Chad Barrett’s move to Norway is official.
Barrett’s loan to Norwegian club Vålerenga has been finalized and according to the 27-year-old forward --who says his contract with MLS ends after this season -- the deal comes with an option to buy. Barrett departs for Oslo on Wednesday morning, but spent Tuesday morning training with his LA Galaxy teammates for one final time. Following training on Tuesday, Barrett spoke to the local media about his move to Norway and his future with his new club.
Below are Barrett’s quotes…
(On how did the move come about…)
BARRETT: “It’s one of those things, one of those reasons that you don’t want to use. But I love the guys in this team, even when I was away on my trial, I missed playing with them. At the same time, it was something that I needed to do for me personally. The guys were on fire here and we’re really deep at forward. I was approached by my agent, who said there was interest overseas and it was a team that I almost went with when I was with Toronto. The coach was still there and asked if I’d be interested, he said yes. Bruce was nice enough to let me go so I went on trial there. I loved it; it was a different kind of good, in every aspect. I lose the beach, I get the culture. I lose the team; I get a new set of good guys. The best thing is that they all speak English over there so it’s not too bad.”
(On what he wants to accomplish there…)
BARRETT: “I think that every American-born soccer player always wonders if they have what it takes to play overseas and play in other leagues. If anything else, it’ll be good for me to go on this loan and see how other countries play. We know what they play like when they come here and play against us in the World Football Challenge, but how does their league stack up to our league. From what I’ve seen in the Norwegian league is that it’s not too dissimilar. Technically, they’re all very technically good. Athletically, I think that we’re a little more athletic over here. That’s where we have to make up for our technically ability, but there are a bunch of great players and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”
(On whether his contract ending at years-end being a reason to head to Norway…)
BARRETT: “It could be. Without all the pay raises for next year and obviously, I didn’t produce as well as I should of, so there are a lot of factors that go into it. Ultimately, this is probably what is best for me at this particular juncture. Like I said, I hate bringing politics into this locker [room], but that’s why we have agents and sometimes you got to do it.”
(On his impression of Norway…)
“It was the first time that I had been, it was a beautiful city. It’s in Oslo, there’s an old Oslo and a new Oslo. The training grounds are in old Oslo and the stadium is in new Oslo…it has the old beauty and culture and the new modern stuff around it so it’s cool to see the mixture. The cobblestone streets and amazing parks with the great statues so I did a bit of that and then a bit of shopping, I’m not going to do that again."
(On the reception from the Norwegian players reception…)
BARRETT: “Right from when I got there, they were really welcoming. It’s a really close-knit group of guys; most of them are Norwegian so they got good chemistry with each other. But I know that [Portland Timbers goalkeeper Troy] Perkins played over there so when we were going up to Portland, I was going to talk to him then and pick his brain. But he contacted my agent when I was over there and told me to say hello to the guys for him. I talked to Pat Noonan; he played in Norway for six months as well. He was just giving me the lowdown about what to expect. When the sun is out, the sun is out and when it’s dark, it’s dark so it’s going to be an interesting and eye-opening experience. But I moved every three years of my life so I’m used to it and I take it as a new adventure and I look forward to it."
(On what the club wants to see from him…)
BARRETT: “Goals. Put the ball in the back of the net. They’re pretty upbeat about me coming up there so as soon as I get there, I’m sure that it’ll take me one or two weeks to get my sleep schedule right and the jet lag gone. Once that is gone, I’m looking forward to getting down to business and try to help them finish in the top three."
(On the team’s playing style…)
BARRETT: “I don’t know yet. I’ve seen some highlights of their games, but I haven’t watched a full game yet. I was there for a week where they had a good amount of training because that’s what they wanted to see so I wasn’t able to see their games. They play a game on Friday that I’m maybe dressing for or maybe not. It’s going to be pretty tough; it’s pretty close to when I land."
(On the team’s performance…)
BARRETT: They’re in fifth place, five points out of third. It’s a sixteen team league and the top three go to Europa so that's the goal."
(On how close he was to joining the club earlier…)
BARRETT: “It was almost a coin toss. I just wasn’t mature enough to go overseas and live on my own and accept the four year deal there. It was too much at the time plus I still wanted to take classes [at UCLA]. It was 50/50 for awhile there, and then Toronto won me over while I was there.”
(On missing this team…)
BARRETT: “These guys are like my family. Every team that you get on, you build a brotherhood with these guys. I think a bunch of them are going to help me move today. I wanted to spend one last day with them and it was great to be able to practice with them and knock the ball around one last time. I wish them all the best; I know that they’re going to win it again this year especially with the way that they’ve been playing. There’s no team that can stand in their way. There are good teams on paper, but with the trio playing the way that they’re playing and everyone else stepping up…I’m excited for the way that they’re heading. I wish that I could stay and help them do it again, but I’m sure that they can do it without me.”
(On what he takes from his time with the Galaxy…)
BARRETT: “Winning that trophy. You know, this was the first team that I’ve been on since college where there was just a winning attitude in every game. Every time that we approached the game, every field that we stepped on, it didn’t matter who it was, it didn’t matter if we played Real Madrid—we thought we could win. I’m going to try and take that with me and apply it to any team that I’m on from now on. It was just a good experience, playing with the class players like Beckham, Donovan and Keane. What they bring to the game and the IQ that they have and the class that they show, day in and day out makes you better as a player. Then all the guys, up and coming, I’m really excited to see what happens with their careers. Guys like Juninho, Jose Villarreal, Hector Jimenez; they’ve all really impressed me since last year. Then as soon as Omar Gonzalez gets back from his knee injury, I know that he’ll move on to bigger and better things. I could go down the list and say how I’m going to miss each guy, but I’ll just say collectively that they’re a group of guys and heading in the right direction and I’m going to miss them."
(On where he envisions himself in nine months…)
BARRETT: “It’s going to be a crazy five months. Everything is going to happen quickly, this has happened very quickly. It is part of our profession, it’s something that you have to do, you have to pick up and move. I was joking with everybody that I wish I had a wife right now to pack up the kitchen or something because I’m doing everything myself right now. It’s just part of the game, and it’s an unfortunate part of the game because you never want to leave, but in this case, I had to.”