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NCAA first game, Men's Soccer vs. Bucknell win 1-0 at Rhodes Field Credit: Rachel Bleustein , Rachel Bleustein

Former Penn soccer player Christian Barreiro may not play in Major League Soccer this year, but that doesn’t mean that he’s giving up on his dream just yet.

“You have to be patient, you have to be [there] at the right time and get a little lucky here and there and just play your game,” Barreiro said.

The midfielder, who was not signed to a contract by the New York Red Bulls in early February, has been on trial with the Harrisburg City Islanders of the United Soccer League Professional Division for the past four weeks in the hopes of continuing his journey as a professional soccer player.

“I think these MLS clubs are doing the best they can with the information they have,” Penn coach Rudy Fuller said prior to the MLS Supplemental Draft. “Each club puts a little bit more into how they scout the college game, but it’s still marginally a crapshoot.”

Barreiro, who was drafted by the New York Red Bulls with the 50th pick in the Supplemental Draft on Jan. 17, participated in the first phase of the Red Bulls training camp where he played with other draft picks and players on trial.

“It’s tough; you gotta go out there, you gotta [see] if you’re the personnel they need,” the former first-team All-Ivy standout said. “It was really intense. Everyone is trying their best to impress the coaches. I was fit and showing really well, but sometimes they don’t have [you in] their plans.”

Although he did not make the cut — the Red Bulls didn’t sign any of their 2012 Supplemental Draft Picks — he wasn’t done quite yet.

The 5-foot-7 Barreiro has been training with the Islanders hoping the team likes what they see and signs him to a contract before their preseason begins by week’s end.

“Hopefully I can find a team, and play well for them,” he said.

However, playing for the USL Pro would by no means exclude him from ever returning to the MLS. Some of the MLS’ most famous players, including 2011 MVP Dwayne De Rosario and U.S. Internationals Brian Ching and Herculez Gomez, began their careers on USL teams.

If Barreiro did return to the MLS, his rights would still be owned by the Red Bulls. He will remain on their ‘College Protected List’ until Dec. 31, 2013, after which he could theoretically sign for any team in the league.

Barreiro’s teammate Thomas Brandt was also selected in the Supplemental Draft. However, he too was cut by his team, the Philadelphia Union, prior to the commencement of preseason training in Florida.

Unlike Brandt, whose soccer future is more uncertain, Barreiro will continue to play the game he loves.

“Soccer’s my life. It’s not like, if one thing doesn’t work out, you just stop, you know?”

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