Ryan Pore

Madison graduate Ryan Pore addresses the audience during the University of Tulsa athletic hall of fame induction ceremony last month.

MADISON TOWNSHIP — If he had it to do over again, Ryan Pore wouldn’t change a thing.

The 2002 Madison graduate is living his dream.

A two-time All-American and the 2004 Soccer America Player of the Year, Pore was inducted into the University of Tulsa’s Athletic Hall of Fame last month. The five-person Class of 2022 included Olympians Chris O’Hare (track and field) and Michelle Sechser (rowing), Super Bowl champion Jeb Blount and legendary basketball coach Tubby Smith.

“It’s something you never dream of, but it’s super-humbling to go in with Olympians and Tubby Smith, who won a national championship as a coach,” Pore said. “It’s a humbling experience to go in with that type of class.”

It’s an experience that, had everything gone according to Pore’s original plan, never would have taken place. A two-sport All-Ohioan at Madison, Pore never planned to leave the Buckeye State.

“I didn’t really want to leave Ohio. I obviously wanted to go to Ohio State,” Pore said. “I kind of went under-recruited by Ohio schools. I went on visits to Akron, Cincinnati and Dayton.

“Once I knew I was getting recruited pretty hard by Tulsa, that’s the direction I went. The coach saw me at a regional event when I was playing for my club team in Cleveland and he was very persuasive.”

The move proved to be the right one. Pore was inserted into the starting lineup his freshman year and spent the next three seasons re-writing Tulsa’s record book.

Before becoming arguably the greatest player in program history, however, there was an adjustment period for Pore. The youngest of Ron and Rhonda Pore’s three children suddenly found himself alone in an unfamiliar city almost 1,000 miles from home.

“Luckily, college soccer is a fall sport. You have to hit the ground running. You’re so busy and games come so quickly that you really have no time to be homesick,” Pore said. “It’s really that first spring the following year that things start to slow down and a little homesickness starts to set in. By that time I was already adjusted and made new friends and I never really thought about leaving.

“I was lucky to have success my freshman year. Once I became an important player my first year that helped me to adapt pretty quickly. (Head coach) Tom McIntosh believed in me and put me in the starting lineup from the first game and I never really looked back.”

As a sophomore in 2003, Pore helped Tulsa reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The following year, he guided the Golden Hurricane to the Elite Eight.

In three seasons at Tulsa, Pore scored 51 goals and registered 123 points. He ranks second on TU’s career list in both categories.

Pore decided to forego his senior year and signed a Generation Adidas contract. He was selected by the Kansas City Wizards with the 16th overall pick in the second round of the 2005 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

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“There were definitely reservations (about leaving college early) because we were going to have a very good team coming back. We had another All-American striker, Kyle Brown, who tore his ACL my last year. He was coming back the following year,” Pore said. “The big part for me was, everyone said my first couple years I was having success because of Kyle. Then my third year I had success without him.

"I proved to myself that I was ready and it gave me confidence to move on to the next level.”

Pore played for the Wizards from 2005 to 2008, scoring three goals in 58 appearances. He spent the next three years with Portland Timbers and was selected the league MVP in 2010 before being loaned to the North American Soccer League’s Montreal Impact. He retired after the 2011 season.

Pore and wife Ashley returned to Tulsa so he could finish his education. He joined McIntosh’s coaching staff as an assistant in 2013.

“I was in year seven of playing and I was in Portland. I had been loaned out to Montreal and we had just had our son (Luca). I didn’t really want to keep trying to get that next contract,” Pore said. “I wanted to go back and finish my education so we made the decision to move back to Tulsa.

"About a year-and-a-half later I decided I wanted to get into coaching and a job opened there as an assistant.”

Pore was elevated to Tulsa’s associate head coach in 2017 and stayed in the position until 2019. He was introduced as the University of Missouri-Kansas City head coach on Jan. 14, 2020.

“I love coaching. I couldn’t get away from the competition. That’s what I miss most as a player, but you still get that as a coach,” Pore said. “There are some sacrifices. I’m gone from the family a lot in the fall, but I’m able to be there in the spring and summer and still be dad. It’s a good balance for us.”

Pore’s first head coaching job came in the same city where his professional playing career began.

“My son turns 11 in June and my daughter (Stella) is 8. We’re back in Kansas City and they’re old enough to realize I played here (professionally),” Pore said. “Everything has come full circle.”

Pore’s children are following in their fathers’ footsteps.

“My son just made Sporting Kansas City’s academy team. He’s a very good player and probably a little bit further ahead than where I was at that age,” Pore said. “My daughter is pretty talented. It’s just a joy to watch them play.”

None of it would have been possible had Pore not rolled the dice in the early-2000s and accepted a scholarship to a university that bestowed its highest honor upon him at last month’s hall of fame induction ceremony.

“I’m pretty fortunate that the cards were dealt to me,” Pore said. “A lot of things kind of fell my way. I’m fortunate to be where I am now.”

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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