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Devin Barclay kickin’ it back to his roots

Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor

Former Ohio State football kicker Devin Barclay has returned to his original love: soccer. Barclay recently was named director of coaching for junior boys at the Colorado Rush Soccer Club in Littleton, Colo.

“I really feel like being a full-time soccer guy for so long, it was the perfect fit,” Barclay said. “It’s an opportunity to get back into the sport. I still have a passion for it.”

The story goes back a few months to when Barclay first had an interest in working for the club. After spending a few summers in Colorado, he emailed his résumé to Erik Bushey, the technical director of the Colorado Rush.

“When he contacted me, the name jarred my memory,” Bushey said. “Back in 2001, he played for the (now defunct) Tampa Bay Mutiny with a college friend of mine named Craig Demmin.

“I remembered Craig talking about this young player that he really spoke a great deal of. So I actually contacted Craig and had a long discussion about Devin.”

Demmin — a college teammate of Bushey at Belhaven University, then called Belhaven College, in Mississippi — spoke highly of his former Major League Soccer teammate.

“(Barclay) was a little brother to me,” Demmin said. “He was always the hardest-working player on the field. During our time in Tampa, we were very close.”

While playing together, Demmin learned a great deal about Barclay both as a soccer player and as a person.

“Erik called me and said, ‘A guy you told me about has contacted me. … I am looking for a director, and I want to know what you think first.'”

Demmin said when he learned the person was Barclay, he was more than willing to talk.

“I told him,” Demmin said, “Devin is honest, hardworking, and he continually reinvents himself. He went on to play Major League Soccer when he was still a teenager. Things didn’t work out, so he did what he needed to do to go to college at Ohio State, walked onto the football team, and eventually became the starting kicker.”

Bushey had heard exactly what he wanted to hear. He needed someone who could adapt, adjust and make up his mind.

“The characteristics of a soccer player directly go into how he acts as a soccer coach,” Bushey said. “However, in Craig’s description, it went deeper than just his style on the field. It seemed to be about who Devin was.”

Bushey was hoping to learn more than just how well Barclay could coach the game.

“Basically, I asked questions about values: Is he trustworthy? Is he dependable? How deep is his passion for the game?” Bushey said. “These things are very important to who we are at the Rush.”

Rush is one of the premier soccer clubs in the western United States, The club services 5,000 youth players as well as adults.

Barclay is in charge of a U17 boys Nike team, one of the top teams in the club. Barclay also will oversee the U13, U14 and U15 teams, watching the squads and making sure everything is going smoothly.

“The impression that I have gotten is that all the coaches take their job very seriously. It is very professional,” Barclay said. “The caliber of player is much better now; it is impressive.”

Drawing from his past experiences going professional from high school, Barclay likes the age group he is with and hopes to give some knowledge to his players.

“I like getting the kids right before they go to college, because that is when they typically make a decision,” he said.

Despite living in Colorado now, and returning to the sport that started his journey, Barclay remembers his time in Ohio and his memories kicking for the football team.

“I will still come back some time in the fall for a game or two,” Barclay said.

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