It’s going to be hard because there are people that have been established here and played last year so you’ve got to come in and give your all, and wait for your chance and when your chance comes take it —RSL center back Shawn Barry
HERRIMAN — Shawn Barry could feel the altitude in his lungs on the first day of Real Salt Lake’s preseason on Monday. It burned.
“I didn’t expect it. It’s going to take me a little time to get acclimatized,” said Barry, an American who signed with RSL after spending the first seven years of his professional career in Europe.
Little by little this week, the burning has dissipated, and soon the center back hopes to be on even footing with the squad’s other center backs.
Barry, 27, knows he faces an uphill battle for playing time with Justen Glad and Marcelo Silva entrenched as starters after their strong pairing late last season. He’s not deterred by the completion whatsoever and is embracing the next chapter in his career in MLS.
“You’ve got to compete every day, you’ve got to show what you’ve got every day. It’s going to be hard because there are people that have been established here and played last year so you’ve got to come in and give your all, and wait for your chance and when your chance comes take it,” said Barry.
Barry was born in Miramar, Florida, and played college soccer at the University of Virginia for two seasons before moving abroad professionally, where he spent time in Austria, Germany and Poland.
He said the timing of a move back to the United State was perfect.
“I’ve been seven years in Europe, and for my wife, it was a good time because we want to have kids in the future,” said Barry.
Barry can also play outside back, a position that won’t be easy to crack either after RSL signed 23-year-old defender Adam Henley. Like Barry, Henley has played his entire professional career in Europe and is looking for a fresh start in MLS.
Henley is the perceived starter at right back heading into the preseason, but like Barry he knows the importance of hard work and competition to earn that spot.
“It’s what every team needs, if you don’t have players fighting against each other for positions, then complacency kicks in,” said Henley. “If a player knows he’s going to be starting every week it’s not the right mentality for the club. As long as we have players battling each other day in and day out for the starting position we’re going to be a successful team.”
That competition will come from Barry, homegrown signee Aaron Herrera and maybe late in the season from Tony Beltran when the veteran returns after offseason knee surgery.
Right now, Henley is just enjoying being on the field competing after injuries limited him in his final season with Blackburn in England. He’s been out of contract since the summer but is fully healthy this preseason.
“Preseason is always hard no matter where you go, it’s important. It’s always the hardest part of the season physically, but it’s important to get a good base for the rest of the year. And make sure the whole team’s got a good fitness base on which to work to be successful,” said Henley.