Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Kirsty Barton believes that youngsters can achieve their dreams of becoming professional footballers for the club.
The 28-year-old is Albion’s longest-serving player, accumulating near to 200 appearances for the club at senior level since joining The Seagulls in 2011.
Despite the influx of overseas internationals to the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, Barton believes that young girls can still fulfil their dreams of becoming professional footballers with Brighton & Hove Albion a prime example of a club who offer countless opportunities to youth.
“Yeah definitely” Barton said when asked by FA Women’s Super League Full-Time if the opportunities are still there for young homegrown girls to become elite footballers. “We do have a lot of the young academy girls training with us quite often.
“For the last few years, there have been numerous academy girls coming in and training with us and coming along to games with us.
“There are great opportunities there for them, Hope (Powell) likes to build from young players and bring them through.”
Barton has played an instrumental role in helping Brighton & Hove Albion transition through the divisions and she still has to pinch herself that her job is one of a full-time professional footballer.
She added “It still feels like I am just playing, it feels like I don’t have a job, it feels like I am doing my hobby day in, day out.
“To call it my job is just great, it’s every girl’s dream that loves football.
“I never thought that having a career as a footballer would be the case, I always thought it would be a sideline and I’d just be doing it as I love to do.
“I am very blessed that it is my every day job.”
The set up at Brighton & Hove Albion these days is a very different to the one which Barton experienced when she first arrived at the club and the player went on to summarise what her early days with the Sussex club were like.
“The first day when I turned up for a trial it was at the university and it was on the grass pitches and there were loads of girls there, it was just like a standard trial” said the Albion midfielder.
“When we used to train, it was on the 3G pitches by the Amex and it was only a couple of nights a week then we used to play on a Sunday at the Withdean.
“Looking back to where it has come from is just massive, to see that transition from where we have come from to where we are now it’s lovely to have been a part of.”
Barton has been named amongst the Brighton & Hove Albion substitutes as they face West Ham United at The Chigwell Construction Stadium this afternoon.