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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Luis Barraza attends 2019 MLS Player Combine

Photo by Helen Dudley

While most Marquette students were preparing for finals, writing essays and returning books in the last few weeks of the fall semester, goalkeeper Luis Barraza had a much different task: looking for an agent.

After a successful senior season in which he helped Marquette go to its first BIG EAST title match in five years, Barraza is pursuing a professional soccer career and received an invitation to the Adidas Major League Soccer Player Combine Jan. 3-9 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Prospects will be able to scrimmage, go through tests and speak with interested teams before the MLS SuperDraft.

“I’m not saying it was expected, but there was an air of confidence that (Barraza) would be recognized by the MLS,” Marquette head coach Louis Bennett said. “Obviously him being given the award of BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year, that’s going to garner a lot of attention because the BIG EAST is one of the best leagues in the country.”

Barraza said he has worked out but hasn’t had time to work on technical skills like ball handling. One of his opportunities came at the Las Vegas Combine Dec. 15

“I got a pretty good goalkeeping session (in Las Vegas) with games as well,” Barraza said. “So I just take this as a little bit of a warm-up for what’s coming in January.”

At the Las Vegas Combine, Barraza said he received advice about the upcoming combine from Pat Onstad, the interim general manager for the Columbus Crew. This advice coincided with the philosophy the Golden Eagles have had throughout the years, Barraza said.

“One of our big things at Marquette soccer was to plan, prepare and perform,” Barraza said. “That’s basically what (Onstad) said to me. You need to plan what you’re going to do, you need to prepare for the combine by yourself, being ready, and obviously when you get there you perform to the best of your abilities.”

Barraza said he has wanted to play professionally since he was a child. When he was 15 years old, he went to Real Salt Lake Academy where he said his game went to another level.

While he was at the academy, Barraza trained with the first team during preseason, which he described as a reality check for him.

Barraza said he started to see his progression each year when he would return to the club while he wasn’t in season with Marquette.

Similar to this year’s combine, last year’s had an initial list of 60 invited players. Of those 60 players, 47 were drafted in the 92-pick MLS SuperDraft. If that trend continues next year, Barraza will have good odds of making an MLS roster.

“When Luis came (to Marquette) we didn’t guarantee he was going to be a professional soccer player,” Bennett said. “What we guaranteed is our best and the best possible opportunity to reach some of his goals (and) some of his objectives.”

The invitation comes after a particularly productive senior season. While the team went through a rough patch during the season, it did not seem to affect Barraza’s play on the field. The BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year finished 10th in the nation in save percentage at 0.839 and was tied for tenth in saves per game at 5.2.

“He’s definitely been very influential in this last year’s success,” Bennett said. “In fact, he was named the player of the year for our team.”

Bennett is now seeing one of his players achieve his academic and professional dreams.

“(Luis) gets an opportunity to become a professional soccer player while he’s going to have his degree,” Bennett said. “It’s so pleasing (and makes me) proud that a young man can give himself opportunities to fulfill some of his goals.”

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