Old Trafford dream fires Bardsley

02 August 2012 / 16:01

Footballer Karen Bardsley knows looking beyond the next game is a strict no-no for any professional athlete.

But considering what is at stake for Great Britain's goalkeeper, the 27-year-old can be forgiven for casting an eye towards what is likely to happen if the hosts beat Canada in the quarter-final at Coventry on Friday.

Born in Santa Monica to parents who hail from Manchester and have supported Manchester United all their lives, the prospect of facing the United States, at Old Trafford, sends a tingle down the spine. "To set foot on Old Trafford would be beyond a dream come true," she said.

"My parents moved to America about 30 years ago but my family is all from Manchester and, apart from a couple who escape to Kendal and Cornwall, they still live in the Stockport area.

"We all support United. My grandad used to tell me all about it. I have been to matches and done the tour. It would be simply incredible to get there as a player."

Canada are the seventh-ranked team in the world even though they could only qualify behind Japan and Sweden as one of the best third-ranked outfit in the 12-team competition.

GB can be confident, not least because Bardsley's goal is yet to be breached.

"I hope we are regarded as a success story," said Bardsley.

"We don't know whether this is ever going to happen again so we want to seize the opportunity whilst it is still fresh and make it a successful journey. We want to make the country proud of us and try to put women's football in the public eye to make people realise that we do work hard and we do deserve some respect."