Ryan Francisco is certainly among the most vibrant players on the team. With his signature blue helmet and shirt-combo, Francisco is easily recognized on the field, where we’ll usually find him running the athletic LSM-position. Now, we get him into the spotlight, where he tells us all about what makes Ryan Francisco tick. We’ll learn about his experiences with the sport of lacrosse, his love and appreciation for his hometown of Washington Township, and his goal of becoming a math teacher.
Q. What kind of person would you describe yourself as?
A. “Probably very outgoing, hard-working, dedicated, very personable, I’m always looking to help out. Whether it be coaching lacrosse or anything in the community.”
Q. Do you do any community work?
A. “Yeah, I’ve been volunteer coaching for three years in my hometown, Washington Township. My first two years I did youth and this is my first year doing high school.“
Q. What as life like in Washington Township?
A. “I moved to Washington Township in 10th grade, it was probably like three days before lacrosse try-outs. I made the team there and I loved it, I loved being there. I’m studying to be a teacher, so I’m hoping to teach there when I’m done here. There was always lacrosse, school, and I was very involved in like other activities, but it was good. I mean, very big on school spirit, academics were great, and it was nice because my sisters went to school there as well.”
Q. It’s going to come full-circle, huh?
A. “Full-circle, yep, that’s the plan. I hope to teach math there, coach lacrosse, be an advisor, and be as involved in the students’ lives as the teachers I had there.”
Q. You seem to be a charismatic person, where do you think that comes from?
A. “I mean, I got to give credit where credit is due, it’s definitely my dad. He’s raised my sisters and I since we were six, five and two, and now we’re all here actually at Rowan University. I learned everything from my dad but being charismatic, that’s definitely from him.”
Q. How did you start playing lacrosse?
A. “I’ve been playing since I was in 5th grade, so I was 10 years-old, I’m turning 23 this year, so 13 years. I was a short, chubby kid, so I wasn’t athletic at all. My neighbor played lacrosse and I wanted to try it. I used to play middie, and then I found out that with defense you don’t run as much and so I went with that. Then, as I continued to play lacrosse, I got faster and I liked playing defense and LSM.”
Q. What kind of training have you been doing?
A. “Just basic stuff like working out in the gym; a lot of footwork drills with the cones and ladders. Playing here’s the first time I’ve played on an actual team since high school, but I usually just go to the gym two or three times a week.”
Q. Have you been here at Rowan since you were a freshman?
A. “No, this actually is my first year here at Rowan, I’m a transfer. I transferred from Rowan College of Gloucester County. I got my Associate’s in Mathematics there. Before that, I was at St. Joseph’s University in the fall of 2011 but I actually took a year off and I worked to help my family out and so I worked for a year and then came back to school part-time. I’m glad I’m here at Rowan now, it’s a great school, and its got everything I need or could want from a college.”
Q. What’re some perks to playing LSM?
A. “LSM right now, it’s me, THE Tom Case, Conroy, and Fisher. We get along really well, I’m glad I met them, I’m glad I met the whole team. I guess the perks would be that you’re in, you stop the ball, and you come right off, you take a breather, and you get a sip of water. It’s a lot of fun. I like being able to dictate where to take the midfielder down the field. Then, you get a big slide from the defense and I feel it just hypes up the team.”
Q. What’re some hobbies that you’ve got?
A. “Aside from lacrosse, just working-out. I’m really nerdy, I like doing math for fun, and I could do the Rubik’s Cube, that’s a big one for me.”
Q. What do you like about math?
A. “I like that there’s concepts and problems you can solve and you can always get an answer. I was always good at math, I could always see how to get an answer. I kind of like helping people see math. So, that’s partly why I’m going to be a teacher.”
Q. Where would you like to go with your degree?
A. “So, I will be graduating here in the fall of 2017. I will have a degree in math, a degree in teaching with an endorsement in Special Ed. So, I hope to take my degree to any high school, preferably Washington Township. I want to be a math teacher or a Special Ed. teacher. I feel like either way, I’ll enjoy it. I know I’d be lucky to teach anywhere and I’ll try to learn how to be the best teacher I can for the students.”
Q. How did you get along with the kids you coached?
A. “I was 19 when I first coached. At first it was kind of like I was the young guy and they don’t really pay attention or listen, and then I got the hang of it. I always got along with the kids very well, I was always able to relate to them. I felt like there was a good amount of respect between the kids and I. It’s actually funny, I’m actually coaching some of the kids I first coached and they’re driving, so now I feel like so old. Now, some of them will be coming here next year maybe, and I could play with them, which is funny.”
Q. You think you’d ever coach at Washington Township?
A. “I hope so. If the opportunity presents itself, it’d be great. I know this coming spring I’m a volunteer coach there, so I’ll help out when I can. If a position opens up and I’m ready to teach there and if there’s an opening for that too, that’d be great. Anything I can do to give back to that school. I mean, it’s done so much for me and my family.”
Q. When you’re with your team, what kind of role do you play?
A. “I’ve always been good at speaking, hyping up the team, motivating, I always try to stay up on the positives. I just try to have fun. We played in one tournament and I had to miss the second set of games because I was actually coaching. The opportunity to play for a team again is great. Every time I’m there I’m just trying to make sure everyone’s having a good time, we’re having fun, and we’re playing hard. At the end of the day, it’s all about playing with your brothers. Coming here and actually making the team, it makes me feel good. I’d do anything I can do to help them.”
Q. I hear you did Zumba® at the breast cancer walk, how’d that go?
A. “Mizz (Matt Liss) was talking about it a lot and Colin was talking about doing Zumba® as like a warm-up to the walk. I’m really big into dancing, it’s one of my jobs, I D.J. So, it was fun, I’ve taken Zumba® before, it was a lot of fun. I don’t know how good at it I was, but it was just good to support. I know when we were doing it, there were a bunch of breast cancer survivors in front of us and they were loving it. It was for a great cause and anything I can do to just have fun with the guys is great.”