Ryan, Brandi Harty passing on love of soccer, sports to kids
The Harty family is an anchor in the Jamestown soccer community.
JAMESTOWN — There aren't many places where you will find all five members of the Harty family at one time.
"With three kids we are going three different directions half of the time but whenever there's a boys game in town, you know where to find us," Ryan Harty said. "We'll all be at the soccer fields supporting each other and being each other's biggest cheerleaders."
Ryan along with his wife and Jamestown High School head boys soccer coach Brandi have become anchors in the Jamestown soccer community with Brandi coaching and Ryan working the PA system at the games.
"I started dating Brandi in college so that's kind of how I got into it," Ryan said of how he got involved in soccer. "When we moved to Bismarck Brandi started coaching right away and one evening the normal PA person wasn't able to attend.
"She conned me into coming and since then I've been doing PA whenever I am able," he said. "I was always supporting her in her coaching career and it just kind of evolved over time."
Ryan is a Jamestown native and by his own admission "a sports junkie." After his time spent playing sports for JHS, he went on to play football at the University of Jamestown where he met Brandi, a four-year varsity team member for the UJ women's soccer team.
For the last 14 years, Harty was employed in education. He was the Jamestown Middle School principal from 2014 to 2021.
"My wife needed a PA person and that's kind of how I got going but now as a parent, I just want to support," Ryan said. "Without the PAs and the ticket-takers and the clock keepers and the officials, kids don't get to play.
"That's the most important thing is providing students and children the opportunities to play," he said. "That's the biggest reason I got involved was because I wanted the games to happen."
Getting the games to happen would be a lot tougher for Ryan and the rest of the Blue Jay parents if Brandi wasn't at the helm spearheading the operation.
"My parents signed me up (for soccer) at a very young age and I have loved it ever since," Brandi said. "I took a campus visit with my father and Jamestown College had a welcoming feel. The staff and current players on the team were very inviting and I felt it was a good fit for me."
Brandi was the first-ever women’s soccer player to be inducted into the University of Jamestown Hall of Fame.
She scored 63 goals and tallied 142 total points between 2000-03. She was a three-time All-Region III first-team selection and a three-time honorable mention All-American.
Brandi scored 18 goals in a season twice in her career as a freshman in 2000 and then again as a junior in 2002. She now teaches physical education at Jamestown Middle School and is the director of coaching for the Jamestown Soccer Club. Brandi said her love for the game only continued when she moved over to Bismarck and starting coaching.
"Seeing my players grow and develop over the season solidified my dedication to the sport," Brandi said. "(My) players are hard working, dedicated and passionate about the game.
"They play through so much adversity," she said. "It makes me so proud to coach these kids. They become a part of my family and this is just a bonus being their coach."
The community's kids aren't the only ones who have been coached up by the UJ Hall of Famer.
Ryan and Brandi have three children: Brady, Evan and Maddie. Evan and Brady play soccer through the JHS program and all three are a part of multiple soccer teams.
"I have always given my children the opportunity to play a variety of sports," Brandi said. "However, when they joined soccer I was able to provide positive feedback on their play or encouraged them to try new skills. It also has helped that they have been exposed to very knowledgeable and successful coaches.
"Their experience in soccer has been wonderful. I believe that this is a huge factor in their decisions to continuing playing."
Brady started playing soccer when he was 2 years old. He started playing with a local club in Bismarck while Brandi was the head coach of the BHS soccer team. A few years later when the family moved to Velva, Brady transitioned to playing with a club in Minot. He's been playing soccer in Jamestown since the Hartys moved back to the Buffalo City eight years ago.
Brady is currently ranked second on the Blue Jay boys soccer team in terms of points accumulated. The sophomore is responsible for a pair of goals and a pair of assists for four total points.
He has been a part of the JHS varsity roster exclusively since his eighth grade season. The sophomore has also been a selection for the Regional ODP ID Camp in 2019, 2020 and 2022.
Evan, an eighth grader this year, took a couple of years off and played football but then decided to come back this year. Evan has been playing in net for the JHS JV team. Maddie, the youngest member of the Harty crew, was a part of a summer soccer team this last summer.
"It all stems from Brandi's love of the game," Ryan said. "She spearheaded it, played all the way through college and has continued to give back to the youth through coaching.
"I enjoy going and watching and being a Blue Jay and supporting the hometown and where I am from," he said. "It's pretty fun watching my kids wear the same colors I did growing up."
While they are at the soccer fields a good portion of the year, the Hartys aren't just about soccer. Brady runs track for the Blue Jays in the spring while Evan plays baseball and Maddie participates in gymnastics.
"I love that our kids are multi-sport athletes," Ryan said. "We need that in Jamestown to be successful. We talk soccer, we watch soccer games and things like that but we're a sports family, doesn't matter what sport it is."