TAMPA, Fla. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC forward Hadji Barry has been voted the USL Championship’s Player of the Month for August presented by Cleer Audio as he recorded six goals and one assist in six appearances during the past month of the season. The award is Barry’s second of the season, with the current frontrunner for the Championship’s Golden Boot having also claimed the award in June.
The Guinean forward finished tied for the most goals in August in the Championship alongside Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Russell Cicerone as he continued his pursuit of the league’s single-season scoring record of 25 goals, set by Louisville City FC forward Cameron Lancaster in the 2018 season. Barry has already surpassed his own individual season high of 17 goals – also set in the 2018 campaign, which earned him Championship All-League honors – while recording the ninth 20-goal campaign in the league’s history.
For the 28-year-old, it’s an unprecedented level of success, and one that he’s grateful for after signing with the Switchbacks this past offseason.
“This definitely has to be one of my best seasons of my whole career playing football,” he said. “I'm so thankful to be a part of the Switchbacks. The coaching staff all really believe in me and that motivates me going onto the field to do what I do best and try to help the team succeed.”
After scoring his 21st goal of the season on Wednesday night in Colorado Springs’ 2-0 victory against Real Monarchs SLC at Weidner Field, Barry is now five goals away from breaking Lancaster’s single-season record with 10 games to go in the regular season. That’s become a notable talking point around the club, but Barry is as concerned about helping the Switchbacks – who currently sit in second place in the Mountain Division – at least one home playoff game as they look to secure the club’s first postseason trip since the 2016 season.
“I'm not going to lie, once you get close to it, people around you start mentioning it and even watching the games, that's all the reporters start talking about with the season I'm having,” said Barry. “I'd like to break it of course to be a part of history but that's not my main focus. My main focus has always been team success so I'm trying to do everything I can to help this team to make the playoffs and hopefully get home field advantage in the first round. If that comes with me scoring more goals, which I think I will be, it will be great, so I'm looking forward to it.”
The club’s success at its new 8,000-seat downtown home of Weidner Field has produced a new level of visibility in Colorado Springs, with the side having played to numerous sellouts over the course of the season as it has claimed six wins in 11 games while recording 25 goals in those contests.
“It's been incredible. I can't describe it in words,” said Barry of the support. “I think you have to be a part of it to really experience the atmosphere we receive here from the fans. That's all credit to them, they're like the twelfth man on the field. We really appreciate them. Rain, cold, whatever, they're always out there to support us so we really thank them for that and we're looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Barry received 25 percent of a weighted poll that included the USL Championship Technical Committee, a national panel of independent media representing every USL market and an online fan vote held at USLChampionship.com. The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Evan Louro finished second on 24 percent after recording four shutouts in five games while only conceding once as the side went undefeated throughout the month, while Cicerone finished third on 21 percent as he moved into second place in the Golden Boot race with six goals and one assist for the Hounds, who now sit second to the Rowdies in the Atlantic Division.
|Nominee||Fan Vote||Weight||Media Vote||Weight||USL Vote||Weight||Total Vote|
|Hadji Barry (COS)||29%||15%||44%||11%||0%||0%||25%|
|Evan Louro (TBR)||16%||8%||44%||11%||20%||5%||24%|
|Russell Cicerone (PIT)||22%||11%||0%||0%||40%||10%||21%|
|Junior Flemmings (BHM)||23%||12%||11%||3%||20%||5%||19%|
|Alex Dixon (PIT)||10%||5%||0%||0%||20%||5%||10%|