Ryan Relucio made it to the Dean’s List of Seton Hall University and acknowledged the skills and lessons he learned from the CNMI national team as a big help in gaining this latest achievement.
Relucio, who played for both the Commonwealth’s youth and men’s national teams, qualified for the Spring 2020 Dean’s List of the New Jersey-based university. Seton Hall recognizes undergraduate students completing all courses with a GPA of 3.4, with no grades lower than “C”, for the Dean’s List at the close of every semester. The Marianas High School graduate is a junior at Seton Hall, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Physics with a major in Engineering Track.
“Being a member of the national team has equipped me with many life and leadership skills that I am now able to implement as I pursue higher education. I have developed a sense of time management in college, which I initially struggled in. Coach Mita (Michiteru), Jersh (Angeles), and others before them, have instilled a sense of grit and hard work that has helped me during my times of struggle in school,” the 21-year-old said.
“My role in the national team required a combination of being a team player and a leader, sometimes simultaneously, and I’ve been able to implement many of those experiences in my classes and groups; I’ve learned to be more considerate yet committed and honest,” Relucio added.
The former captain of the CNMI Boys U18 National Team managed to juggle his time between his studies and soccer in his first year in college. He played recreational tournament in New Jersey and neighboring fields. Relucio wanted to try out for the school’s club team in his freshman year, but was not able to do so, as he opted to attend the trials for the CNMI Men’s National Team that played in Mongolia in the EAFF E-1 Football Championships 2019 Round 1. The Chalan Kanoa resident was a starter on the Blue Ayuyus’ squad in the East Asian Football Federation-sanctioned event.
Relucio would have continued playing soccer while studying in his sophomore year at Seton Hall if not for his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury. He’s now recovering from injury and has rejoined the national team’s training since he decided to stay on island and take online classes for the fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have the privilege to continue to train with the men’s national team. Our trainings have been modified to follow health and safety protocols, but the team and I are grateful that the islands’ response toward the pandemic has been great and that we are able to do more in training compared to other areas in the world. A handful of the other off-island players remained on island for the semester, so we have been jogging and training together during our off days as well,” Relucio said.
Thankful for the opportunities
Relucio would always take the offer to don the CNMI colors.
“Any chance to play for the national team is an opportunity to give back to the community. I have mentioned this so many times—the community, most especially NMIFA, have supported and provided opportunities for me and others growing up. Reflecting, we were fortunate to experience high-level soccer, visit other countries, and be exposed to opportunities we would not have if not for the national team,” Relucio said.
Through the national squad and Northern Mariana Islands Football Association’s program, Relucio’s former teammates and other CNMI players managed to continue their studies after getting athletic scholarships.
“We would love to share our story and knowledge with the hopes of inspiring others,” the former TanHoldings Football Club team captain.
Relucio also thanked NMIFA and its coaches and officials for building an amazing program, especially for the youth, and expressed his commitment to be part of it.
“There is history to be made, and I most definitely want to be a part of that. I have only experienced a draw at the senior level (1-1 against Macau in Mongolia), so I will not stop until I have experienced a win and more.”