulltime, come what may the morning after training, I have to wake up at 6.30am to go to work. Being a P.E teacher makes things even worse, since I obviously have to be involved physically during lessons, demonstrating skills to my students.
Who is your inspiration and why?
Paul Scholes, the retired Manchester United footballer, has always been someone whom I really admired. He used to play as a midfielder and had great vision. He was a team player and not someone concerned with personal triumphs. This was what I used to admire most about him and I was very fortunate to meet him ten years ago, when he came to Malta.
Is it hard to be a footballer in Malta?
Footballers in Malta are very misunderstood. Many try to compare us to footballers in foreign teams, who play full-time as a job and who can benefit from long hours of training, every day. Most Maltese footballers have another full-time job, apart from their football career. They work till 4 or 5 in the evening, and go straight to train, afterwards. It would be a different story were we to be full-time paid footballers, with the chance to train in the morning and afternoon, while resting in between and following a structured regime, as professional foreign players do.
What do you like most about football?
I enjoy being part of a team, working towards a common goal, and being there for one another. It is just like a family, on and off the field of play.