Barta ready to defend goal
He watches the games on the television. He gets to see some of the more high-profile teams compete on a regular basis. The sport is one that has captured the imagination of millions. But on his own field, the sport draws a few fans and mostly parents. It's soccer -- a sport that has yet to catch on in many parts of the country.
But for second-year Eudora High School player Anthony Barta, the lack of enthusiasm from many people doesn't really matter.
"I've had some guys say, 'Oh you play soccer?'" Barta said. "But I like the sport, so I play it."
The Cardinal sophomore played goalie for the squad last year and has been involved in soccer for quite some time. The sport came into his life in the form of a phone call a few years back.
"I got a phone call from a team that needed some extra players," Barta said. "I went out and played and really liked it."
Barta then began playing regularly in the Eudora recreation league and never looked back. But it has only been recently that the sophomore has found himself manning the net for the Cardinals.
Barta was inserted into the net mid-season last year and found the position to be very much to his liking.
"They started me out in the field and then decided to put me in the net," Barta said. "I feel like goalie is a good position. Sometimes the game comes down to the goalie, and it's a challenge."
Barta played basketball for the Cardinals last year on the freshman squad, but has decided that soccer will probably be his main concern. During the off season, Barta has participated in a three-on-three soccer program at a sports facility in Lawrence.
The indoor game has given Barta the opportunity to get some extra work for his game in a more compact environment.
"With the indoor game, you have to move a lot quicker," Barta said. "So it helps out with the game on the field."
The Cardinals have gone through the camps for their upcoming campaign, which has many of the players looking forward to the new season. And although the team failed to win a game last year, that doesn't affect the enthusiasm of its goalie.
"After the training camp I got excited for the season," Barta said. "We have some new players that I think are pretty good so I think that we might have a chance to win some games."