Barbieri grateful to be back

Former Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri catches up with Sally Shipard to talk all things football ahead of the start of the new Westfield W-League season.

Former Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri (MB) catches up with Sally Shipard (SS) to talk about football post-pregnancy, the impending Westfield W-League season and her desire to get back in the national team.

(SS) Welcome back to the W-League Bubsy! How does it feel knowing that in a couple of months you-ll be out there in the action again?

(MB) Thanks Sal! It feels like I'm at the beginning again and I just made my first rep. team! I'm excited and nervous but looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead.

(SS) You've given birth to a little ray of sunshine. How is it being a mother to beautiful little Holly?

(MB) It-s the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have ever done. She makes me melt. I am truly blessed.

(SS) Fellow Aussie teammate Heather Garriock gave birth around a similar time, have you been able to support each other? Or at least share stories?

(MB) H supported me through my first three months or so where I was trying to overcome sleep deprivation and various other issues. I couldn't really help her much but I think already being a mother you look to help others. H helped me and now I help those who are going through it after me.

(SS) What have you been doing to get yourself back into shape post-pregnancy?

(MB) I have been lucky enough to come across an amazing game changer in terms of nutrition and organic clean eating. Its called Isagenix and I cant believe how much it has helped me fuel my body perfectly for the demands of being a mum and a football player. I have also teamed up with my old coach Jeff Olver. Training with Jeff has boosted my preparation and getting my goalkeeping fitness back.

(SS) It seems like a pretty cool training environment for you with Jeff Olver, Football Zone Coaching- How have you been enjoying the influence of Jeff?

(MB) Jeff is tough and because I haven-t had a consistent goalkeeping coach, I have some habits he is trying to iron out and he doesn-t let anything slip past - literally! I had him as a coach as a field player and he helped me gain national selection as a midfielder when I was 16. He is strict but loves a joke or two which is just what I need to enjoy myself.

(SS) How have you survived the Melbourne winter? It look-s like it-s been pretty cold!

(MB) I actually don-t know how I survived! I looked very weird because I would run around my penalty area to stay warm if my team was dominating up front. At one stage I had to wear a jacket under my playing shirt to stay warm. It's not as cold as Canberra though.

(SS) Congratulations on your recent signing with Adelaide. How did that opportunity come about?

(MB) Basically I sent out an email to all the W-League clubs to let them know I was on the lookout for a club. I was told that all clubs had their keepers already chosen so I was a bit upset. Adelaide were a great fit for me so I asked them once more if there was any possibility that they could reconsider and with Ross being signed he called me and said I was the keeper he wanted and I literally jumped for joy! Moral of the story - always fight for what you want.

(SS) How are you going to attack the season logistically now that you have a gorgeous little bub?

(MB) Holly and I will be living in Adelaide. My husband is not fond of the idea but is supporting my decision. The cost of living away from home will place a burden on our budget but all female footballers make that choice and I am prepared to do what it takes to play the game that I love. I am not ready to retire and I want to play for the national team again so you do what you have to do to play. Holly will be a frequent flyer soon - Ross and Adelaide are very family orientated so he assures me I will have times I can come back to Melbourne so Holly can see her Dad.

(SS) I imagine you have in mind to arrive and inject your personality into the club, what are you hoping to contribute that will help bolster the squad?

(MB) Energy and leadership. Honesty and integrity. Heart on my sleeve. Never say die attitude. And you know what Sal, lots of laughter! Hopefully I can give a boost to the profile of the team as well. I-ll give a lot of time to sponsors and fans who support us win, lose or draw.

(SS) Can you tell us who else the Lady Reds are eyeing off?

(MB) No! I would love to give you the goss mate but it's very top secret. Actually the Lady Reds have an amazing array of young footballing talent and we will be looking to add some older players to help balance the team out. I am sure there are a couple of internationals that are looking for a Red shirt as well.

(SS) You've made it quite clear you want to be back in the national team, is that the most important goal for you now or are you hoping to just get out there and have some fun?

(MB) I am always out there having fun. I want to make the Matildas but for the moment I am a Lady Red. I want to help the Lady Reds win games. So I will take it one game at a time, do the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.