Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Defender Howe Has Excelled as a First-Year Player with STLFC

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Defender Howe Has Excelled as a First-Year Player with STLFC

Article excerpt

St. Louis FC coach Preki Radosavljevic and general manager Jeremy Alumbaugh were scouting a college game at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville late in October when the play of Loyola defender Ryan Howe got their attention.

"He was at centerback he's probably not big enough to play that position professionally but he definitely showed us some positive skills," Alumbaugh recalled. "We watched some tape, talked to his college coach and then watched him again at a pro combine workout in Detroit. That gave us a chance to see him outside his comfort zone, playing with and against some different players. We brought him in for a tryout, signed him and here we are."

Howe, a left back who celebrated his 24th birthday on Wednesday, has been a pleasant surprise as a first-year professional for STLFC, which hosts FC Cincinnati in a key United Soccer League match 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Soccer Park in Fenton.

With four games left in the regular season, STLFC (9-12-7) is two points behind eighth-place Orlando City B in the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Sixth-place FC Cincinnati is 10-9-9 with 4-0 and 2-0 victories over visiting STLFC this season.

"We know it won't be easy Cincinnati is good but we know what we have to do and we're confident we can find a way," Howe said. "We have to come out strong and play our game."

STLFC is coming off a 2-0 home win over Orlando City B. In that game, Howe helped set the tone with a 27-yard blast for a goal in the 10th minute. Then, with the home team playing a man down due to a red card, Christian Volesky added a second-half penalty kick.

For his efforts, Howe was named to the USL Team of the Week.

"Over the last month, Ryan has been one of our most consistent players," Alumbaugh said.

A Rockford, Ill., native, Howe followed his older brother James to Loyola and played a key role in the rebuilding effort under coach Neil Jones. The Ramblers went 6-11-2 in 2013, then set a program record for wins last fall, going 14-4-1 while reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament and finishing No. 21 in the season's final rankings.

"The experience I had at Loyola was great, on and off the field," said Howe, who earned a bachelor's degree and is just three classes short of a master's in accounting. …

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