Urie back after trip to Nepal
West Glover native looking to build on experience
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - West Glover’s Riley Urie has overcome a lot of challenges to get where he is today.
“I was adopted from St. Louis, Missouri,” Urie said. “I came to small town West Glover, Vermont. I was pigeon toed when I was adopted. My parents were told I would be in the wheelchair in high school. My dad would put my shoes on opposite feet to straighten my feet. Not many people know that about me, but it is just like, I’ve overcome a lot in my life.”
Soccer wasn’t even his preferred sport growing up. Urie was focused on basketball, waiting for a growth spurt that never came. But when he capped his high school soccer career with a pair of D2 state titles at Lake Region, he knew he had an opportunity.
“That’s one of the best experiences,” Urie said of those high school teams. “After the first one, I was still focused on basketball. That second season, yhere was more pressure on me because that’s when I knew I wouldn’t grow. So I figured I wanted to play soccer in college.”
His post-high school career began in junior college, at Herkimer out in New York.
“We had a lot of success,” Urie said of Herkimer. “My coach Pat really helped me a lot to develop, see a high level. We had a lot of guys from Norway, a lot of guys from South Africa, Jamaica. We had guys from Germany and those guys really helped me develop and say, ‘Wow, yeah, these guys are technical.’ They really helped me on my touch.”
Urie transferred to UVM after two years to play for the Catamounts, but saw limited action with injuries playing a key role. But heading into his final semester of undergrad, he got the opportunity to test his skills on a different stage entirely.
“I ended up going, with my boys from here from Vermont, to this tournament called the Peace Zone Cup in Akron, Ohio,” he said. “And it’s like the biggest Nepalese tournament. I ended up having a really good tournament. A couple days later, I got text, these people trying to contact me and it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re going to Nepal next year. We want you to come with us.’”
Urie spent about a month in the Himalayan country playing in their professional league and experiencing the culture.
“Honestly, it was eye opening,” Urie said. “We got to go to refugee camps. We gave back a lot to the, their kids over there and the families. The stadiums are absolutely gorgeous. We got to see the Himalayas, Mt. Everest. It was crazy to think I was there. And honestly I can’t wait to go back.”
Urie returned to Vermont and graduated from UVM before landing a spot with Vermont Green FC this summer. But after the USL 2 season, Urie hopes to return to Nepal, reconnect with the country and its culture, and eventually parlay that into more opportunities elsewhere.
“A lot of people in Nepal, after I’d played the tournaments, they said if I came back and played well I would be able to get into the Indian or Japanese leagues. I do want to go see other places. If you can travel playing soccer, first building a resume, getting good game film, and then hopefully showing your talents and abilities...then come home to maybe play in MLS. That’s what I would want to do.”
Urie and the Green are back home at Virtue Tuesday night.
Copyright 2022 WCAX. All rights reserved.