ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Greece Olympia grad and current Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC forward Hadji Barry had himself quite the soccer season. He was named the 2021 MVP of the USL Championship league which is the second level league in the United States.
Barry, who was drafted No. 13 overall in the 2016 MLS draft by Orlando City SC, tied a league record with 25 goals in a single season, and helped lead the Switchbacks to the playoffs.
Barry, a Guinea native whose professional pursuits brought him to Rochester, was also named to the 2021 USL Championship All-League First Team.
“I’m so thankful for God, my family, friends, loved ones and everyone who has been supportive of me this year,” Barry said. “It was a long season and a long road, but I’m glad to have the supportive system that I have.”
Barry is a native of the West African nation, Guinea and moved to the United States in 2006 leaving behind his parents and siblings. He acknowledges from time to time he sits back and reflects on his long journey.
“The people close to you know what you’ve been through and how dedicated you are to this game and how much I love it,” Barry said. “Other people just see the results and the achievement, but it’s a lot of work put in behind the scenes and when you achieve certain things it makes you proud. When you hear from your loved ones about how proud they are of you, it motivates you and makes you want to keep going and not want to stop there.”
Although he spent the first 13 years of his life in Guinea, Barry made it clear that the city of Rochester means a lot to him even as going as far as calling it his home.
“Even though I always like to call Guinea my home, Rochester is my American home,” Barry said. “There’s so many people here that has impacted my life and you know I like to thank them all knowing that I’m always thankful of them. Without Rochester who knows what would have happened to my career.”