Meet Hadji Barry: the dynamic, historic spark plug for Switchbacks FC

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:06 PM MDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 11:26 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Springs Switchbacks forward Hadji Barry doesn’t need to shout on the pitch. His game does most of the talking.

“Quiet, funny, and humble,” head coach Brendan Burke says, describing his star striker. “When he says something everyone listens.”

Barry, the 28-year-old native of Guinea, has turned heads in his first 8 games with Switchbacks FC. Barry has found the net 10 times, leading the USL Championship in total goals and nearly breaking a team mark already. The Switchbacks record for goals in a season is 14, set by Luke Vercollone in 2015. He’s also approaching his own USL record of goals in consecutive games (8) which he could match on Thursday against Orange County SC.

A lot of history approaching for Barry which, in his opinion, pales in comparison to his team’s performance.

“It’s a long season you know,” Barry said Wednesday at practice. My whole focus is just getting wins. If I’m contributing to scoring, good job. But if I don’t score and we win... trust me, I’ll be as happy as if I scored 3 goals in a game.”

Barry’s bounced between teams in the MLS and USL since 2016, all the while keeping in contact with his family (especially his mom) in Guinea. He says he misses his mom most, and says he calls her before every game.

Switchbacks FC forward Hadji Barry and his mother
Switchbacks FC forward Hadji Barry and his mother(Switchbacks FC)

“I always wear this remind me where I came from. It’s always good to put that in the back of my mind, remind me I have people to make proud.”

Barry’s success has helped the Switchbacks to a rare three-game winning streak, and a jump to third place in the USL Mountain division. Switchbacks FC are 4-2-2 on the season, and coach Brendan Burke says he’s proud how his team has responded after a slow start to the year.

“[It’s] a happy time for us,” Burke said. “There’s a buzz around the stadium, there’s a buzz around the locker room. You have more opportunity to pile on lessons and teaching moments when everyone is in such a good mindset.”

Switchbacks host Orange County SC Thursday at Weidner Field. Kickoff is at 6:00pm.

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