You would think after 25 years as Iolani high school’s boys soccer coach, which included five state championships and 10 state championship appearances, Bob Barry would be satisfied calling it a career.
Apparently not. Since he left Iolani in 2002, Coach Barry expanded his resume to the collegiate level as coach of University of Hawaii, Chaminade University, Willamette University in Oregon, and most currently as goalkeeper coach for both the men’s and women’s teams at Husson University in Maine.
“The way we have worked it out is I leave (Husson) at the end of the season and come back to Hawaii to identify local kids who might be interested in Husson soccer,” says Barry, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover Sept. 21, 1988.
As a coach and now part-time recruiter for Husson University, Barry sees tremendous potential for high school soccer players with a desire to continue their soccer careers.
“Hawaii girls in particular are very athletic. For the boys, there’s a small percentage who could play at the Division I NCAA level. It’s the next tier of players I see that could play anywhere in the country,” he says. “Those are the kids I’m scouting.”
With more than 40 years of coaching experience, Barry has seen many developments in soccer skills and the game itself. He credits expanded playing opportunities and Hawaii’s favorable climate as attributes, which increase the talent being generated from local high schools.
“The biggest change is the fact our high school kids and youths have gone from playing three months a year to 11 or 12 months,” he says. “Soccer is like tennis or golf; if you really want to play at a high level, you have to evolve yourself, and that includes playing on club teams after the school leagues are over.”
Not only has he helped enhance the abilities of Hawaii’s young athletes, Barry also has been taking the time to keep his own health and interests at a peak level.
Over the past five years, he has participated in the USA Track & Field Senior masters discus events. A sport in which he once participated in high school, Barry now has revisited discus successfully, winning a bronze medal in 2011 at the national championships in Cleveland.
“It’s one way I stay competitive,” he says. “I can’t keep playing soccer. I’m competing against guys who have tremendous backgrounds – they were NCAA champions who represented the U.S. What keeps me healthy is just being involved and taking interest. I don’t feel a bit as old as I look.”