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The benefits of dual-sport athletes! An interview with UNC Wilmington goalkeeper Blair Barefoot

Blair Barefoot women's college goalkeeper

We have another exciting interview to share with you all. A dual-sport standout with individual awards to back it up, University of North Carolina Wilmington goalkeeper Blair Barefoot is a goalkeeper on the rise. We got the opportunity to learn a bit more about her journey and how she has been able to balance everything thrown her way. This is a great read so take it all in below!

How long have you been a goalkeeper? What got you started in the position?

I have been a goalkeeper since 5th grade! I think I just got thrown into the goal with my background of playing basketball too and realized I wasn’t too bad and enjoyed diving around so I decided to stick with it.

You've been a dual-sport athlete, having played basketball and soccer. How do you think playing both sports has been beneficial to you as a goalkeeper?

Being a dual-sport athlete has benefited me as a goalkeeper in so many ways! Obviously I had good hands from playing point guard and dribbling a basketball all the time. My position in basketball helped me be a leader and see the field better as a goalkeeper as well. Playing two sports allowed me to challenge my body and increase my athletic ability that helped me perform at the highest level in both sports. 

You excelled at the high school level, receiving a number of individual honors. How did your high school career prepare you for the step up to the college game?

Nothing will ever fully prepare you for the step up to the college game, but playing at Hoggard High school prepared me in the best way possible. My coach in high school held me and my teammates to a high standard. We were one of the best teams in Wilmington and training at a high level everyday and playing against difficult teams throughout the year strengthened my game. High school soccer was something I enjoyed everyday and I think taking that joy and having a positive attitude also impacted my step up to the college game.

Blair Barefoot uncw women's goalkeeper

What was your college recruiting process like? Did you enjoy the experience?

College recruiting was a little different for me since I was looking to play basketball, soccer or even both in college. Honestly, I did not love the experience because of how time consuming and pressure-filled it can be, but I did really enjoy my visits and meeting new people at different schools. I was going to ID camps and tournaments during my junior year and started to receive some offers in the summer going into senior year. Most all of these offers were for me to play basketball, so recruiting for soccer was much more difficult. 

Why did you decide to not play college soccer your first year at Lenoir-Rhyne?

Originally I was supposed to play soccer along with basketball in my first year at Lenoir-Rhyne but after getting a bad concussion my senior year, the basketball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne decided with my position she wanted me to focus on basketball and not risk the potential of getting injured playing soccer in the fall. 

You transferred to UNCW in your second year. What went into that decision?

There were a lot of factors that went into deciding to transfer to UNCW. My basketball coaches at Lenoir-Rhyne were leaving and I was quite home sick. I think I wanted to find my joy for competing again and I felt like moving closer to home would help that. Then, UNCW was just the greatest gift. I had no idea that was going to happen. They needed a goalkeeper and my high school coach reached out for me, and due to COVID the UNCW coaches could not go out and recruit so they offered me a walk-on spot. I found out they wanted to offer me in high school but I was already committed to play basketball, so it kind of came full circle for me to come back and play in my hometown. 

Blair Barefoot D1 women's goalkeeper

You had a really successful first season at UNCW, being named CAA Goalkeeper of the Year. What was the transition year like for you? 

Transitioning back into soccer my first year at UNCW was about me being a sponge soaking in all the information my goalkeeper coach was teaching me and just being a great teammate. After such a hard freshman year, I really did just want to enjoy the game and get settled into my new school and team. I think that was a huge part of my success though, I took the pressure off of myself and just tried to get better each day.  

How does playing with a team, like Port City FC, in the summer help you prepare for the college season?

Playing on a summer team, like Port City FC, is a huge advantage for your college season, especially as a goalkeeper. You just cant get that high level of training and competition on your own in the summer time unless you play with a club like this. I am really looking forward to the summer and building relationships with my new teammates. 

What advice would you give to young goalkeepers looking to play college soccer?

My first piece of advice I would give to young goalkeepers would be to invest in goalkeeper training, whether that is private training or working in a small group with other high-level goalkeepers. Getting as many reps as you can is going to perfect your technique. I am big on dual sport athletes. I would push any player to play multiple sports as long as you can. The last piece I would say is focus on distribution. As you get older, and especially into the college game, distribution and having the ability to play with your feet is a huge advantage and one that will make you stand out to a college coach. 

What sport are you better at, basketball or soccer?

OOF! I would like to think I am better at soccer but I think I have had my moments in both!

Blair Barefoot UNCW women's soccer


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