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Soccer 'phenom' one of eight Wildcats to sign
Steven Barrier
Steven Barrier, his mother Olivia and his best friend Richmond Hill soccer player Gus Gonzalez who will be going to Army West Point and is a Wildcats co-captain. Mike Brown photo.

Steven Barrier did not put on a Richmond Hill soccer uniform the last two years but that did not prevent him from drawing the attention of coaches from the University of North Florida.

Barrier was one of eight Wildcats athletes signing national letters of intent last Wednesday to take their skills to the next level and he chose to become an Osprey. 

Others making their college choices were  girls lacrosse players Katelyn Miller, Regan Martinez, Elizabeth Mehl and Tatum Williams, softball players Taylor Gilbert and Kayla Ragins and football’s Ty Goldrick.

Miller signed with Belmont Abbey, Martinez with Pfeiffer, Mehl with Sweet Briar, Williams with Reinhardt, Gilbert and Ragins are going to Benedict College and Goldrick inked with Erskine College.

  “Steven is a soccer phenom,” Wildcats Coach Stephen Peterson said. “His MLS-Next (Tormenta FC-Major League Soccer Next) contract would not allow him to play high school soccer his sophomore to senior years. He is a mature and dynamic player and leader.”

Barrier is the second Richmond Hill soccer player to sign with the Division I Ospreys this school year. Girls standout Courtney Allen signed last November and is currently on the UNF varsity roster after graduating last December.

When given the opportunity of playing for the Tormenta-Next team Barrier knew the sacrifice he would be making as far as playing for the school Hill team but it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“It’s a high-level league,” Barrier said. “The best kids in the country play in it.

“Basically I got involved with North Florida when one of their coaches came up for one of my games and I played really well,” Barrier said. “I followed up with an email and it just went from there.”

 It was also a matter of Osprey coaches standing by Barrier when he was injured and unable to play last summer.

 “I was still testing my options but then I got injured,” Barrier said. “It was hard to get myself out there in front of other coaches. They offered me knowing my situation and they were really supportive of me. They invited me down and I knew from the moment I stepped on campus it was the right decision for me.”

 Barrier is the son of Olivia Barrier and the late Steven Barrier who passed away in October 2021 at the age of 44 as the result of an auto accident.

 “UNF is lucky to get him,” Peterson said. “He was our only freshman starter and COVID cut short his sophomore year. His soccer IQ and situational awareness is truly extraordinary. He creates tremendous synergy on the pitch and always puts the team first; he values an assist more than a goal.

Richmond Hill’s girls lacrosse team is in its fourth season as a varsity sport after competing at the club level. After the 2020 debut season was shortened by COVID the last two seasons the Wildcats have won back-to-back region championships. They advanced to the Elite Eight of the state playoffs last year.

Miller was the team’s second-leading scorer last year with 78 points while Mehl had an outstanding season in goal allowing only 7.7 goals per game. Martinez and Williams are defensive stalwarts on a team which gives up goals grudgingly.

Ragins and Gilbert played on Wildcats teams which advanced to the second round of the state playoffs the last two years. Ragins was also a standout on flag football teams which made the state playoffs each of her three years on the varsity including the Final Four her sophomore year.

“I moved here from Brunswick in the eighth grade,” Ragins said. “Sports and softball helped me find my place in school. I was fortunate to be able to play with a good group of girls in softball and flag football.”

Ragins and Gilbert became inseparable friends and Gilbert was being recruited by Benedict. When she went on her official visit Ragins tagged along and she’s now a Tiger.

Goldrick will be joining a Flying Fleet program which is getting ready to start its fourth season. Erskine revived its football program in 2020 after having dropped the sport in 1951.

The strong-armed senior threw for 3,092 yards in his career, completing 243 of 414 attempts for 20 touchdowns. He was the Region 1-7A all-region quarterback last fall.

Goldrick is only the second quarterback under Coach Matt LeZotte to pass for more than 3,000 yards after Kasey Greene who had 3,436 in the 2016-17 seasons.  

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