“Given too much data could sometimes strip players away of their personality in terms of how they interpret and how they play the game.”

Darrius Barnes

What You will learn

  • Darrius’ perspective on training and rehab as a player.
  • As a front office exec and a former player, the pros and cons of tech & data.
  • How Darrius has embraced the business and branding aspects of building an MLS franchise.

After playing a sport your entire life, from youth to professional, what’s the next chapter once you retire? In this episode, retired professional soccer player Darrius Barnes shares insights on training, sports science, and rehab from his time as a player. Darrius also discusses business and brand development as part of his current front office role at Charlotte FC.

Darrius is a former professional soccer player in Major League Soccer and now serves as the President of Crown Legacy FC – the MLS Pro Next affiliate to Charlotte FC. During his career, Darrius played college soccer at Duke before being drafted by the New England Revolution. Over his career, Darrius was a member of the 2014 Revs who went to the MLS Cup and the 2016 squad who went to the US Open Cup final.

Darrius retired in 2019 and began his journey from the pitch to the front office at Charlotte FC. Darrius shares great perspective of how his time as a player has influenced his ability to be successful in the front office while also having a strong desire to continue to learn how the business operations impact the success of the team.

Listen here – Finding Small Wins Podcast:

011 | Darrius Barnes: From the Soccer Field to the Front Office

Notable Quotes

“When you make decisions based or backed by data, you’re making a more informed decision.”

Darrius barnes

“Being an athlete is artistic, it’s personality, it’s how you play, it’s how you interpret the game, it is said to be about poetry and motion in terms of how players play and how they express themselves.”

Darrius Barnes

Key Takeaways:

[2:09] Where did the journey start for Darrius?

[4:35] How did the league change in the last decade?

[6:55] Where is MLS as far as rankings?

[10:03]  How do Darrius’ efforts in investment in engagement impact the culture of the team?

[12:08] What is MLS NEXT?

[12:46] Darrius introduces  MLS Next Pro.

[14:56] Is MLS Next Pro a precursor to being a franchise in MLS?

[15:59] What does it mean for Darrius to be a General Manager at Charlotte FC?

[17:30] Are there lessons that Darrius learned being a player that have dramatically influenced his ability to do what he is doing now on the front office side?

[19:55] A player needs to know some context before making an appearance to assure that his thoughts, values, and beliefs are aligned with the brand.

[22:18] How did Darrius manage to stay positive during tough times?

[23:44] What helped Darrius during training and rehab?

[25:17] Darrius defines small wins.

[27:12] What is Darrius’ perspective on sports science and analytics?

[29:06]  Some players can be worried regarding how collected data can affect the negotiations for a future contract, Darrius share his view about this topic.

[30:13] Darrius talks about technology that has proven to be beneficial for players.

[32:03] How can we find balance between training, collecting data, and implementing technology?

[34:34] Darrius confesses he had not enough information back in his professional athlete days.

[36:55] Darrius advises the general public who aims to upgrade their health and performance.

[39:01] How can we better support players?

[41:48] What was one of Darrius most favorite memorable moments being a pro athlete, playing in sports?

Adam Loiacono


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