Devin Barclay has been a busy man for the past two years. He’s seen time with the Under-18, Under-20 and Under-23 National Teams, and has played professionally on both coasts. In fact, later this month (Aug. 19-30, to be exact) Barclay will be heading to Spain with the U-20s for the XIX Torneo Internacional de Futbol de l'Alcudia, in which the U.S. will take on teams like Brazil, Italy and the Ukraine. After becoming a regular with the Tampa Bay Mutiny (fifth on the team with 23 appearances) as a rookie in 2001, Barclay was drafted by the defending MLS champion San Jose Earthquakes with the eighth pick in the first round of the 2002 MLS Allocation Draft. What follows is Barclay’s description of his decision to turn pro and his professional playing career over the last two years.
“The decision that I made to turn pro wasn’t a hard one for me. With that option (of turning pro), you always want to make yourself the best you can be. And for me that meant going to MLS.
"You always want the chance to bring your game up to the next level as fast as you can. Turning pro gave me that opportunity. In my opinion, college soccer would have been a waste. It’s not a bad option, but it just wasn’t for me. The work and other college stuff just wasn’t my thing. I wanted to play in MLS right away, and luckily I had that option. My parents and I talked about it, and they were very supportive of me in that decision.
"When I first found out I was drafted by Tampa Bay, I was happy. But it was a tough season. We had a losing season, and we struggled a lot. Losing that much was tough at first, but at the same time, I got a lot of playing time, and it was a good experience for me. I learned how to be a professional, and I think in that regard, the first season was great for me. I learned how to take care of my body, what to eat and the things like that that you need to learn to be a real pro.
"But, it was frustrating. I had my first losing season as a pro, so I got that out of the way early, and now I’m playing for the best team in the league. Not playing as much for San Jose has been tough, but it has been a lot less stressful here than it was last year (playing for the Tampa Bay Mutiny, who finished their final MLS season with a lowly record of 4-21-2).
"I just wish that I could play more. That said, I’m happy for everyone here in San Jose. Moving to San Jose, to this team, has been great. In San Jose everyone clicks, everything gels. All the guys work really hard for one another and everyone is on the same page. I can’t tell you how much different it is from last year in Tampa. As a team last year we just didn’t really get along. And here it is a world of difference this year.
"I’ve been lucky in that I also get to play with great players everyday here. Getting to play with Ariel (Graziani), Landon (Donovan) and Dwayne (DeRosario) on a daily basis is amazing. They are great players, who can score a lot of goals. They’re tremendous, and I learn a lot just playing with those guys at training and watching them everyday.
"To go from the worst team in the league to the best team in the league in one year is something where you almost have to laugh. Now I just hope we can keep it up and win the Cup this year. To go from last year and last place and this year and an MLS Cup would be amazing.”
Table of Contents
1) Armchair Midfielder (WUSA Version 2.0)
2) Word Association (w/ WNT midfielder Tiffany Roberts)
3) Desert Island Discs (w/ U-19 WNT midfielder Manya Makoski)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ U-19 WNT forward Heather O’Reilly)
5) Making it in the Show (w/ U-23/U-20 MNT forward Devin Barclay)
6) Mark That Calendar (FIFA Women’s Under-19 World Championship)
7) "You Don’t Know Jack (Marshall)" (WUSA trivia x 2)
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