BY MICHAEL KELLY
CLIFTON PARK — Thumbing his way through his Twitter timeline earlier this year, Phil Barrett found his summer home for soccer.
“I was scrolling through and saw something about a semi-pro team starting up in Kingston,” said Barrett, the 20-year-old son of Clifton Park’s town supervisor. “I was like, ‘Well, Kingston isn’t too far from here’ and I’d been looking for some place to play.”
Barrett, who will be a junior this fall at Siena College where he’s a defender on the school’s men’s soccer team, was successful in joining the Kingston Stockade FC for its inaugural season. The team played in the Atlantic Conference of the National Premier Soccer League, wrapping up its season in mid-July with a 5-8-3 record and in seventh place out of nine squads. The team played its home games at Dietz Stadium.
“My college coach, Cesar Markovic, always wants us to try to get on a summer team if we can so we’re not just working out on our own on staying fit, staying in game form, for when we come back in the fall for preseason,” Barrett said. “So when I saw there was a team forming, I went to its website, checked it out, and was very excited.”
Besides games, Barrett practiced twice a week with the squad while still living in Clifton Park. Long car trips became the norm for Barrett, but two other players were local to the Capital Region so he usually had traveling buddies.
“That made it a lot better because if I had to drive every time, I would have put some serious mileage on my car,” joked Barrett, who played on a team where no players were paid.
Barrett said he had little idea what to expect when he started with the Stockade, except for a challenge.
“The majority of the team was 25-plus [years old],” Barrett said. “I was one of the younger players on the team. Most of the other players had graduated from college, so the guys I was playing with had a few years on me, but I felt like I fit in well.”
Barrett ended up playing, and starting, in 10 games for the team.
“I was just hoping I could contribute,” he said.
As a rookie squad, Barrett said the Stockade received ample fan support for its home games. The season’s highlight was a three-game winning streak, but injuries and a lack of depth to make up for them hampered the team’s chances toward the end of the season.
“That definitely hurt us toward the end, but overall — for a first-year team — we held our own very well,” Barrett said. “We gave the Kingston Stockade a good name to build upon.”
Barrett, an accounting major, said he’d like to return to the Stockade next year to help the franchise continue to grow.
“This experience was a whole new level for me,” he said. “I hope I have a future with the team.”