Barrick Roberts knows what it’s like to be known on a local level. After all, area soccer coaches have been noticing him for years.
But when the St. Paul’s senior was named national player of the week not once, but twice during his last year at the school?
Well, that put him into some lofty territory.
Roberts knows that, and he said “it’s surreal” to twice have earned the honor from a major national soccer website. Along the way, he led the Wolves to their second consecutive Division I state championship in late February, and he was named MVP of the game (in which he scored two goals in a 3-0 victory over Jesuit).
Adding to his trophy haul, Roberts is The New Orleans Advocate’s All-Metro Player of the Year.
St. Paul’s finished the 2014-15 season with a 31-0-3 record, and also was atop the rankings of many groups that keep tabs on prep soccer across the U.S. For his part, Roberts scored a team-high 28 goals, and added 14 assists to lead the way for the Wolves.
Roberts, who is scheduled to graduate from St. Paul’s with honors in May, said he paid little attention to the national rankings during the season. He focused, instead, on the high school standings.
“When we first started, our goal was to win a state championship,” he said. “Then, we saw ourselves up there in the top three, top five in the country. It was a really nice honor, but we didn’t pay much attention to it. We wanted to win matches, and we wanted to win state. That was what was most important to us.”
Roberts melded well with the Wolves during his first year of play at the school. A transfer from nearby Fontainebleau High, he had to sit out his junior season before getting to shine in his senior year.
St. Paul’s coach Sean Moser said that was when he learned all he “needed to know” about Roberts.
“He had to sit out a whole year because of the transfer,” Moser said. “But he made every practice, even though he knew he couldn’t step onto the field for a high school match. That told me everything about him. The other players felt the same way. They thought, ‘If he’s here doing it and can’t play, then why shouldn’t I be out there busting it when I can?’ So they did, and they all got better.”
Though he played for a team many coaches dream of, Roberts often was the Wolves’ main catalyst. Moser moved him to several different positions (center midfield, both forward positions, etc.) to fill in for injured teammates during the season, and Roberts excelled at all of them.
That versatility was instrumental in helping St. Paul’s set the national standard it achieved, and aims to retain.
Roberts’ final season at St. Paul’s, however, appears to be his last of competitive soccer. He currently carries a 4.4 grade point average and intends to attend LSU where he will focus on a major in engineering, with an emphasis on bio-medicine.
Roberts is perfectly fine with his decision to move on, saying soccer will never be far away from him.
“Soccer has been my best friend for a long time,” Roberts said. “I’ve been playing since I was 3 years old. I’ve been on club teams that have won state (championships.) I’m not going to give it up entirely. I’ll play club ball and intramurals.
“But the highlight of what I’ve done with soccer will always be winning that state title with my friends and my teammates, and doing it in front of the St. Paul’s fans.”
Coach of the Year
Sean Moser, St. Paul’s
Moser guided St. Paul’s to its second straight Division I championship. The Wolves finished the season 30-0-3 and were ranked No. 1 in the MaxPreps national rankings. They outscored their opponents 121-9 and didn’t give up a goal in the last eight weeks of the season.
F irst team
Barrick Roberts, St. Paul’s, senior
Christian Aguirre, East Jefferson, senior
Mason Cook, Northlake Christian, senior
Miles Francis, Brother Martin, junior
Eric Guin, St. Paul’s, senior
Colin Hanley, St. Paul’s, senior
Donte Oliver, Ben Franklin, junior
Devin Pathoumthong, Mandeville, sophomore
Chase Rushing, Jesuit, junior
Keegan Stanworth, Lakeshore, junior
Julian Sutton, Newman, senior
Will Thiele, Brother Martin, senior