Seattle Sounders: Chad Barrett Finds Maturity and Stability in Seattle


Chad Barrett has come a long way since his time in Toronto, with a lot coming down to growing up and finding some stability with the Seattle Sounders.

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The Seattle Sounders are off to another impressive start to the season, currently leading the Western Conference after 12 games. One of the key reasons for this is their strength in depth – an impressive feat, considering the restraints of the Major League Soccer salary cap.

One example of this strength can be found up front. While there is denying the starting partnership of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins is set in stone, Chad Barrett appears to be a more than capable replacement.

Look no further than the recent 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, when Barrett stepped in for an injured Martins. Not only did the 2005 third overall MLS SuperDraft pick score both goals, he ended up being named MLS Player of Week.

It’s fair to say the 30-year old has come a long way since his days with Toronto FC, where I’ll confess I wasn’t always his biggest fan. However, the person I now see playing in Seattle is almost unrecognizable.

May 27, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC forward Chad Barrett (19) controls a pass against the Colorado Rapids during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Colorado, 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

As such, I took the opportunity recently to ask Barrett about how his game has progressed in recent seasons: “You only get better by playing as much as possible and improving your soccer IQ.”

Barrett explained that a big part of his development has come down to maturing: “When I was younger, I was kind of cocky, and I just relied on my athleticism.

“(However) that got me only so far. Then I grew up and knew I had to get better, had to get smarter and that’s what I’ve done.”

Evidence of this maturity came in his acknowledgement of the quality around him: “Obviously playing around some great players, you always look better. So like I said it’s about age and experience, and everything coming together as you get older.”

While not wanting to specifically put Barrett on the spot, I was still interested to get his thoughts on the difference between playing in Seattle and Toronto: “I really can’t say anything negative about Toronto – they go about things the right way.

However, he went on to concede there are some issues: “They don’t give enough chances and enough time for people to settle in.

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“It takes me six months to get settled into my own place and how many players have gone there for a year, less than a year, and then booted out? How many coaches come in and revamp the whole team?

“You know, you have to have some kind of stability and you have to have something. You have to let something build.”

In essence “stability” is the key word when looking at the Sounders: “I think here in Seattle with Sigi Schmid, he might not have won the MLS Cup yet, but he’s done other things.

“He’s won Open Cups, he’s won the Supporters Shield, that type of stuff.  He’s brought better players in and we’re contenders every single year – he’s a focal point that we can build around.”

Turning back to this season, I asked Barrett what he expected from the remainder of the campaign: “I just (want) to keep building on every single experience, every single game I get into. I want to play as much as I can and score as many goals as possible.”

The San Diego, California native went on to reaffirm my belief about Seattle’s strength in depth: “I like to look at it as not about me, Clint and Oba fighting for spots, but all working together, giving each other breaks when we need to.

“I think that now that the coach knows I’m ready to go and ready to play, that’s just a good thing to have in the back of his mind. He knows I’m on the bench and I’m able to start and produce if need be.”

If anything, that final comment confirms Barrett’s maturity, both as a player and a person. Along those lines, I look forward to him enjoying the stability of a prolonged period of success in Seattle.