Drogheda United are delighted to announce the signing of South African international goalkeeper Jethren Barr.
Barr made his senior debut for South Africa in the 2023 COSAFA Cup, playing against Namibia, Botswana and Eswatini as Bafana Bafana finished third in the tournament.
The 28-year-old began his professional career with Bidvest Wits in the South African Premier Division, making his debut as a 17-year-old.
Barr, who was also capped at U17, U20 and U23 levels for his country also played for Stellenbosch and Maritzburg United before making the move to Northern Irish side Portadown in 2021.
The shot stopper made 67 appearances across his two year spell with Portadown, and was named Shamrock Reds Supporters Club Player of the Year for 2022.
“I’ve been playing in Northern Ireland, but I know how tough the league is here. Drogheda came in for me, and I’m really excited to get going.
“I made my debut in the South African league when I was seventeen. The league in South Africa is different compared to here. Playing with Portadown, I think I’ve adjusted to the differences in the climate and weather as well. I’ve been patient, waiting until January to get a move and I’m really buzzing to be here at Drogheda now,” Barr explained.
“I played my first senior international games for South Africa this year which was a dream come true for me. I was grateful the people back home took notice of how I was playing in Northern Ireland and gave me a chance. I think I did well, we didn’t lose any of the three games, so hopefully there are eyes back on me and I can kick on now.
“I want to play as many games as possible. Andrew has done really well, we’ve seen it from up North, he’s put in some great performances. Being the older goalkeeper in the team, I can always guide him and offer advice but I also want to push him for his spot, because I am here to compete for my place in the team,” Barr said.
Manager Kevin Doherty explained his delight at the competition for places he now has among goalkeepers in the squad.
“There were a number of clubs looking at Jethren so it’s a great one for us to have. It’s not often you sign an international player either.
“I had looked at a few different goalkeepers but when I saw Jethren, when you put together his experience and his age, it fit. Then I spoke to him, and I was so impressed just by speaking to him. His attitude, his enthusiasm, how positive he was,” Doherty expressed.
“Everyone knows we have a really good goalkeeper here in Andy Wogan, so this is good competition now too. His experience plays a big part, and it is a strange dynamic with goalkeepers at times because only one can play but I’m bringing Jethren in here to compete with Andy.
“I’m really happy with both senior goalkeepers we have signed, and we have young Ryan Maher also, who was excellent last year for the under-19s, and trained with us a lot too,” Doherty explained.