Barbir returns to SKC II after the club said they were in negotiations with him, along with other roster moves, after the 2020 season. Barbir is now the third defender signed for 2021, joining Kaveh Rad and Petar Cuic, and the ninth player overall.
Last season’s USL Championship playoffs were cut short before the USL Cup Final due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Tampa Bay Rowdies team. The season concluded with the Rowdies being crowned Eastern Conference champions while Phoenix Rising FC won the Western Conference. Former USL Championship side North Carolina FC also recently announced that they will be playing in USL League One.
The former US youth international signed with SKC II ahead of their 2020 campaign. Barbir didn’t initially have the starting job, but eventually worked his way into the starting XI as the center back partner to SKC Academy product Kaveh Rad.
Barbir came from Romanian club Astra Giurgiu before joining SKC II ahead of the 2020 season. He scored twice last season, including a memorable match-winning strike against the Indy Eleven. The Allentown, Pennsylvania native started in 13 of his 15 appearances in 2020.
The former Manchester City and West Brom academy player will be 23 years old by the time the season kicks off later this year, making him the third oldest player under contract for 2021, behind captain Christian Duke and goalkeeper Remi Prieur.
Barbir will be under the guidance of head coach Paulo Nagamura, who will be leading Sporting II for his fourth season. The USL Championship has not announced a format or timetable for a return in 2021.