A talented Berkshire-based footballer has returned to the UK after a spell in the US to sign for FA Women’s National League outfit Maidenhead United Women.
23 year old defender Nicole Barrett has achieved a lot in her fledgling career so far and is looking to stake a claim to a regular spot in the fourth-tier Magpies starting line-up.
Barrett most recently played in the United States for Seattle-based OSA FC. Nicole gave an exclusive interview to Football In Berkshire and told us: “I was in America for two years. I played for a semi pro team in Seattle. We travelled across the Pacific North West for games. It took the game to a new level for me, it was all so well done. The training sessions were intense, the sense of team was very strong and the respect for coaches, officials and the other team was there. The commitment was amazing from everyone involved, including players, coaches, spectators etc. I also coached at a high standard at a Premier club, coaching U9’s and U16’s girls and U7 and U12 boys. So basically it was non-stop football for two years, the dream!”
Nicole – who played for home-town team Reading as well as Oxford United and Chelsea before moving to the States – used her coaching skills to good effect on her return in setting up a coaching scheme, ABC Kick, based in Woodley. Nicole was inspired to take up coaching as a side-interest in the UK having herself experienced obstacles and a lack of opportunities – “at the age of six I started with a local boys’ team” – as a football-mad girl. During her time in Seattle, Nicole noted that there were cultural differences in the US in that there is much more encouragement for girls to take up soccer. Nicole explains: “I set up ABC Kick when I returned from America. It’s a non-profit business with the goal to get as many children involved in the game as possible, from the age of 18 months to 6 years old.” Barrett holds a FA Level 2 Coaching qualification and the next move for this qualified Personal Trainer who works at Pure Gym in Calcot – in between her work, coaching and playing commitments – is to work towards her UEFA B Licence.
Barrett has already been on the scoresheet for her new side:
Busy in her professional life, Nicole still has the hunger to player competitive football at as high a level as she possibly can: “Upon my return to the UK I decided to focus on my career and also setting up the business to give something to the next generation of players. It has been 2 years since I’ve played, so I decided to have a look around for a new club. From my first session with MUWFC I knew this was a team which I would fit into and I really wanted to play for. The sessions are very well set out and professional, the communication is exceptional and the players are all very encouraging and supportive. I’m really enjoying playing again, I think the team is strong and we’re going to have a really good season. I honestly only have good things to say about the team and I’m excited to be a part of such a forward-thinking organisation.”
Praise indeed for new manager Nevin Saroya – formerly of Brentford, Hayes and Maidenhead United – and his hardworking players to impress an individual who has already achieved plenty in her life on both sides of the Atlantic.
Maidenhead United Women are still offering trials to prospective new players as they kick off their pre-season schedule at Abingdon United this Sunday 2nd August. There are also opportunities to join Saroya’s backroom team ahead of the FAWNL Division 1 South West season. Anyone interested in trialling for or being involved with the club should e-mail [email protected]