New England Soccer Today

Barnes Ready to Return to CB if Called

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Six years ago, a third-round pick from Duke muscled his way onto the Revolution roster with the hope of getting minutes at center back. And he did. All 2,700 of them.

Darrius Barnes was the only field player in MLS to play the maximum amount of minutes during his rookie campaign in 2009, and all of them were in the middle of the defense. Since then, he’s been asked to play out on the wing, and the starter’s spot he once held is no longer as firm as it used to be.

Now, with Jose Goncalves suspended for Saturday’s match, and inexperienced defender London Woodberry as the only other option, Barnes may just get his first start at center back since 2012.

“We haven’t really put the full game plan in as of right now, but I feel like it’s a possibility,” Barnes said. “I’m just trying to focus and make sure I’m prepared and competing.”

Barnes featured at center back during his first three years in the league, and performed well enough to the point in which it seemed that a U.S. Men’s National Team call-up could’ve been imminent.

But after the man who drafted him – former Revolution manager Steve Nicol – parted ways with the club after 2011, a new coach came in with a different idea of how to use Barnes.

Not long after Jay Heaps took the reins, Barnes started seeing time on the wings. By 2013, he was ostensibly a fullback. With the emergence of Goncalves and A.J. Soares as the preferred pairing in the middle, Barnes was a center back no more.

“It’s something you have to adapt to, and something you have to embrace as well,” Barnes said. “You have to see it as the coach sees you as a valuable member of the team, and he can put in anywhere along the back line.”

But plying his trade at a different position hasn’t been the only thing Barnes has had to adapt to. After the team drafted Andrew Farrell first overall in 2013, and veteran Chris Tierney made the left back spot his own, the starting assignments started to dwindle for the veteran defender.

“Obviously, there are times in which I had a bigger role on this team,” Barnes said. “But I know I have a role to fulfill. My job is just to compete every day and hope the coach sees something in me to where he can put me on the field. It’s definitely a mindset, and something that you have to cope with mentally.”

No doubt that mindset has prepared Barnes for the opportunity that awaits him on Saturday. With backline depth depleted due to Goncalves’ suspension and Kevin Alston’s injury, Barnes may yet return to his familiar spot at center back, a spot that he once owned as a 22-year-old rookie.

“I want to go out there if my number’s called,” Barnes said, “and give the best performance I can, and try to help this team get in the W column.”

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