Barreiro, Brandt to start training as professionals
January 24, 2012, 10:40 pm·
Michael Chien | DP
For the last four years, the sight of Thomas Brandt and Christian Barreiro patrolling the middle of Rhodes Field has become a familiar sight.
Next year, each will show off their skills on a bigger stage.
Both Brandt and Barreiro were selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft — which took place via conference call on Jan. 17 — and have begun to embark on their professional careers.
“[It’s exciting] just going in every day and playing with that caliber of individuals,” said Brandt, a two-time captain. “Just being in that environment and playing every day is going to make you better over time.”
Brandt, who was the 13th overall pick, will be staying in Philadelphia with the Union while his good friend Barreiro will make the trek up I-95 to join the rival New York Red Bulls, who took the attacking central midfielder with the 50th pick.
“I was in class when it happened and I was tracking the draft online,” said Barreiro, who led the Quakers in assists this fall for the second straight year. “The names would flash on the screen, and I got a call from my agent. He said, ‘Congratulations! … You got drafted by the Red Bulls.’”
Only moments earlier, Barreiro was one of the first to text Brandt, his teammate and roommate, to congratulate him on being selected by the Union. Later, the two celebrated in their apartment.
“He walked into our room with a big grin on his face,” Brandt said. “I just congratulated him on it. To have us drafted on the same day, it was a good day.”
Now, almost a week later, both players are living in hotels with their new teammates and getting ready for their respective seasons.
Brandt, who begins practice Wednesday, has been training with the Quakers’ men’s soccer team under the seasonal air structure at Dunning-Cohen Champions’ Field in preparation for what will be his first formal session in almost two months.
“I came back to Penn for the games this semester,” Brandt said. “Our younger guys are getting back into things with the spring season. With the bubble down at Penn Park, I’ve been able to get in there with the guys a couple times.”
Barreiro, on the other hand, will be fresh off a strong performance in the MLS Combine earlier this month in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. There, he faced more than 50 of the top college stars in anticipation of Jan. 12’s MLS SuperDraft.
Although he wasn’t selected then, he will now be playing alongside some of the biggest names in soccer, such as Thierry Henry and Juan Agudelo, and living just minutes from the state-of-the-art Red Bulls Arena.
“It’s a great experience,” Barreiro said. “They are some of the best professionals in the world. Gaining small pieces of knowledge from them, I would be a lot better off.”
Brandt and Barreiro are the fourth and fifth Quakers, respectively, to be drafted into Major League Soccer, following Dan Cepero, Matt Haefner and Alex Grendi.
The two will take a leave of absence from Penn while pursuing their dreams.