Soccer has been a welcome distraction for Logan Barker
Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2022
Senior goalkeeper, who carries a 4.2 GPA, praised by his coach for his leadership and ability
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
Soccer has been described as a beautiful game, but for goalkeeper Logan Barker of West Forsyth, it’s been more of a diversion.
Barker, a 5-foot-6 senior, has had a tumultuous life since his early years growing up in Franklin, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. And at the age of 9 or 10, his mother Rebecca divorced his dad, Joshua, and moved to Clemmons with Logan, his younger sister Piper, and Rebecca’s mother Deborah Hagner.
“My parents divorced when I was little,” Barker said. “My mom always wanted to move here. When she got custody of me and my sister, she brought us here to be closer to some of my family. And I’ve lived here ever since the fourth grade.”
According to Barker, he hasn’t spoken to his father since they moved to Clemmons.
“I know he’s tried to talk to my mom before, but I don’t know all the details,” he said. “She doesn’t tell me all the details. But even if she did, I probably would just ignore it. He did drugs and things like that. There was all kinds of stuff like that. From what I’ve heard though, he’s stopped. He’s clean now. And he’s trying to live his life normally now.”
Barker had to learn to do things on his own.
“There are a lot of things I didn’t learn how to do that I probably should have learned from my father,” he said. “My sister was really little. And she really doesn’t know him at all. So, she and I have very different views on it.”
Even though Piper has been shielded from it more, it hasn’t caused any friction. They’re still close siblings.
“That’s how I was until I knew. And I feel like just not knowing, ignorance is bliss in that kind of situation,” he said about Piper.
In addition to having a supportive mother, Barker also credits working with a therapist.
“I had a lot of anger issues when I was little,” he said. “That, and finding something to release some of that frustration, too. Sports has always been like (that for me).”
People express anger differently, but Barker’s said his was shown in fits of rage.
“I haven’t had a really bad day in a long time,” he said. “But usually, it’s just a lot of yelling. It doesn’t ever get to violence though. It never gets there.”
He’s grown and matured enough to handle it better, along with having a different perspective.
“I think of it more of a responsibility that one of us has to know it between me and Piper,” he said. “When you think about it like that it helps. I know it was a good thing. My mom made the right choice.”
Once the decision was made for the family to move to Clemmons, Barker was initially confused.
“I think at first, I wasn’t too happy about it because once again all I understood was that we were just moving really far away from home. That’s all I knew,” he said. “I was really mad about it, but now that I’ve gotten older I see that it’s a good thing. I’ve made really good friends down here. I have a really good life down here.”
Barker doesn’t want history to repeat itself.
“I’ve always tried to be there for my sister,” he said. “We fight. We have little brother and sister fights all the time like all siblings do, but at the end of the day, if Piper needed something I would move heaven and earth to get it done.
“And so would my mom. She’s a really amazing woman. My mom inspires me so much.”
Rebecca is a nurse at Novant Health, still in school to try to move up the ranks to get into business management. She’s currently a nursing manager there and runs her floor.
“She’s done an amazing job and I could never thank her enough for what she’s done,” he said. “She made all the right decisions.”
Playing sports has been an important part of Barker’s life. He initially played basketball, baseball and soccer. He eventually stuck with just soccer. He played for a Fusion club team when he moved here.
“Even at Fusion I started as recreation, then within a year it was clear to the coaches there that I was naturally just more talented than some of the other kids,” he said. “So, that made me start playing more competitively. And I’ve just worked my way from the bottom of Fusion.”
Coach Jeffrey Williams of West Forsyth first saw Barker as a freshman.
“Vocally, he’s gotten a lot better,” Williams said. “Technically, especially with his footwork, much better. But basically, being a leader. Not just trying to do his job, but make sure others do their job and ignite the team. He’s really excelled in the last couple years.”
Most goalkeepers aren’t as short as Barker, so he has to compensate for his lack of height.
“He’s quick-twitch,” Williams said. “He’s a shot-stopper goalkeeper, which sounds interesting. Usually shorter goalkeepers, you wouldn’t describe as shot-stoppers. But that’s him, very much so. He’s got good instincts and listens and reads the game pretty well.”
In addition to being a leader on the soccer field, Barker has a weighted GPA of 4.2.
“I firmly believe that the best teams have the best leadership,” Williams said. “And skill doesn’t always — that’s not No. 1 for me. I think leadership’s the most important. And he’s one of, if not our best, leader.”
Williams was unaware of Barker’s father being out of the picture.
“I guess he had to be the oldest sibling in his house,” Williams said. “He had to grow up probably faster than anybody else.”
The mutual admiration between Barker and Williams is palpable.
“I can tell that he does truly care for all of us,” Barker said. “He wants to see us all succeed. And I know that probably can’t be said for some other coaches. He puts his own time, his own money, his own thoughts, his own effort into this because he believes in us, and he wants us to do well.”
As of Monday, West Forsyth was 5-7-4 and 4-3 in the Central Piedmont 4-A. It was scheduled to have played host to Mount Tabor Wednesday night.
“There’s very few you get for four years, and Logan’s one of them,” Williams said. “He’s the type of guy you can always lean on and trust. And you hate losing that personally as a coach, but then the other side of it is that you’re happy for them that they’re moving on, and glad of all the success that they’ve had, and how they’ve been such a good role model and example for the program.”
No matter what happens with the Titans the rest of the season, Barker will finish his career and graduate in June. He’s leaning toward ending his playing years in soccer. He’s not even sure if he’s going to college.
“I want to do law enforcement. That’s what I want to do,” he said. “But I’m deciding if college is the best option for me.”
But soccer isn’t likely to be totally lost for Barker. He’s currently working as a do-everything employee at RISE in Bermuda Run.
“Being part of West all four years and being here so long finally feels to me like I have a home,” he said. “I belong somewhere. And when I lived in Ohio, and moving like that, when I first got here it didn’t feel like that. But this school, this community, finally feels like home. And unfortunately, I may have to leave it here soon if I go off to college.”