Toronto FC newcomer Barrett demands more from self
Former Chicago Fire striker's tireless work ethic not dampened by health issues
Chad Barrett is his harshest critic.
When Toronto FC acquired the 23-year-old forward in a trade with the Chicago Fire in late July, the Canadian club hoped he would be able to inject some life into its stagnant attack.
So far, Barrett has obliged with two goals in six games, including a spectacular free kick from 34 yards out in a 1-0 win on the road over the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 9 that snapped a six-game winless streak for Toronto.
Aside from his pair of goals, the Oregon native has earned rave reviews from his teammates and coach John Carver for his tireless work ethic, ability to stretch the opposition's defence, and his vision on the field.
Still, Barrett insists he can do better.
"Yeah, I have two goals, but I've had good chances to score more goals," Barrett told CBCSports.ca. "Missing some easy opportunities and not hitting the target isn't really acceptable. I have to start putting the ball into the back of the net with more regularity."
That Barrett has looked as impressive as he has is all the more remarkable considering his health issues.
The young forward has managed to last the full 90 minutes in only two of the six games he's played for Toronto because of a chronic cramping problem that he's suffered with since his tenure with Chicago.
"It's not an injury; it's just a sweating problem. I sweat a lot, pretty much all of the fluids out of my body, and that's why I cramp up so often," Barrett explained.
"I try to make sure I'm properly hydrated, and get as much salt and potassium as I can into my body before every game."
Barrett's arrival in Toronto from Chicago was a long time coming.
Toronto owned the rights to veteran forward Brian McBride, but after finishing with English club Fulham in May, the 36-year-old declared he wanted to play in the MLS in his hometown of Chicago.
Chicago and Toronto had been talking about the deal for several weeks before an agreement was finally hammered out, with the Fire sending Toronto Barrett and a first-round pick in the 2009 draft in exchange for McBride.
He's only been in Toronto for five weeks, but so far he likes what he sees — in the team and in the city.
"I've settled into a program here. I'm on a routine and that's what I need. All that's left for me to do is start scoring again," Barrett said.
"Everyone at the club has been very welcoming to me. … I'm trying to get to know the city a little bit."
As for coach Carver, Barrett appreciates the Englishman's personal approach.
"I really like him. He's a player's coach," Barrett said. "John really knows how to respond to each individual player — he just doesn't do a general overview, which is good. He likes to help players out by doing a lot of personal, one-on-one stuff with us."