Melissa Barbieri’s stunning career revival was crowned with a Westfield W-League keeper of the year award Monday night.
Melissa Barbieri-s stunning career revival was crowned with a Westfield W-League keeper of the year award Monday night.
Now “Bubs” has Asian Cup selection in her sights with her beloved Westfield Matildas.
The Adelaide United keeper capped off her own football fairytale by bagging the coveted award in Sydney last night.
And her acceptance speech was a highlight of the night with the shot-stopper struggling to hold back the tears while recounting her story of redemption.
She had the audience in the palm of her goalkeeping hands.
In it, she thanked popular Reds coach Ross Aloisi for giving her a chance to resurrect a career that career looked over when club offers dried up after she gave birth to a daughter.
The 34-year-old added she was a “Red for life” and explained the risky decision to take her daughter to Adelaide and leave her husband back in Melbourne just for another shot at the game she loves.
“I play for the haters, really. People who tell me I can-t, people who told me I should retire before I even got pregnant and goalkeeper coaches who told me I shouldn-t even be playing in goal,” she told www.footballaustralia.com.au with a beaming smile while clutching the award. “This [the award] is for them.”
Put simply, Barbieri didn-t want to go out being dictated to regarding her retirement plans. A storming season put paid to those doubters.
And now with the award as added motivation, she-s in camp with the Matildas ahead of final squad selection for the AFC Asian Cup next month.
The award is something Barbieri wants to show her daughter Holly as a good example of not giving up.
“She-ll probably break it the minute I get the award home!
"But it-s a way of showing her that only you can stop yourself. Don-t ever let anyone else douse your dreams.
“It was a risk [signing with Adelaide] for me and my whole family. Not just me," she added.
The charismatic keeper is tantalisingly close to a spot on the plane to the Vietnamese capital for the AFC Asian Cup.
The keeper, who physically looks in peak condition, entered camp today (Tues) with the Australian squad on the Gold Coast, with selection the goal of all players on show.
In Vietnam, the Aussie women aim to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women-s World Cup, and potentially even win it again after their 2010 triumph in China.
Four years ago, Barbieri as skipper secured her and the team-s place in history by winning the trophy.
Barbieri ‘s dream is still alive in 2014, but she is battling some very good keepers such as Casey Dumont, Bri Davey and incumbent Lydia Williams.
However, if selection was based purely on determination and will-power, she-d be the first picked by interim Westfield Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.
“Football is my life.Blood, sweat and tears for the national team for ten years.
“Fell in love with the game when I was eight but was told I couldn-t play because I was a girl, which drove me forward even further," she explained.
Barbieri, who-s made a habit of entertaining speeches at awards nights, added that the secret was simple. “No bullshit! They [the speeches] come from the heart”.
The Matildas squad for this week-s Gold Coast camp is...
Teigen ALLEN - Western Sydney Wanderers Laura ALLEWAY - Brisbane Roar Melissa BARBIERI (gk) - Adelaide United Nicola BOLGER - Sydney FC Hannah BREWER - Newcastle Jets Tameka BUTT - Brisbane Roar Kim CARROLL - Brisbane Roar Stephanie CATLEY - Melbourne Victory Emma CHECKER - Melbourne Victory Brianna DAVEY (gk) - Melbourne Victory Casey DUMONT (gk) - Sydney FC Kathryn GILL - Perth Glory Katrina-Lee GORRY - Brisbane Roar Michelle HEYMAN - Canberra United Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT - Brisbane Roar FC Alanna KENNEDY - Western Sydney Wanderers Leena KHAMIS - Sydney FC Chloe LOGARZO - Sydney FC Teresa POLIAS - Sydney FC Clare POLKINGHORNE - Brisbane Roar Hayley RASO - Brisbane Roar Gema SIMON - Newcastle Jets Ashleigh SYKES - Canberra United Emily VAN-EGMOND - Western Sydney Wanderers