Ryan Schofield discusses his journey to Huddersfield Town
- Ryan Schofield on signing for his local club
- Goalkeeper discusses his Huddersfield Town roots
- Interview first seen in Town’s digital match day programme
I played in a Sunday tournament and there were a few clubs that spoke to Lepton, I think there were some bigger clubs than Huddersfield Town but for me, supporting the Club and being a local lad, it was what I dreamt of, so there was only one club I was ever going to choose.
I signed my first deal when I was nine, but I started training with the Club when I was around six or seven – I think I’m due a testimonial now!
I’d been to my first game well before I signed for the Club. My mum tells the stories of taking me just when I was a baby and I’d sleep when the games were on. I’ve been home and away following the Club all my life, I’ve been a Season Card holder for as long as I can remember.
There were players I obviously idolised growing up, players like Matt Glennon, Phil Senior, Danny Schofield, Worthy (Jon Worthington), Carsy (Tony Carss) and Boothy (Andy Booth) obviously as well.
It’s funny because after the game at Luton I sat next to Schoey (Danny Schofield) on the bus and we were reminiscing a little bit, obviously I remember watching him play, and we talked about the Chelsea FA Cup tie that he played in.
Balancing the schoolwork and the football when I was coming through the Academy was obviously difficult, but I had a lot of support from my family and the Club, it made it quite easy really and I still managed to come out with some good grades and end up with the best of both worlds really.
When I was in the Academy, it was an honour for me to get my first call-up for the England Under-18s. It came as a bit of a surprise, Clem (Paul Clements) told me about it. Going on to play against Qatar in that camp was something I’ll always cherish.
Later that summer, I had the opportunity to go to the Toulon Tournament with the Under-20s. I remember we weren’t expected to get out the group but the group of lads we had were brilliant, we all clicked, we bonded and managed to get the results on the pitch which was excellent.
To win it against the Ivory Coast and save a penalty was great. We scored early and they equalised in the 95th minute I think it was, so we thought all that had work had gone.
To go on and win it in the shootout, I can’t really take credit for the save because it was straight at me, but it was nice nonetheless!
Whilst I was in the Academy, the loan moves to FC United of Manchester and Telford also helped me massively in completely different ways. At FC United, the lads and the Club were excellent and helped me through everything. My football was going well, and it was really good at the time and the first bit of men’s football for me.
My time at Telford didn’t really go as planned though. I had a bit of a sticky patch, but I think it made me more determined because I remember coming back here, sitting with Clem and talking about how much I learned from it.
It was tough, I was living away at the time in a place I’d never been before, but I think it really helped me with the spells at Notts County and in Scotland with Livingston more recently.
To build on those experiences and make my debut for Town last season against Lincoln was an honour. The result was obviously disappointing but on a personal note, it was a proud moment and I think for me, for my family and even for Clem who’s worked with me for so long, it meant a lot.
It was nerve-racking looking back at it and it was nice looking back to play in front of the fans and recreate what I was watching when the likes of Ales Smithies were coming through.
Then my Championship debut against Middlesbrough was one I didn’t know would happen until not too long before the game. Kamil (Grabara) was ill and about three or four hours before Clem told me that I’d be playing.
I have to give thanks to Danny and Nicky Cowley as well as Clem for having the confidence to put me in, and luckily, I could repay the faith and keep the clean sheet.
To take the momentum from those moments into this pre-season was important. I remember me, Clem, and Ben (Hamer) sat down and said about having a real good battle for that goalkeeping position going into the first game.
I had a good pre-season, as did Ben, and I think it would have been a real good competition leading into the season but then unfortunately I got the injury with my thumb and it set me back a while.
To be fair to Ben, he did excellently and then unfortunately for him he had to self-isolate with the Covid regulations, so I had a little opportunity and then I managed to take the chance when he had the groin problem as well.
It was a bit of luck and a bit of good management from everyone at the Club who managed to get me back into training and to get my chance.
Now that I’ve come this far and got myself into this position, I think it’s about not being complacent and always wanting to be better. I’m always wanting to improve, I’m the no.1 at the moment but that can change at any time.
Even after all these years, I still get that special feeling every time I put on the Huddersfield Town shirt. It’s something special. I just wish the fans were back in so we can play in front of them. They are a great fanbase and tremendous to play in front of.
I just want to repay them because I’ve been there, I know what it is like. It’s a shame for them not to be in the stands at the moment but whether they’re in the stadium or not, it’s a massive honour to pull on that shirt every time and be given the opportunity to go out and perform for my local club.