KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Dobyns-Bennett senior Ryan True has been kicking a soccer ball around since he was three years old.
“It was just kind of love from the beginning,” he explained, “I grew up playing rec and then transitioned to travel soccer and my love just kept growing.”
From the beginning, True was always trying to out-do his older sister.
“She’s two years older than me and so we were always about the same size and so it was fun, because we would always be competing against each other,” he said. “That was just the way I got better, and I guess made her better, too.”
True has thrived between the posts as a goalkeeper for much of his playing days.
“Middle school I fell out of love with it,” he recalled. “I played the field a little bit and realized that I liked playing keeper.”
With his final high school season coming up this spring, he believes the Tribe is well-positioned to make a deep postseason run.
“This is the best team I’ve been on since we’ve been here,” he said. “I just think we have a lot of goals set for ourselves and I think we can achieve those goals and maybe progress further than we have before.”
There’s a little more time for True on the pitch now that he’s stepped down from podium.
He started in the Dobyns-Bennett High School marching band playing the baritone saxophone, with eyes on, one day, becoming a section leader.
“I like to get input from others and kind of be the leader of groups,” he said.
But, he quickly realized he wanted to take on an even larger role.
“I wanted to do more holistic band things than just staying in my section,” he explained.
So, he ascended to drum major of the prestigious band – making music and memories to last a lifetime.
“I was in the Rose Parade and that was a really fun experience – never thought I would go to California,” he said.
Not to mention multiple Grand National Championships in Indianapolis. But, none of it happened without hours of hard work.
“We get folders with all our music in them and all our drill,” he said. “Before I was drum major, it just kind of magically showed up there.”
“So, being the drum major, you’re the magic that puts it there.”
True is lined up to attend Milligan University in the fall to play in the newly-formed pep band – and to compete on the triathlon team.
“[My family and I] went downtown Chattanooga and there was an IRONMAN race going on and we saw it,” he recalled. “My dad thought it was really interesting, so he started getting into it.”
“Then over COVID – I was sitting around and not doing anything and my mom was going out on a bike ride so I asked her if I could come with her,” he continued. “Just from that day on – I’ve loved it.”
It might come as a surprise, but True believes the preparation necessary to compete with a marching band and in a triathlon race share a similar value that he appreciates.
“Those two really helped give me more mental focus throughout time,” he said, “to just push through and be like it’s hard now, but it’s worth it in the end.”