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Former Skyhawks in the Spotlight: Chad Barrett

Skyhawk graduate talks about his years at Southridge and his long career in Major League Soccer

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Courtesy of RSL

Courtesy of RSL

Courtesy of RSL

Kyle Pinnell

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As Clint Dempsey’s attempted header came off the post, Chad Barrett was ready to strike. It was deep into stoppage time in the Seattle Sounders home opener with the game tied at zero. In a hectic scramble in the box, the ball bounced right to Barrett who redirected it into the back of the net for the game-winner.

“I was standing about three yards out, and the ball was just a little bit behind me, so I reached back with my right foot, whipped it around, gave it an awkward little bicycle, and I was able to get it in,” Barrett said. “That was one of the very first times that I have ever been in a stadium where I was screaming, but I couldn’t hear myself scream.”

A decade before that game against Sporting Kansas City Barrett was scoring similar goals for his high school team, the Southridge Skyhawks.

Chad Barrett’s senior picture.
Courtesy of Southridge Yearbook

Barrett was born in San Diego and moved five times before arriving in Beaverton. He spent his sophomore through senior years playing for Southridge and Westside before going to UCLA on an athletic scholarship.

His career stats are impressive: Over a decade spent in Major League Soccer with over fifty-eight goals on teams ranging from Toronto FC to the Seattle Sounders. In 2011 Barrett played a crucial role on an LA Galaxy team that won the MLS Cup. Barrett was second on the team in both goals (7) and assists (5), while sharing the field with players such as Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and David Beckham.

It was at Southridge where Barrett realized that he might have a real shot of playing the game he loved at a professional level. In 2002, Barrett scored 34 goals to help lead the Hawks to a 15-2 record and a first-place ranking heading into the playoffs. When he was 16, he started to garner attention from the U.S youth national teams and different colleges. Barrett had always prided himself on his work ethic, and when the scouts started to show up, he knew that he had found his ticket to college.

Barrett chasing after the ball during his sophomore season at Southridge.
Courtesy of Southridge Yearbook

The final game that Barrett played at Southridge was a semifinal game at Sheldon High School. The Hawks came into the game ranked number one in the state and went up by two goals early with Barrett scoring one of them. Sheldon stormed back and took a 3-2 advantage before Barrett scored what he considered the best goal of his young career.

Barrett received the ball on the right side of midfield, took a few dribbles forward, and cut in left about forty yards from the goal. “I don’t know what prompted me to think that I could score from there,” Barrett said, “but I decided to rip one and it went far-post upper-net, and it was one of the best goals that I’ve ever scored.”

“The goalkeeper didn’t even move as it was hit so hard he probably thought it was going to sail high, but it curved back down and in for the goal,” former Southridge Athletic Director and Barrett’s high school coach Brian Sorenson said via email. “ It was definitely one of the best shots I’ve ever witnessed.”

The Hawks lost the game 4-3 that day, but Barrett was well on his way to a good college career, and an early-round selection in the MLS draft.

Barrett’s yearbook quote as captain.
Courtesy of Southridge Yearbook

When Barrett played for the Sounders, he scored one goal in the Cascadia Cup rivalry, and it was to put the Sounders up 3-0 at Providence Park in front of some of his friends from Portland. It was the only goal that he scored in Portland, but it was a special one. The most memorable part was his celebration which saw him peel off left towards the Key Bank Club and do what he calls a “Tinkerbell dance,” the result of a lost fantasy football bet to a friend, who was actually in attendance that day.

“I turned into the club seats and [my friends] were the only people that were standing up,” Barrett said. “They were mouthing ‘do it,’ and nobody else is standing up. Everybody else is quiet, so I did the Tinker-Bell dance about 20 yards in front of them.”

Barrett’s said his most memorable MLS goal, came against his former team, the LA Galaxy, and gave the Sounders a crucial point thanks to a last-gasp stoppage time goal.

Barrett admitted that it was not a great goal. The goal was scored from about two yards out with his knee after an inswinging corner that was headed on by his teammate at the near post. What made the goal great was that Barrett was not even supposed to suit up for that game. One of his teammates got injured in warmup, and so Barrett was given someone else’s shin-guards, a random pair of cleats, and was told to give it a go. He was subbed on with seven minutes left and ended up scoring the crucial goal.  “I’ll always remember that goal because I wasn’t supposed to be there,” Barrett said.

Barrett going for the ball his senior year at Southridge.
Courtesy of Southridge Yearbook

It’s been a long time since Barrett has suited up for the Hawks, but if he had to tell his high school self-anything, it would be to relax more during his high school years.

“Everybody knew me as the soccer guy,” Barrett said. “That was the one thing everybody knew I was going to do, but it always kept me so tense and so tight about my situation that I thought that if I wasn’t a soccer player, I was nothing.”

Barrett last played in the MLS for Real Salt Lake and still lives in Salt Lake City today, rehabbing for another opportunity to play soccer at the highest level.

Players like Chad don’t come around often.  He was all heart and tough as it gets when it comes to work ethic,” Sorenson said. “He made people around him better[…]  He is a class act and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him and be apart of his story.”

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