Fauquier’s Mia Barreda verbally commits to George Washington women’s soccer team
Fauquier High rising senior Mia Barreda, right, will play NCAA Division I soccer at George Washington University. --Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Playing for a travel team is the principal way to secure a college soccer scholarship.
Yet Mia Barreda cut travel soccer from her schedule as a Fauquier High freshman, seemingly eliminating the sport as her conduit to a college.
Two years later, however, Barreda decided to attend George Washington University largely because of its women's soccer program. She made a verbal commitment in April after GW coaches offered her a 50 percent athletic scholarship in March.
She just couldn't cut ties with the sport.
"I stopped playing club soccer because I didn't really want to do it any more," Barreda said. "But then I missed it a lot.
Soccer "played a really big role" in choosing a college, she said.
After vanishing as a freshman, Barreda returned to travel soccer as a sophomore and established herself as an elite center midfielder. In fact, Barreda's VSA Heat 96 Blue just finished as runner-up in the U.S. Youth Soccer under-17 girls national tournament. Her Fauquier High team, meanwhile, recently went 10-6 during Barreda's junior season.
"She's just our glue," Falcons coach Rick Ashley said. "She holds us together in the midfield. We look for her to connect our three lines" of defense, midfield and offense.
"She's always got the ball at her feet, dribbling with her head up and looking for that next target player," he said.
Barreda expects to play holding center midfielder or center back for the Colonials.
“She’s definitely got the talent to make an impact at a Division I school," Ashley said.
Barreda said she received a handful of other scholarship offers from the likes of Boston University and Lipscomb University. She settled on George Washington, though, after visiting its campus during the spring.
"I really liked the girls on the team, which is what drew me in the most," she said. "But I did really like the school too."
George Washington's roster includes Kettle Run graduate Ivana Szwejkowski, who is also a member of the VSA Heat Blue program.
Barreda plans to study international affairs and public health. She feels most excited, however, about simply having made a decision about her future.
"It was pretty stressful" during the recruiting process, she said. "It's exciting knowing I don't have to go through the whole college application process and the process of finding the right school. But I know its going to be a lot of work" to play soccer in college.
Barreda figures to be a fourth-year starter next fall as the Falcons' center midfielder, a role she took after arriving at Fauquier.
"You could tell as a freshman she had a lot of special qualities," Ashley said. "She could get the ball out of the back, get the ball in the attacking half and actually create the scoring chances."
This past season, the Falcons struggled to score goals, but Barreda often had a hand in creating their opportunities.
"Some of her passing, especially her long passes, were beautiful," Ashley said. "She plays beautiful 35-, 40-yard balls to a wide open wing or striker."
Curiously, Ashley couldn't find any Barreda assists listed in his compilation of statistics from this past season.
"But that's impossible," he said. "Even if she didn't have any … her stats are a little bit misleading."
Barreda did score six goals despite missing a handful matches while playing for her travel team.
"She's a tremendous striker of the ball," Ashley said. "We had a couple games she won because she was able to score from 35 yards out and the keeper would have no chance."
During a 2-1 win over Eastern View, for example, Barreda scored a pair of goals to help the Falcons rally from a 1-0 deficit, including the game-winner came from 35 yards out.
"Her goals," Ashley said, "were really spectacular strikes."
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