Barnard Looking to Follow in Williams' Footsteps|
Aug. 30, 2011
By Jeremy Powers
When head soccer coach Hylton Dayes shows up to practice at the University of Cincinnati's Gettler Stadium the first face he sees is starting goalkeeper and captain Joey Barnard. When Dayes finishes packing the team's Adidas sponsored practice equipment into his drawstring bags the last face he sees leaving the field is the same face he sees when he first arrives.
That has been a staple of Cincinnati goalkeepers in the past with Matt Williams, a three-year starter for the Bearcats and it has not stopped now with Barnard taking over the throne.
"I don't want there to be a let up at the goalkeeper position because Matt left," Barnard said. "Hopefully the time I spent training with him the last couple years helps me and hopefully I can do the same things for someone else younger than me making goalkeeping sort of a powerhouse position at Cincinnati."
Barnard won the starting job in pre season over redshirt Freshman Taylor Hafling. Barnard is succeeding Williams, an all-conference performer and UC record holder who graduated after the 2010 season. Williams started all 19 contests for the Bearcats last season and racked up a .829 save percentage leading UC to the semi-finals of the Big East tournament. Williams recorded nine shutouts last season while playing over 1,800 minutes between the pipes.
"Matt worked his way up to being our number one keeper and obviously an all-conference player and setting school records," Dayes said. "Matt was certainly someone who was a leader, a very good goalkeeper with excellent size that started three years for us."
Barnard must use his time spent with Williams to help him accomplish the same goals Williams did during his five-year career. The relationship between Barnard and Williams remains strong. The two net minders were roommates during one year of their UC careers and were good friends off the field.
"He is one of my best friends and one of the best teammates I have ever had," Barnard said. "I want to beat his school records and join him in the all-conference honors. I just want to do the same things that he did."
As a team captain, Barnard leads by example in the locker room, on the field and off the field. Looking out for his teammates, Barnard is a great organizer according to Dayes. These attributes were gained by time spent with Williams during years of training.
"It is always tough to replace someone like Matt, but I think Joey certainly gives us a great option," Barnard said. "He is a different kind of goalkeeper than Matt, but I think he works tremendously hard in practice and he has improved in the air."
Barnard recognizes the differences between himself and Williams, but understands that the time put in during training together has allowed him to take over the starting role that Williams once embraced.
"Matt and I had really good training chemistry and we trained the same way," Barnard said. "We wanted to make sure we took quality reps instead of quantity reps."
The differences between their games according to Barnard is that Williams was a taller athlete that excelled in saving shots that looked to be in not guardable. Barnard possesses more quickness around the box and more athleticism, which also makes an impact on the field.
"I think Matt was a great shot stopper and that was his biggest strength," Barnard said. "I try to use my athleticism and conditioning to strengthen the impact I can have."
Still in touch every couple of weeks, Williams has taught Barnard all about confidence. When you are a goalkeeper you are the last line of defense and sometimes it is up to you to win a match for your teammates. A goalkeeper who lacks confidence would not be a Bearcat goalkeeper according to Barnard and those ideals were instilled by Williams' success.
"Matt was able to brush things off if he made any mistakes or got yelled at during practice," Barnard said. "Those are things that I needed to start doing coming into this year and I've gotten a lot better at because of his examples."
For all goalkeepers to be successful they must have a solid team in front of them. According to Dayes, Williams had a strong group of players alongside him while he was a starter for the Bearcats. Barnard also has the commodity of experienced and talented players in front of him. UC currently have an experienced defensive line and a lot of scoring threats.
"I think in order to excel you also have to have a good team and I think that is what we are building here," Dayes said. "Joey has a veteran core of defenders in front of him and I think that will help him."
Dayes stressed that other programs in the Big East may be experiencing changes in goal as well. Many coaches may be willing to instruct their team to take more scoring chances when there is a fresh face in goal instead of a well-known starter that Williams was in his final season. Dayes understands that tactic and feels if Joey is playing well that teams will respect his goalkeeping abilities. Barnard also understands that possible mindset and is ready to take on any challenge thrown at him by any opposing team.
"I am at a point where I feel that I am ready to be tested," Barnard said. "I know that eventually I am going to earn the respect that Matt had and I want teams to have to worry about how they are going to score on me."
Barnard allowed only one goal in two pre season matches and led the Bearcats to a 3-1 result in their first match against Western Michigan. His next start and the team's next match will be in Blacksburg, Va. against Virginia on Friday, Sep. 9.