What an honor to sit down and get to know the Greatest Womens Goalkeeper in the World, Karen Bardsley. A true California girl, born and raised in Santa Monica, attended California State University, Fullerton, finally in the 3rd round of WPS draft was selected by Sky Blue FC, where she currently plays. Despite such upbringing, Karen stood tall in goal for England last month when they upset the US. Interesting to find out what that was like.
What club did you play for growing up?
KB: I played for a couple of clubs growing up: started with “Chino Hills Nitemares” at eleven, the team moved to “Upland Celtic,” and I eventually moved to “So. Cal. Blues” at 15.
Who has been your biggest influence in soccer?
KB: I think my Dad has been my biggest influence. I have learned so much from him over the years; he got me started off on the right foot.
When did you start playing in goal?
KB: Five years old. I joined AYSO and everyone had a go in goal and I was best at it but at the time all I wanted to do was run around. Clearly the position got the better of me in the end.
Who is the most difficult player you have faced and why?
KB: Five time “World Player of the Year,” Marta takes the cake. She is incredibly quick, tactically intelligent and ridiculously skillful. She can create goalscoring opportunities out of thin air.
What is your favorite stadium to play in?
KB: Atlanta Beat, of Women’s Professional Soccer has a fantastic stadium on the campus of Kennesaw State University, just outside Atlanta, Georgia.
Are there any stadiums that you get intimidated to play in?
KB: Well, if we played in the Nou Camp I’m sure I’d be slightly intimidated but we don’t so, no, not really. It’s just two teams of eleven, a ball and two goals.
Who is your favorite goalkeeper current and past?
KB: When I was little Peter Schmeichel was my hero but now I would have to say I love watching Edwin Van Der Sar play.
Who is your favorite Cal State Fullerton Men’s Goalkeeper of all time?
KB: Oh no, I can’t believe you asked that…there’s no way I’m not going to offend someone. So I’ll name ALL of my favorites. I never got a chance to see Bob play but I’m sure I saw you (Mike) play at one point or another when I was younger. I watched Sean Rockwell play quite a bit a long with Scott Alexander and I got to train with Sam Reynolds so naturally he’s one of my favorites.
What is your favorite league in the world?
KB: English Premiere League hands down. However, La Liga is a very, very close second.
You recently started in goal in England’s victory versus the United States, can you describe your feelings leading up to that game and then following the big win?
KB: It was a massive result for us, it’s hard to put my feelings into words but I’ll try because I like you. When the fixture was announced I was so excited, almost to the point of anxiousness – I couldn’t wait for the months to pass. When we finally met up the excitement was still there but it had become a calmer presence. On the day of the game the performance was more like a culmination of every experience, emotion and adversity; it was a thrill. I was so happy following the game it was nearly overwhelming. It’s my hope that we, as a team, use the experience as a stepping stone and continue our development into the world cup.
What’s your goal for 2011?KB: To make the World Cup Squad and hopefully be in the starting 11.
Where is your favorite vacation spot?KB: That’s difficult, there are so many places I have yet to explore…I’d like to go to Australia and New Zealand. Hawaii was beautiful, I wouldn’t mind going back there but I will always love Southern California. Default!
You own a team and money is no object, what 11 players do you sign? Male or Female!
KB: 4- 4- 2
Van Der Sar
S. Coleman Vidic Puyol Gareth Bale
Iniesta C. Ronaldo
Carroll Messi Marta
What do you like to do away from soccer?
KB: Anything, I’m all for trying something different. I graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Fine Arts; emphasis in Graphic Design. I like to doodle, sketch, paint and obviously design, if I’m not too busy. I’m also trying to not be terrible at guitar and surfing.
If you weren’t a soccer player, what would you be doing?
KB: As I said just moments ago, I’d probably be working in the design industry or coaching. I think I’d like to be a stunt driver…maybe I’ll try that.
Do you have a hidden talent?
KB: I can whistle really loud, is that a talent?
Thanks Karen – what a great interview. I am sure this will inspire many. Best of luck with Sky Blue FC and this summer in the World Cup! We’d love for you to come visit our 247 Goalkeepers sometime.