Q & A With Neil Barlow
Senior midfielder Neil Barlow recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to preview the men’s soccer team’s upcoming match at North Carolina. The teams square off at 7 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 2) in Chapel Hill, N.C. Barlow was named the ACC Player of the Week on Sept. 22 and leads the team with three goals and two assists this season.
Question: How do you think the loss to Clemson this past Saturday will help to set the tone for the match-up with North Carolina on Friday?
Barlow: The Clemson game definitely got away from us, and we were upset about that. So that got our juices going. Also, we didn’t know how good VCU was going to be going into last night’s game – they ended up being a very good team to play against. A couple of their guys up top were very good with their feet and they were a physical team. So this all prepares us. Clemson and VCU were physical games, and North Carolina will be, too. They are definitely a good team and it is going to be a test.
Question: What exactly do you think it will take to win at Chapel Hill?
Barlow: It is definitely going to be a defensive battle. They are a very good team and they are good at getting at teams, so we are going to have to be strong on defense. We have been solid on defense all season, and it will start with our backs, but then midfield and even forwards will have to defend. Everyone is going to have to defend to be able to win this game. It is going to come down to two or three chances, and we haven’t been great at finishing this season but hopefully we can on Friday.
Question: To what do you attribute the number of overtime games this season?
Barlow: We just haven’t been finishing our chances – it is something that will come with time, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Overtimes are never that much fun. We definitely do not want to play an extra 20 minutes going into the UNC game this weekend.
Question: How has being a senior affected your role on the team and on the field?
Barlow: I definitely have to step up as a leader. I know that, and the coaches have told me that. I’m one of the oldest guys on the team so I try to give advice to some of the younger players and really just try to be a leader.
Question: Do you have any personal goals for your last season?
Barlow: I just want to have a good season and help out my team. It would be great to make another NCAA College Cup appearance – I made one my first year but I didn’t really get in the squad that played. I would love to go with my team to the final four and maybe win an ACC tournament, too.
Question: What is your favorite moment of your Virginia soccer career so far?
Barlow: I think my first goal. It was my second year, and playing with my brother [former Cavalier Jeremy Barlow] and all the guys that were older than I was. I was playing right midfielder and I scored against Richmond – I ran straight to Zola Short and jumped into his arms. It is a pretty funny video to watch.
Question: Did you have a Mohawk a few weeks ago?
Barlow: I did. I got it shaved one day, by Will Bates, actually. He did it for me; he is pretty good at cutting hair.
Question: Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals that you always do?
Barlow: I have to listen to five songs on my iPod, all by Coheed & Cambria. If I can’t listen to those five songs, something is not right.
Question: Do you have any plans yet for after you graduate?
Barlow: Hopefully I will get drafted, that would be great. Fingers are crossed. If not, I don’t know. I like music a lot so maybe something in the music industry if soccer doesn’t work out.