Photo by Diane Cox
(From left) Nick and David Barrett
East Alton-Wood River juniors Nick and David Barrett have spent 11 of their 17 years by each other’s side on the soccer field. The talented tandem have either been in a competitive recreation league, traveling on an indoor soccer team or on the EA-WR home field at the Wood River Soccer Park.
Now the Barrett twins have played their way through the Oilers’ rough patch and led their team to back-to-back record-breaking seasons.
Nick Barrett is the EA-WR varsity goalkeeper in his first full season as the last line of defense. He registered a 12-8 record and finished with a 1.00 goals-against average. Nick logged seven shutouts during the 2014 season, with his most memorable occurring at the Class 1A Metro East Lutheran Regional finals, where the Oilers defeated Greenville 1-0 to earn their first boys’ soccer regional title in school history. It allowed EA-WR to earn its first sectional berth.
“Winning the game against Greenville 1-0 and winning the regional title was the best,” Nick said. “Keeping the shutout through regulation and through two overtimes at sectionals, taking it all the way to penalty kicks made me feel really accomplished. Our school has never made it out of regionals before and we made it to sectionals having only one goal scored against us.”
David Barrett is a three-year letter winner for the Oilers’ soccer program and takes the opposite approach to the game than his brother Nick. David is a forward on offense and took the reins for EA-WR by scoring 16 goals and dishing out six assists.
“I like playing offense because I feel like I’m in charge of the game,” David said. “It’s up to the people who play offense to score the goals and get the ball in the net. One of my main goals for my senior year would be to get 20 goals. I started playing forward halfway through this season and ended up with 16 goals, so if I would have played forward all year I think I could have done it.”
Under the direction of head coach Mike Lawson, the Oilers have built a solid program that continues to bring in new talent and leave behind a legacy of constant improvement.
“Since my freshman year coach Lawson has influenced me a lot,” David said. “My freshman year all I really did was run 100-mph up and down the soccer field; my footwork has improved and I make smarter touches on the ball. One thing he’s always told me was to never stop trying and definitely never give up. Lawson has pushed me to get where I am today.”
Giving athletes new tools to improve their trade is what can make or break players’ potential for success or collegiate possibilities.
“Coach Lawson has influenced me personally by sending me to soccer camps and giving me work with former players like Joel Hobart,” Nick said. “Lawson always says you play how you practice. You have to practice serious if you want to make a name for yourself and turn some heads as a team.”
Both Nick and David give credit where credit is due; they attribute all of their success to their squad’s help and teamwork.
“The players that influenced me was really my whole soccer squad,” David said. “I’ve practiced with the high school soccer team since I was in the seventh grade, so I pretty much knew how they played and what coach Lawson was expecting from me my freshman year.”
Winning AdVantage News Boys’ Soccer Co-Athletes of the Year was a big surprise for the Barretts, who share their success with their teammates.
“This recognition means a lot,” Nick said. “I never thought we’d get this award, but to share it with my brother makes me more proud and grateful for it. This is one of our biggest accomplishments. The Oilers earned this award last year with Tyler Lafferty; we’re proud to keep it at EA-WR.”