Drea Barklage grew up on the fields at the Soccer Park. Coming from a soccer family she was involved in the game at an early age. Playing for Busch Soccer Club she was a regular at the Anheuser Busch Soccer Park (now World Wide Technology Soccer Park). Now she finds herself back on those same fields pursuing a passion that has been developing since those early days.
“I love the fact that I am able to work with players ranging all the way from 2-18. Getting the children to love the game of soccer like I do is so gratifying,” said Barklage. She currently is the head coach of the 2003 and 2004 SLSG Missouri Elite teams. She also spends her time with the SLSG Juniors program (ages 2-7), something that is important to her and evidenced by her Early Childhood Development degree from West Virginia University (WVU). “Working with the Juniors program, I am able to be a part of most of the player’s first experience in the sport.”
It is clear the influences in her soccer career have left a lasting impact on her. Barklage speaks often of sharing the game with younger players and ensuring they have a positive experience. At the youth level she played under current SLSG Club Director Steve Pecher. “For anyone that knows Pech, you know he is man you want to work hard for. He will dedicate every minute needed to help the players, parents, and community of the club.”
Today she finds herself working for the person who coached her at U10, in the club that she grew up in, and in the industry that feeds her passion. “When you see Pech’s passion and work ethic, you want nothing more than to jump on board and do the same. He showed me that a true leader leads by example with a positive and humble attitude,” said Barklage. “My goal is to have each and every player that I work with become a strong and confident young woman both on and off the field. Teaching them to learn from their mistakes, understand their underlying potential, while possessing a level of humility is something I hope to instill in these players.”
“It is great to see former players staying involved in the game and passing on their experiences and passion to the next generation,” said SLSG MO Girls Director Scott McDoniel. “Drea’s approach to coaching and teaching the game is in alignment with how we want to run our program. Her energy and commitment to the players makes her a great fit for our culture.”
Her soccer career has taken her from the fields of the Soccer Park to Incarnate Word Academy High School and through St. Louis University & West Virginia University. Her experiences and influences along the way have brought her journey back where it all started. Her advice for players who are looking to coach after their careers: “Be confident! Just like anything you do in life, it’s a process. You are not going to jump right onto the field and know exactly how to fix every problem but that’s okay. Continue to learn from your mistakes and be confident in your decisions.”