Karen Bardsley: 'I could have ended up working at Disneyland forever... I was Goofy'

England women's California-born goalkeeper reveals the personality behind the player as she talks to FFT's Chris Flanagan about dinosaurs, Carly Rae Jepsen and rubbing shoulders with Micky...

My hero growing up was...
Peter Schmeichel. I was obsessed with him as a kid and I wanted to watch him as much as I could. He was my hero and I thought he was the world’s best goalkeeper.

The one thing I’d change about football is...
I wish someone would just make a decision about the offside rule and quit changing it, because it’s getting annoying now!

I knew I’d made it as a player when...
I still don’t know if I’ve made it! I think it’s probably just happened recently. When we beat Germany in the World Cup this summer and had that bronze medal draped over our necks, that was the moment for me to think ‘Wow, we’ve actually done something notable’. That was my moment really.

The day football broke my heart...
That late own goal against Japan in the World Cup semi-final. It was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of my life; it was awful, absolutely awful. The way we bounced back to beat Germany was amazing but that own goal was just the worst thing.

Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton

Consoling Steph Houghton after the painful defeat to Japan

I’ve never told anyone this before but...
I was bullied as a kid, I’ve never really told anyone that before. It got pretty gnarly at one point when I was in elementary school and at junior high, and it was just not a great time. But for every negative there are two or three positives to come out of it.

My guilty pleasure is...
Really cheesy pop music, probably a little bit of Carly Rae Jepsen.

The song that reminds me of childhood is...
Hall and Oates and their song You Make My Dreams Come True. It’s by far my favourite.

Karen Bardsley

Carly Rae Jepsen's No.1 fan

If I could have dinner with anyone it would be...
This is going to sound really cheesy but I would just love to have dinner with my parents. I don't see them for so long sometimes, so I’d love to sit down and have dinner with them, although we probably wouldn’t speak much! Besides them it would be pretty cool to have dinner with David Beckham.

If I could go back in time I’d go...
To see some dinosaurs, I'd go back to the Cretaceous period, way back in time. Jurassic Park is right up my alley, although obviously I’d try to see them from a safe distance!

The best player I’ve ever played with is...
Kelly Smith, but it’s a tough question. I was fortunate to play with Marta, Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd in the States, but consistently I’ve seen Kelly just being an incredible player. I’ve seen Marta do incredible things but I haven’t really played with her consistently enough, so I’d probably have to go with Kelly.

Karen Bardsley, England

The 30-year-old's amassed 43 caps since her debut in 2005

The funniest player I’ve ever played with is...
Definitely Natasha Kai, she’s wacky. She’d always make the team relax a little bit and enjoy themselves, look to be the centre of attention – not in a bad way, but like the class clown. It was always fun because it was unpredictable.

If it wasn’t for football I’d be...
Probably some sort of starving artist, I don’t know! I was really into drawing and graphic design when I was younger and I majored in graphic design at university, so I probably would have been a struggling freelance artist now. But I don’t know, I could have been working at Disneyland for the rest of my life. I did that for a year, I was Goofy and Tigger! It was a great job actually.

Karen Bardsley wears the Manchester City FC training apparel available now on www.nike.com

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