Etienne Barbara will be leaving Hibernians towards the end of next month after signing for USSF Division 2 Professional League side Carolina RailHawks.
The Malta international striker said in a report on OurSports Central, “It never passed through my mind to play in America or that an opportunity could arise there. I couldn’t actually believe it until I met coach Martin [Rennie] when he came to Malta. He immediately had that professional approach and he was serious about it. Then the offer started to look attractive.”
“I had opportunities to go to play in Europe, but America is a place that I’ve never been to and the professional setup and training facilities as Martin described them kept popping in my mind as a good challenge to look for. ”
A product of Floriana, Barbara joined Marsaxlokk in 2003. In 2005, he moved to Birkirkara and then joined Sliema Wanderers after two years with the Stripes. Last season, he moved to SC Verl in Germany but this summer, he joined Hibernians after a trial with Sheffield Wednesday.
“Etienne’s played at a high level with the Maltese National Team, played against some of the best players in the world,” said RailHawks coach Martin Rennie. “He was a player I didn’t know too much about until a few months ago. I saw his videos and I was real impressed, and I spoke to some people who also told me, This guy is really, really good. I made the decision to go watch him play, and I was blown away by what he did. I’m hoping that will translate to our league, and I believe it will. He’s got pace, power and he can finish and he’s just an all-around player. He’ll add a lot to our squad.”