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For former MLS player Devin Barclay, it's a whole new ballgame kicking for Ohio State football team

For about two years, I had been meaning to break from my D.C. United and U.S. reporting schedule to tell the story of Devin Barclay, the MLS player turned college football place kicker. Between the daily/weekly demands of MLS and the approach of the World Cup, the timing never seemed right. I didn't beat myself up over it because Barclay, now 27 years old, spent his first few seasons at Ohio State as a reserve in a position that doesn't often experience turnover in the middle of the year. The story was intriguing but lacked urgency.

The tenor began to change late last season when an injury to the top kicker thrust him into the spotlight. And then this fall, his senior year, he won the starting job. With struggling United off the general public's radar and the World Cup a distant and wonderful memory, the window of opportunity to pursue enterprising and human-interest angles finally opened last month. First priority was Alecko Eskandarian, the former United star whose career had been derailed by concussions.

Last week, I headed to Columbus to spend a few days on the banks of the Olentangy to interview Barclay and the Buckeyes, who are ranked No. 2 in the nation behind Alabama. Here's his remarkable story.

For a few noteworthy items that didn't make the piece.....

Barclay's younger brother, Colin, played at Harvard and is now manager of operations for the U.S. World Cup bid committee. ... Although he lived in Annapolis, Md., Devin played several years for a club based an hour away in Bethesda. It was coached by Brian Pensky, who now runs the University of Maryland women's program. ... Three years ago, Devin was prominently featured in a Los Angeles Times story about attention-deficit disorder and the drug Ritalin. ... When I first met with Devin, he asked me for contact information for Ben Olsen, his former teammate and currently DCU's interim coach. A day later, the two reconnected via text. ... Ohio State will play Indiana on Saturday. Live coverage on ESPN begins at noon.

By Steve Goff  | October 8, 2010; 4:14 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  | Tags:  MLS, college football  
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Comments

At the intersection of soccer fandom and Buckeye football fandom, there am I.

Loooooved Barclay's clutch kick -- and soccer-player reaction! -- last season against Iowa. (Makes the game winning FG then runs for a corner of the end zone, ripping his helmet off...)

Go Buckeyes Go! O H...I O!

Posted by: SportzNut21 | October 8, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

@SportzNut21

+1

Posted by: benonthehill | October 8, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

If you like this story, be sure to say so in the comments section for that article, or at least click "recommend" on the comments of others.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 8, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Steve, great story and a great angle.

And here's a piece of trivia....Devin Barclay joined DC United under Ray Hudson. We got him from what was then San Jose. We traded away the rights for first selection in the waiver draft. San Jose was willing to give up Barclay b/c they wanted to (and did) choose....(wait for it) Brian Ching with that selection.

That's got to go down as one of the most one-sided trades in MLS history....Barclay for a guy who spent half a decade on the USNT and was a poor-man's Brian McBride in MLS.

Posted by: JoeW1 | October 9, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@SportzNut21, it's pretty cool to see a soccer-style celebration in the other football (even if it is an automatic 15-yard penalty for removing your helmet -- like a yellow for taking off your shirt?).

Next thing you know we'll see him kissing the shirt, or (god help us), snorting the goal line (a la Robbie Fowler)!

Posted by: jrnail23 | October 12, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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