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Former SPU Soccer Player Enjoying Life as NFL Wife
Brittany Langdon and Matt Barkley were childhood friends.
Brittany Langdon and Matt Barkley were childhood friends.

Monday, July 14, 2014

SEATTLE – She never has to study a playbook. Doesn't suit up. And isn't subject to the scrutiny that comes with being a National Football League quarterback.
 
Yet, Brittany Barkley has been very much a part of all those things during the past 12 months.
 
The former Seattle Pacific women's soccer player – known at Brittany Langdon while adorned in Falcons maroon from 2009-12 – experienced her own version of a rookie season in the NFL in 2013 as she helped husband Matt Barkley navigate through his first campaign with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"It has been a really special year," said Brittany, a stalwart on SPU's back line and part of four consecutive NCAA Tournament-qualifying teams. "We're humbled by the experience of being in the NFL and just excited to be where God has us and who he wants us to meet."
 
Matt Barkley, who starred at Southern California and whose 2009 freshman season was spent under the guidance of current Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, endured many of the highs and lows that go along with being a rookie pro – especially at the quarterback position.
 
Two veterans – Michael Vick and Nick Foles – were ahead of him, and played the vast majority of downs for the Eagles.  But Barkley got into three games, and completed 30 of 49 passes for 300 yards, with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
 
"My role is just supporting him and loving him just as any wife would do for her husband – and not getting too caught up in football," Brittany said.
 
FITTING INTO PHILLY

Sometimes, two people just seem destined to be together. Brittany and Matt Barkley are two of those people.
 
 "We met in preschool – in 1996," Brittany said with a laugh.
 
A native of Irvine, Calif., Brittany eventually came north to Seattle Pacific to play soccer and major in communications. Matt, born about 10 miles away from Brittany in Newport Beach, stuck closer to home and went on to star for USC while also majoring in communications.
 
Selected in the fourth round by Philadelphia in the 2013 NFL draft, he and Brittany married shortly after graduation in June 2013, then headed across the country.
                                                                                   
"It was a whirlwind – graduating, getting married, and moving in the same month," Brittany said. "It has been a blast. We absolutely love being on the East Coast, and being by ourselves as newlyweds. We're just kind of making our own little family routine. God has provided us with lots of friends in and out of football, and we have a great church."
 
Part of fitting into the city has been getting to know some of the fans. While Philadelphia's rabid supporters are known to have a tough reputation – they're the ones who infamously booed Santa Claus several years ago – Brittany said they've been terrific to her.
 
"The fans are hilarious – I love them," she said, then quickly added, "It's good to get on their good side."
 
An outgoing, sociable person, Brittany has become a zoomba instructor two days a week at an assisted living center in nearby New Jersey while Matt is off at practice. She also has connected with some of the other wives and girlfriends of the players.
 
"The Eagles have such a great community as a family," she said. "The wives are awesome. I hang out with them and see at least one of them every day, whether I'm doing errands, or running, or cooking. It really has been a huge help in getting situated."
 
GAME ON – AND LET IT SNOW

From sunny Southern California to mostly mild (though sometimes soggy) Seattle, an extreme East Coast-style winter was something brand-new to Brittany. And make no mistake: last winter was extreme, one of the five snowiest on record in Philadelphia history, with four separate snowfalls of six inches or more.
 
"I was excited for the first snow, because I'm from California," Brittany said. "After a while, it kept coming. But it wasn't too bad – I thought it was going to be a lot worse than it was.
 
"Games are so fun when they're played in the snow," she added. "It's really fun and cozy and different."
 
Brittany was a regular at the Eagles' home games. But those contests involved more than just driving to Lincoln Financial Field and settling into a comfortable seat.

 "We always have some family from his side or my side, and friends come and visit. We do a lot of entertaining – and it's all on me," she said. "So I'm exhausted, but it's a blast. We get to the game early and do some tailgating."
 
Although she did not travel regularly – "The team goes and comes back quickly" – she did attend the regular-season finale in Dallas, with the NFC East Division title on the line. The Eagles won, 24-22.
 
A couple of trips are on her to-do list for the upcoming 2014 campaign.
 
"We looked at the schedule. I want to go to San Francisco and see their new stadium, and I want to go to Indianapolis because we have family in Indiana, and Matt has some teammates from USC who play for the Colts," she said.
 
"I'll go to some nice, warm games," she added, responding with a laugh when asked if that meant skipping a mid-November trek to Green Bay.
 
The second season for the Barkleys is approaching rapidly. Training camp starts on July 25 in Philadelphia, the preseason opener is Aug. 8 at Chicago, and the regular season begins at home on Sept. 7against Jacksonville.
 
"It was a great Season 1. We were met with a lot of grace," she said. "We kind of know what to expect now. It's really a nice feeling knowing what we're getting into. Matt knows what his strengths and weaknesses are, and what he has to work on. He's really excited and very positive."
 
So is Brittany.
 
"My biggest role was that I didn't have any ups and downs," she said.
 
"I'm his rock at home."

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