Whenever a player joins a new team, it is never assured that he will fit in at his new home.
Chad Barrett assured that wouldn’t be an issue this week when he came to Starfire on an off day wearing a throwback Seattle Supersonics hat, proudly showing the colors of his favorite NBA team from his childhood. It was just one part of a bit of a homecoming for the 28-year-old forward who spent part of his youth in Gig Harbor, Washington, and other parts in the Portland area.
“I was getting really sentimental when I was driving back up,” Barrett said on the SoundersFC.com Roundtable Podcast. “I saw the Tacoma Dome, Wild Waves and Gig Harbor … it’s been a full circle 20 years later.”
Barrett played in Seattle regularly while coming up through youth clubs in Portland and even considered playing collegiately at the University of Washington, but now he calls Seattle home and looks forward to the chance to contribute to the new crop of forwards for Sounders FC.
What he brings to the team is a wealth of experience that started when he was selected third overall by the Chicago Fire in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft. Since then, he has scored 44 goals with 29 assists in 211 matches. He won the 2006 U.S. Open Cup with the Chicago Fire, two Canadian Championships with Toronto FC and the 2011 MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield with the LA Galaxy.
He has also had fierce battles along the way with many players who are now his Sounders teammates, but that is just part of his nature on the field.
“Anyone I play against, I treat like my enemy,” he said. “It’s not personal, it’s just how you do business. But I respect all these players.”
Another person Barrett holds in high regard is Sigi Schmid. The Seattle Head Coach had Barrett with him on the U.S. U-20 National Team in 2005, taking the rugged forward to the FIFA World Youth Championships in Holland. There the U.S. reached the Round of 16 by going 2-0-1 in a difficult group that included Argentina, Germany and Egypt.
Barrett scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over an Argentina side that featured Lionel Messi and has had an affinity for Schmid ever since.
“I’ve been trying to get on Sigi’s team ever since the Under-20 World Championships,” Barrett said. “He’s always been one of the most honest guys that I’ve been around. He would tell you exactly where you stood.”
Reuniting with Schmid is another perk to his return to the northwest. That list also includes playing at CenturyLink Field with the over 40,000 fans that pack the stadium each match in his corner.
In his career, he played four regular season matches at CenturyLink Field, scoring one goal while going 1-2-1 as a visitor.
“I hated it. It’s an intimidating place to play. The away team has no advantages. I never won,” he smiled, noting he is glad to have them at his back now. “I’m so thankful. This is definitely the place where the fans have come to roost. They are amazing.”
Moving to Seattle was a good professional move for Barrett, he said, as Seattle builds a team of hard-nosed players ready to do battle for each other. It’s also an opportunity to get back to the west coast, back where he really feels at home.
“It’s great to be back up here. I love that it rains a bit every day,” he said, looking off into a cloud that threatened to open up at any moment. “I’ve been on the east coast with the humidity and the winter storms … I’m just happy to be back.”