Moon shining bright again at Stellenbosch
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Ryan is back home in Pietermaritzburg and enjoying quality time with his family during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
The 23-year-old Stellenbosch FC striker says it’s the first time in three years that he’s been able to be around his loved ones and is cherishing every moment with his parents - his dad played for Maritzburg United - and three brothers. But he’s got a lot of soccer homework to do daily and won’t be bunking any classes.
Time away from the game due to the coronavirus pandemic allows the Maritzburg College old boy to reflect on a career that has seen him playing for his country, Maritzburg United and Kaizer Chiefs in the Absa Premiership.
In an odd quirk Moon went to College on a rugby scholarship, but football was the path that saw him sign for Maritzburg United as a professional at the age of 17 and he subsequently played for Bafana Bafana. His brother, Bryce, also played for SA.
Ryan also pursued a career in the European leagues but things didn’t pan out in Scotland, Hungary and France. Those setbacks, for him, were just the way things are in the sport but a motivator too.
He will never forget his first two matches for Bafana in the Chan Cup that saw him score on both occasions against Botswana.
“Definitely memorable moments to be cherished," said Moon, who wants to win his place back and believes he will as long as he gets to play more regularly for Stellies, which has been the case of late. He’s already scored four goals for the Winelands-based club he joined in August.
He arrived shy on game time and minus a pre-season after those stints abroad, the last in France where a deal was almost reached, before the call to come home and join a club in its maiden season in the Premiership.
Stellies have big ambitions, they aren’t in a competition to make up the numbers, and Moon is just the kind of player to help the team realise its goals and aspirations.
“I got the chance to come to the Western Cape and here I am playing for a team I knew was the perfect fit for me in every way,” said Moon. “It’s probably one of the best decisions I made; I’m playing and enjoying myself. People wrote us off as the team to be relegated but here we are in 11th place on the table and set for a run of home games for the first time in Stellenbosch - at Danie Craven Stadium - one against rivals Cape Town City, which, if the league does resume again, will be a humdinger and one we want to win to make up for the 1-0 defeat in the first round.”
Stellies coach Steve Barker says Moon is a winner.
“Ryan has added huge value to the team. The moment he reached full match fitness he showed what a capable striker he is. He’s still young, he hasn’t got that much experience in terms of matches played, so he’s still learning a lot and growing with the game. He’s got fantastic attributes; there’s few players as good as him aerially, he’s got a great left boot, and he knows how to score goals. As a character he’s out of the top drawer.”