Like Father, Like Daughter

July 15, 2002

by Soccer America Senior Editor Scott French

Emmy Barr's approach to soccer, her work ethic and the tenacity with which she patrols the left flank, stems substantially from her father, former major-league pitcher Jim Barr.

The Washington Freedom defender has been learning to be a professional longer than anybody else associated with the WUSA, since a childhood spent watching Dad perform on the mound and prepare off of it.

She's the only child of a pro athlete in the league, although that should change next year when her little sister, Betsy, arrives from the University of Portland.

Emmy Barr, 27, has been a stabilizing force for the Freedom. The former Santa Clara standout started 19 of 21 games last year and hadn't missed a minute of action through Washington's first 12 matches in 2002.

Her father, who won 101 games in 12 seasons with the San Francisco Giants and California Angels, taught her the importance of preparation.

''I [learned] from his hard work'' she says. ''Even during the offseason, that's not your time to rest. ... He taught me how important working out is when no one's watching.''

Emmy enjoyed the life of a major-leaguer's child, playing at the ballpark with the other players' kids, taking off from school for three weeks every year for Spring Training, playing catch during the offseason with her father, ''who threw pretty hard.'' She went to nearly every day home game her dad's teams played.

''I remember my dad pitching,'' she says. ''My mom would say, 'Look, Dad's on the mound.' Mostly, I was watching everyone else. I didn't pay attention to the game.''

These days, Jim Barr - who retired when Emmy was 9 - helps his daughter with being a professional.

''I often call my dad with the political side of it,'' she says. ''I vent some feelings about some things, and he says, 'That's professional sports, Emmy.' 'This happened to you, too?' 'Yeah, it happens with every sport.' ''