Barr’s Class; a mentor on and off the pitch

Before resolute central defender Lachlan Barr was called seemingly from the clouds as an injury replacement at the end of December 2021, he had already endured much in a football career abroad, and at home.
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Before resolute central defender Lachlan Barr was called seemingly from the clouds as an injury replacement at the end of December 2021, he had already endured much in a football career abroad, and at home.

The level-headed defender learned resilience from a young age when he moved to Whyalla from Adelaide to be closer to his ill grandmother and called the seaport town home until he was 18.

Barr, now 28, has often had to lean on this numerous times through his career. His football path to this point has not been a straightforward one either, and it has taken him as far as Germany and England, with many twists and turns throughout.

In between training with FC Internationale Berlin 1980 e.V., Barr would scoop ice-cream at a local café and study the German language all at the same time.

“I was playing part-time with Berlin and training would be at night,” Barr explained.

“So I would go to language school in the morning, from 9am-1pm, learn the German language, and then from 1-5pm, work at an ice-cream café.

“I’d make up ice-creams and coffees there and then go and train from 7-9pm in the evening.

“I did that for about nine months at the language school every day, Monday to Friday, four hours a day, and it was really good to work at the café as well so I could converse with the locals and practice my German.”

Through sheer commitment and dedication did Barr become fluent in the language, and the model student only enhanced his life experience and confidence to handle any situation, football or otherwise.

Barr reflects on a ‘different’ sort of pathway that started with Westlands United in Whyalla, South Australia before he ultimately tried his luck internationally with a few different clubs, including Brentford’s U21 team.

He was initially guided on the path to London by his ex-White City team-mate and former Red, Lloyd Owusu, who extended his contacts for the then 21-year-old.

But he could never quite make his mark on the overseas football scene, and so returned to the NPL for the 2018/19 season and again, showed commitment to finish his studies.

The journeyman received vindication of his return to SA and Adelaide after scoring his first goal for his boyhood club against Perth Glory in Round 10, when he pounced on a scuffed clearance by the Glory backline.

Barr admits it was a ‘massive boost’ for himself and an honour to do it in front of a home crowd.

And even before his contribution to the scoresheet which set United on course for victory in that match, the real full circle moment for Barr came in November when he was afforded the chance to revisit his hometown in Whyalla and speak at and host clinics from the other side.

“As a kid growing up in Whyalla, I dreamed of being in that Adelaide United shirt, and I wanted to wear that Number 13,” he recalled.

“I always said to myself if I ever did make it to United, something that I wanted to do was to come back to Whyalla and hold a coaching clinic and inspire the next generation, which was once me.

“A kid looking up to his idols.”

Barr shares a mutual Whyalla connection with his Head Coach, Carl Veart, who also hails from the humble town some 385km north of Adelaide.

Not a bad return for two country kids.

“I guess you come to learn that football does have a lot of ups and downs,” Barr added.

“When the good times are good, it’s all well and good, but when the times aren’t going your way and you might be in a bit of a tough spot, you do have to lean on the resilience and your experiences along the way.

“You do learn a lot about yourself as a person, and as a footballer as well, during those moments but then at the same time, it makes the good times like a winning change room with your mates all the better.”

Barr’s completed study in Teaching and Human Movement combines to help keep himself on the pitch, and an all-round wisdom he is more than happy to share with his younger team-mates.

A mentor you would be more than happy to have on your side of the pitch.

The South Australian Produce Market and State Government have partnered with Adelaide United to hold a charity football match to raise funds for primary producers and small related agricultural businesses impacted by natural disasters including the Murray River flood.

The match will be a curtain raiser for Adelaide United’s match against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, 19 February 2023 at Coopers Stadium, kicking-off at 12:30pm (ACDT).

To purchase tickets and donate, click here.
To donate, click here.

Only at Coopers – Adelaide United memberships on-sale now.