The senior central midfielder and second-year captain for the Gators (5-1-2 in the Friends’ Schools League as of Oct. 24) is the leading points scorer in the FSL. Last fall, he was a first team All-Main Line and All-Friends’ Schools League selection. Shipley head coach Thom Schauerman said, “Ronan is a huge asset to our team and draws a lot of attention from our opponents, and this allows everyone around him to play with more freedom and less pressure. He not only scores goals but is extremely unselfish in and around the goal.” Higgins also is captain of the Shipley boys’ varsity basketball squad. Off the pitch and court, he is Student Government Vice President and involved in Model Congress. On Tuesday Oct. 24, Higgins committed to Dickinson College.
Q: Tell us a little about how you view your leadership role as a captain, and how you feel you can best fill that leadership role. Can you give us an example of how you have fulfilled that role this season (on the field or off)?
A: I take the role of captain very seriously; I try to lead by example and I try to better the team in every way possible. I think I can best fill that leadership role by taking it personally, to always be the loudest on the field, so I can direct, lead and help us to be successful.
Q: Have you always played midfielder? What do you think are the most important attributes necessary to be a standout midfielder?
A: I have always considered myself to be a central player on the field. By that, I mean either center back, center mid, or center forward. When I was younger, I was a center back and as I hit Middle School I turned into a center mid/striker. I think being a central player really helps me to stay involved and be a focal point in the game. Being a central midfielder, I find that it is the easiest position for me to get the ball and to create, which is my favorite aspect of the sport.
Q: What do you think has been the biggest key to your fine offensive production this fall?
A: I think the key to offensive production for me has been to try to be patient and unselfish. I like to set high goals for myself, but scoring goals alone are not what I try to be about. If I can impact the game in a positive way by bringing my teammates into it, I am happy. Who scores the goal at this point isn’t all that important to me. Although we have had our ups and downs, it is not about statistics for me. I don’t try to force goals or shots because I find that they come more easily when I am patient and let the game come to me.
Q: How did you like playing at Talen Energy Stadium Oct. 3? Can you share with us your most vivid memory of your experience down there?
A: That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I really enjoyed playing in such a remarkable stadium under the lights in front of my family and friends. My most vivid memory of that game was definitely how my team fought and battled throughout extra time. It was not easy to play on a field that large for 100 minutes, but everyone gave 100 percent the whole time and we walked off the field into that locker room as a family and that was definitely a defining moment in our season.
Q: What in your opinion has been the highlight of your Shipley soccer career to date?
A: The highlight of my Shipley soccer career is probably my overtime winning goal against Roman Catholic with only seconds left, but it is hard to choose because there have been many great highlights, especially during my freshman year because we were the best high school soccer team I have seen to this date and I got to play alongside my brother, Conor, which is something I will remember forever.
Q: What are your thoughts about the concussion awareness program in place at Shipley?
A: The concussion awareness program is an incredible thing to be a part of and I am honored that I can help the program and doctors study data and better the sport along with other sports. Concussions are a serious issue and I admire their pro-activeness and dedication to addressing the problem.
Q: What is your favorite class at Shipley? What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: My favorite class at Shipley is a class called Prohibition to Pop, which is a history course. I think I would like to Major in business at college. I’m not sure if there is a specific career path that interests me but I am definitely interested in International relations, as I hope to one day learn Spanish fluently and use that in my future career.
Q: You wear No. 13 for Shipley. Was there a reason you chose this number – does it have any significance to you?
A: I know 13 is an unlucky number, but there is a legacy behind it here at Shipley. It started with a kid named Zac Arch (Class of 2011), then Sam Marks (Class of 2013), then Dan Leone (Class of 2014). Then, after that, my older brother Conor wore 13 so there is a great history behind No. 13. I was going to choose a classic number like 10 or 7, but my brother talked me into wearing 13 and carrying on the legacy.
Q: Who have been your biggest soccer mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?
A: One of my biggest soccer mentors to this day is definitely my coach here at Shipley, Thom Schauerman. He has helped me become the player I am today and we have really gained a strong relationship over the last four years. Another soccer mentor and life mentor is my Dad, who is my toughest critic and biggest fan at the same time. He is my Gaelic football coach, which is a great sport to be involved in and the biggest game in Ireland – I play midfielder for the Delaware County Gaels.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience as a Shipley basketball player – can you share your memory of it with us?
A: My most memorable experience in a Shipley basketball uniform is definitely our win against Hazleton Area High School my sophomore year. Our team took a trip to Hazleton and really bonded as a group and team. In the game, Kiyon Hardy (Class of 2017) had an exciting buzzer-beater and we were able to win the championship game of the tournament. My Dad was also my basketball coach growing up.
Fun facts – Ronan Higgins
Favorite book: The Great Gatsby.
Favorite author: Stephen King.
Favorite TV show: Stranger Things.
Favorite movie: Slumdog Millionaire.
Favorite athlete: Conor McGregor.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: The Foggy Dew by Sinéad O’Connor.
Favorite team: Manchester United.
Favorite place to visit: Galway, Ireland (“my Dad’s hometown”)
Favorite pre-game meal: pasta with vodka sauce.
Favorite color: Blue.
Person I most admire, and why: “My grandfather, Tom McAllister, because I admire his kindness as a person and how he never missed a game of mine growing up. I think of him when I’m on the field.”
Family members: parents Tom and Dee, sister Ciara, brothers Conor and Tommy.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)