Manchester City veteran keeper Karen Bardsley has become the first professional footballer to join the Manchester Football Association’s Board of Directors according to reports on their website.
The goalkeeper has been appointed non-executive director for women’s and girl’s football within Manchester and has been tasked with aiding the continuation of growth of participation across the city.
The Football Association believe that Bardsley’s insight into the top level of the game will help to shape their policies around the sport. The Manchester County Football Association have pledged their full efforts towards increasing participation in the city in recent years, with figures currently placing more than 3,500 female players with them. Likewise, there are currently 49 Wildcats centres set up for children aged five to 11 which will aim to provide a safe space for inspiring the next generation of female footballers.
Bardsley currently has over a century of appearances for Manchester City to her name and has seen women’s football in England transform since making her debut for the club in 2013. The City goalkeeper has recently graduated with a Distinction in Sports Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University, a qualification which she will be able to utilise in her new role.
The England international has spoken of her excitement about her new role. She said “Alongside playing with City, I’m so excited to now focus on increasing participation numbers of women and girls’ playing football in Manchester.
“It’s something that is very close to my heart and I really do believe that women and girls’ football has a bright future here.”
Next season will see Bardsley move to within a year of her 20th campaign as a senior footballer and her vast experience in the game will undoubtedly help the development of a number of youngsters in the Manchester area.