After reaching the peak of his playing career – the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ – Barron decided the time was right to hang up his boots.
“I was an All White for about five years – played a lot of teams, went on a lot of tours around the World – and obviously finished with the World Cup,” Barron recalls.
“It was an amazing experience to get on the park against Italy. It’s the biggest stage in the game so to reach the pinnacle was pretty special and to be the only unbeaten side too. I thought it was a great time to finish the career as well. I was 30 so it was the right time to finish and finish on a high.”
Luring the former international out of retirement wasn’t a difficult task for his teammate Shaun Easthope.
“We played together when we were kids in Lower Hutt. He called me up and asked if I was interested in playing a few rounds in the OFC Champions League Preliminary with a Samoan team,” Barron says.
“He sold the idea very well. He showed me pictures of the beaches in Samoa, palm trees, blue sea. It is great to have the opportunity to play again.”
Barron and his Kiwi teammates dominated the Preliminary round in American Samoa and have qualified for the group stages of the OFC Champions League scheduled to be held in Fiji in April 2013.
He now has some decisions to make about whether he will be available to continue the campaign with Kiwi but says there is plenty of time for those discussions to be had.
In the meantime he is keeping a close eye on the All Whites and their intercontinental play-off against Mexico which could see the side qualify for consecutive World Cups.
“I think it will be more challenging than Bahrain. But Mexico have been struggling, they’re in the play-offs for a reason, they didn’t get automatic qualification and they’ve changed their coach so who knows,’ Barron says.
“It’s over two legs, if we can pick up anything from the overseas game first – maybe we can get a draw out of it or even an away goal and bring it back to Wellington – anything can happen you know and we certainly showed that four years ago.”
Barron says the All Whites have twice played Mexico in recent years – international friendlies in 2010 and 2011.
He made an appearance in the 2010 match at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles as the All Whites built up to the World Cup and says it remains a hugely memorable experience.
“There were 90,000 or so people. It was tough, we lost 3-0 but they took their foot off the pedal it could have easily been more.
“That said, it was a different team back then so hopefully we’ll get something out of this one. There’s some really good players in this current All Whites squad and it would be pretty cool to get back-to-back qualifications – but anything could happen.”