Manchester City’s former goalkeeper Karen Bardsley has returned as Project Officer, having hung up her gloves earlier this year.
The 38-year-old will now turn her hand to helping City behind-the-scenes with her new role, immersing herself into various departments, creating and managing specific projects to support the women’s team set-up, both on and off the pitch.
Boasting a Master’s degree in Sports Directorship which she studied for during the latter stages of her playing career, the former shot-stopper will now embark on the next chapter of her career with Manchester City.
Speaking about her new role, Bardsley said: “I can’t wait to get started – it is something that has been a long time in the planning.
“What is exciting is everything that sits alongside this role in terms of my personal career development. I am in a place with amazing resources, incredible knowledge and talented people who are so open and willing to help.
“I feel like it’s so important to consider career pathways for retired professionals and getting people to understand that there is a life after retirement, so to have this opportunity in an environment that I’m so passionate about is amazing.
“It’s all so new, but hugely exciting. In football, you need to put yourself in environments that you’re not used to, to develop yourself and learn, and I will absolutely get that here, all whilst working to make a difference for the team in a variety of areas.
“Manchester City has done so much for me, and I can’t wait to give something back, not only to the Club, but to women’s football as a whole.”
Manchester City Women Managing Director, Gavin Makel, added: “Karen has been an integral part of the club for almost a decade, and has proven herself to be an invaluable asset not only in a playing capacity, but with her passion and desire to grow the women’s game in all aspects.
“This progression plan has been something that we have had in mind for her for a long time and we’re thrilled that she will be staying here at City, allowing us to work together in this next phase of her life.
“Careers don’t just end when players hang up their boots, and this opportunity is a perfect one for Karen and Manchester City.
“She is a hugely popular character around the club as a whole and I know her return will be very well received.
“We’re very proud of our routes of progression and development for staff here at City Football Group, and we are looking forward to seeing Karen make a difference in this new role.”