Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from Melissa Barbieri and Melbourne City head coach Rado Vidosic as the goalkeeper comes back for a 26th year (27/9/22).
Above: The legend returns again – Melissa Barbieri at Melbourne City. Artwork: Melbourne City.
Melbourne City announced today that Melissa Barbieri will once again return to the club as a playing Assistant Coach for the 2022/23 A-League Women’s season.
Barbieri will enter her 26th year as a professional footballer, continuing a career that has seen her lead the Matildas to Olympics and World Cup campaigns amongst numerous personal and team accolades.
Injury saw Barbieri thrust into the role of City’s number one goalkeeper at the start of last season, a spot that she grabbed with both hands and held onto tightly.
She would prove that age is nothing but a number, ending the season voted by her peers into the PFA Team of the Season. Barbieri has now made a total of 92 A-League Women’s appearances, with 20 of those coming after first joining City in 2017.
Head Coach Rado Vidosic said it was “fantastic” to have Barbieri once again returning to the club.
“The experience and leadership she brings to our group is invaluable and she’s really just a great person to have involved as part of our program,” Vidosic said.
“She clearly showed last season that she can still contribute to a very high level on the pitch when called upon, so we expect her to again challenge to be our number one goalkeeper this season.”
Barbieri described City as her ‘home’ and said there was never any doubt in her mind that she wanted to be back for season 2022/23.
“A professional environment with good people who make working hard easy is what keeps me coming back,” Barbieri said.
“Helping to add silverware to the trophy cabinet is a big motivating factor for me, and I’m excited to see the group grow from 2021/22 and the disappointment we felt after not coming away with any trophies.”
When asked about the season being extended, Barbieri said she was “very excited” about the prospect of playing more. As a goalkeeper, you’re never guaranteed games, but reaching 100 (currently 92 total ALW appearances) is a big goal of mine coming into the new season.”
Confirmed 2022/23 Squad: Melissa BARBIERI, Chelsea BLISSETT, Emma CHECKER, Naomi CHINNAMA, Leah DAVIDSON, Bryleeh HENRY, Darcey MALONE, Leticia McKENNA, Holly McNAMARA*, Rhianna POLLICINA, Kaitlyn TORPEY, Tori TUMETH*
Tori Tumeth and Holly McNamara currently recovering from ACL injuries.