Experience leads Eagle defense: Defenders develop a sixth sense
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
By Chad Hartwell
teammates play together long enough, they seem to get a sixth sense of
knowing what the other will do. For three Oklahoma Christian University
senior defenders, this has finally become the case.
Adam Barnes and Kurk Ziegler have manned the Eagles back line
together since they were freshman, while Frei moved to the defender
position in his sophomore season.
“Barnes and I know what each other does,” Ziegler said. “We played
together for three years so we know who’s going to step up when someone
needs to win the ball. We finally turned around this year, and we play
each other’s strengths.”
Each of the three players started all 19 games for Oklahoma
Christian in 2006 and was part of an Eagle defense that allowed just 23
goals and earned seven shutouts.
Since coming to Oklahoma Christian, Barnes, Ziegler and Frei have
helped the Eagles to a 31-23-10 record and a trip to the second round
of the NAIA National Tournament last year.
They believe playing together for the past few years and good
communication with each other enables them to obtain success on the
“It is important to keep good defensive shape when we play, so a lot
of communication helps in that as well as communicating our marks as
they move across the field,” Frei said. “I think that all of us being
starters helped us learn each other’s tendencies and style of playing.”
While Barnes, Ziegler and Frei are close, they number three, four
and five, respectively; they have very different styles of play.
“Ziegler is fast and strong in the air. Barnes has good footwork and
vision, and I think I have good foot skills and can attack out of the
back fairly well,” Frei said. “Most of the time we know what the other
person will do before they do it.”
These guys not only play soccer together, but the three of them also
share an apartment together and consider each other to be good friends.
Barnes and Ziegler have lived together since their sophomore year, and
Frei moved in last year.
“They are two of my best friends, and it has been a pleasure to play
with them these four years,” Frei said. “It hasn’t always been easy,
but they have made it an enjoyable experience for me.”
Even when times aren’t the best, the trio works to lift each other’s spirits.
“We go through good times and hard times together,” Ziegler said.
“When one of us is hurt, we go to each other and lift each other up.”
Barnes originates from Yukon, Okla. and has played soccer since he
was 3 years old. He earned NAIA All-America Honorable Mention honors
his sophomore and junior seasons and has served as a captain for the
Eagles the last three years. Off the field, he has been an example to
“Barnes is a good Christian example on and off the field,” Ziegler said. “The way he lives his life is a light to me.”
Ziegler came to Oklahoma Christian from Wellington, Ohio, where he
started playing soccer at age six. He traveled all over the United
States with a club team and when he visited Oklahoma Christian, he felt
like it was the best place and team for him.
“I like it at Oklahoma Christian because there is a lot of good
competition, and I have made a lot of good friends,” Ziegler said.
While Barnes has received most of the one field accolades among the
three, he concedes Ziegler doesn’t receive enough attention for what he
“Ziegler does not receive the recognition he deserves,” Barnes said. “He is the backbone of the defense.”
Frei played soccer starting at age four in Fort Collins, Colo. He
hopes to continue playing soccer after college and plans to return
closer to home and maybe play for the Colorado Rapids.
These three may all play soccer together, but they have developed a
deep friendship that goes much further than just being teammates.