Huntersville native representing Team USA in Tokyo Olympics

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Huntersville native will be representing Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics this year. Ryder Ryan, a baseball player who attended North Mecklenburg High School, is a pitcher for the U.S. men’s national team.

Ryan, who had been playing minor league baseball in Texas, left for Tokyo earlier this week. He will be walking alongside dozens of other athletes from across the country Friday morning at the opening ceremony for the Olympic games.

Ryan’s family spoke with WBTV Thursday evening, explaining that they were shocked when Ryder told them he had been selected for the Olympic baseball team.

“We had to pinch ourselves for the first week. We’re like, looking online, checking our phones. Is this really happening?” said Sean Ryan, Ryder’s father.

Baseball has been a family affair for the Ryan family. Sean Ryan played professional baseball and one of Ryder’s brothers, River Ryan, is also a baseball player. Sean Ryan coached Ryder and River when they were student-athletes at North Mecklenburg High School. The father said he is proud of Ryder being selected to play for the Olympic baseball team.

“We’re really proud that he’s an Olympian, opportunity of a lifetime,” said Sean Ryan.

Ryder’s mother, Nina Ryan, echoed the sentiment.

“My dad would be so proud. All the family is proud of Ryder and his accomplishments and we just can’t wait to watch him and the team, go USA, bring back the gold,” said Nina Ryan.

While the family members are overjoyed for Ryder, they admitted it is disappointing they won’t be able to travel to Tokyo to watch him play. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no fans are allowed at the Olympic games.

“We looked at the website after we knew he was an Olympian and they said they had banned people from coming from abroad months ago,” said Sean Ryan.

Not only will Ryder be playing in Tokyo without his parents present, he’ll also be competing without his wife, Brynn, and infant son, Ronan, in attendance too. Brynn Ryan said she will still be watching the games on TV and cheering from afar.

“It doesn’t change really much for us. It’s obviously a little disappointing to not get to experience that in person, but I’m just really happy for him that he gets to experience it,” said Brynn Ryan.

Team USA’s first matchup will come on Friday, July 30 against Israel.

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