By Bob Narang

GURNEE, Ill. – Sarah Barbosa is not your typical goalie for a high-level program.

The Warren senior stands 5-foot-4, plays three sports and possesses an infectious positive attitude.

“I’m definitely not what you expect, especially when people find out I play goalie,” Barbosa said. “I’m short, but you have to work on jumping a lot being shorter, and you have to make sure your timing is on. It gives me more of a chance to prove people wrong, to break the stereotype that you don’t have to be a 5-8 or taller goal keeper.”

Barbosa is one of the key returnees for the Blue Devils this season, who look to win the program’s fourth Class 3A regional title in the last five seasons.

Ironically, her rise to a starting goalie started on a whim nearly eight years ago.

“I’ve played soccer since I could walk,” Barbosa said. “I had an older sister who played soccer through the park district, and one day they needed a goalie.

“I told them I would go in for one game. They told me I was kind of good at it, so I just stuck with it. I was 10 years old, so I really became a goalie by accident.”

When she is not diving or leaping for saves to help the Blue Devils to victory, Barbosa spends her free time playing volleyball or competing as a gymnast. Barbosa’s busy schedule also includes club soccer and travel volleyball, along with her student-athlete roles at Warren.

“I perform well under pressure, because it gets me hyped up,” Barbosa said. “For me, I love the big games.

“They’re more exciting and action-packed. I get more shots, and I’m more engaged in it. I love it.”

Warren coach Ryan McCabe believes Barbosa is set for a breakout season in her third year on the varsity. Besides her on-the-field talents, McCabe added that Barbosa also makes the long bus trips memorable.

“We are expecting big things from her this season,” McCabe said. “She’s incredibly quick and athletic in the net. She also has a great singing voice that we all get to hear on the bus rides after games.”

Barbosa said the Blue Devils, who finished with a 13-9-3 record last season, are motivated to atone for the season-ending loss to Fremd in a Class 3A sectional.

“We have a great group of girls, and this is probably my last season playing soccer,” said Barbosa, who is still undecided about playing college soccer. “I haven’t decided (on my future career), so I just want to make this season a fun one. My main focus is to have a good time, give it 100 percent and make sure everyone is following along.”

Bio On The Reporter: Bob Narang has been covering prep recruiting and sports for the past 25 years. His work also appears in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald, Athlon Sports and the Daily Chronicle.