Verge Magazine were delighted to be part of FA Girls’ Football Week and had a great opportunity to meet with two England internationals – Amy Turner and Karen Bardsley – who represent the Women’s team. We got to find out what opportunities are available to students wanting to reach the top level of the game, whilst sharing how they got into the sport.
What made you choose football why not another sport, was it a family member or a player that you admired?
AT: When I was young I was a bit of a daredevil and enjoyed skateboarding whilst spending a lot of time in A&E. So my parents were like right its time to find something safer. I played hockey but then had a season ticket at Sheffield Utd, I used to have a season ticket. I loved everything about it.
Having had a great career representing, England and Great Britain plus many clubs in several countries. was there a country that stood out where ladies football is getting the credit and support it deserves?
KB: All of the countries were fairly different, I was in Sweden for a year. The feeling round the game seemed much more welcoming to all members of the public, Men supported the women’s game and it was in the papers. It was very professional in how it was run and was treated exactly the same as the top Men’s leagues including the coverage.
How important is it that current and ex-players continue to encourage participation at grass roots level?
KB: It is really important for people to see role models meet with people that are getting a higher education to show they can get a degree whilst pursuing a sport they want. Education was abig part in my life so it is important that students can see you can do both.
With the exposure to women’s football growing, How important is it to improve facilities and opportunities for ladies at an earlier stage?
AT: It’s a great opportunity for college and university students to get involved. It’s a great opportunity in football to be part of a team and that’s one of my favourite things being part of a team knowing the girls are going through similar things as me , being part of a team knowing that we can have fun in training. It’s a sense of togetherness.
Could the draft system work in the UK Game where we could see competitive University leagues?
KB: I think gaining the balance of your studies and competitive level of football could be and it highly important to have that so players have something to fall back on.
You had a chance to play for Hofstra University in New York, could the English Colleges and Uni’s learn from the American system?
AT: When I went to America on a scholarship, I felt it was important for my development as a footballer, football has a massive emphasis where it came first. We trained everyday, we played 2 games a week whilst travelling up and down the east coast. When I cam back to the UK the English system splits education and football. Im glad I have something to fall back on but im glad I made the decision to go out to America.
Do you have any advice to the next generation to reach the top in women’s football?
KB: Time management is an important skill, I like the feeling of not being rushed. I like to set a few hours aside so I can get the balance right, that I could sit down and think about what I wanted to do and look at my goals
The FA Girls’ Football Week runs from Monday 6 November to Sunday 12 November and gives students the opportunity to stay active in a fun and sociable way through football. Find a session near you at www.FAGirlsFootballWeek.com and share your experience using #JoinOurSquad to win exclusive prizes.