FC Tulsa will hit the pitch Monday for the first time since the pandemic shut down competition. Goalkeeper Bryan Byars has stayed busy by picking up a pair of new hobbies along the way.
No one is more familiar with FC Tulsa and the OKC Energy FC than Tulsa goalkeeper Bryan Byars. Byars has been in the net for both teams since 2017.
“You know, to have the big rivalry for the first game back, I think is very special especially being an Oklahoman myself,” FC Tulsa coach Michael Nsien said. “I have been in pretty much all of them, so it is a big game and I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Let’s call Byars “Mr. Oklahoma.” Byars grew up in Putnam City and attended college in Chickasha. The goalkeeper has seen soccer grow in popularity statewide.
“Growing up, when I was younger, playing pro was obviously the goal but there were no pro teams,” Byars said. “All of a sudden, in college, we were going to have two pro teams and I was like, ‘What?’ That was kind of a shock which is nice. I get to do what I love every day and get paid for it."
Soccer isn’t Byars’ only passion. The COVID-19 pandemic provided Byars time to work on his other talents.
“Well, you know, obviously, I had a little book club over the quarantine,” Byars said. “And I decided to build a ukulele. I just kept myself busy.”
Byars also carved reading books.
“I built it from scratch,” Byars said. “I found, basically, the body of it and built everything else. It’s painted. It just needs strings and it will be finished.”
Perhaps Byars’ style of play off the pitch will spur FC Tulsa to a lot of victories.
“Whatever I have to do to make sure the team is in a good mood before games,” Byars said. “That’s what I’m here for.”