Karen Bardsley retires: An ode to her iconic career

Karen Bardsley celebrates for England during the 2017 Euros
Karen Bardsley celebrates during the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 Group D match between England and Scotland (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

After a decorated 20-year career, Karen Bardsley has announced her retirement from professional football.

The Manchester City and England goalkeeper has been sidelined for much of the past three seasons after sustaining a hamstring injury. But despite this, the 37-year-old has remained a prominent figure within the women’s game.

Club career

Bardsley began her club career back in 2007 enjoying a four-year stint in the USA. After playing for three teams across her time in America, including Sky Blue FC, the shot-stopper eventually made the move to Sweden in 2011.

She signed for Linkoping ahead of the 2011/12 season, before moving to England to play for Lincoln in 2013. It was her next move that established Bardsley as one of the most well-known players in English women’s football.

After signing for Manchester City in 2013, Bardsley rapidly became a household name and earned international recognition.

At the time the City No.1 joined the club, the team was considered little more than an ambitious project. The professionalisation of women’s football in England was just beginning to take hold as Bardsley made the move to Manchester.

Spending the next eight years in Manchester, the goalkeeper would go on to make more than 100 appearances for the club before joining OL Reign on loan, a move that was cut short due to injury.

Bardsley won three FA Cups, four League Cups and the 2016 WSL title with Man City.

Embed from Getty Images

International career

It was back in 2005 that Bardsley made her senior international debut. She was named in Hope Powell’s squad ahead of the Algarve Cup in 2009, she then quickly became the Lionesses first choice keeper.

With 82 senior England appearances under her belt, the 37-year-old has cemented her place in history as England’s highest-capped female goalkeeper.

Bardsley won the SheBelieves Cup, two Cyprus Cups and helped notch a World Cup bronze medal and Euros runner-up spot during her time with the Lionesses. She also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics in London, and narrowly missed out on her spot at Tokyo 2020 due to injury.

Winning 11 honours for club and country, Bardsley’s retirement sees her leave behind a trail of success. It is however, important to recognise her achievements off the pitch as well.

Embed from Getty Images

Over the past decade, Bardsley has helped to pave the way for female footballers around the world — raising the profile of the game as well as raising awareness of issues faced by players in the women’s leagues. This work on and off the field has no doubt helped ensure that Bardsley leaves the game in a far stronger, and more equal position than when she first pulled on her gloves.

Thank you for everything, KB. Enjoy your retirement. Get Big.

MORE from Her Football Hub: