As Melissa Barbieri celebrates a quarter of a century since her professional debut, the Australian football legend is still keeping one eye firmly on the future.

Melissa Barbieri Career

  • Melissa Barbieri celebrates 25 years as a professional football players.
  • The former Matildas goalkeeper started in 1997, in the then Women's National Soccer League. 
  • At 41 years of age she is the oldest player in the A-League Women's.

More A-League Women's news can be found on The Women's Game.

Monday marks 25 years since Barbieri first lined up for Victoria Vision against Canberra, on 7 February 1997, in the Women's National Soccer League.

She has since been to four Women's World Cups, captained Australia to their sole Women's Asian Cup triumph, earned 93 caps and carved out a brilliant domestic league career.

Barbieri returned from the birth of her daughter Holly in 2013, notably having to sell some of her personal memorabilia to play for Adelaide United.

Almost eight years on, the 41-year-old Barbieri is still playing for Melbourne City.

"I want girls to play for longer. I want every girl to be able to say, 'I can play the game that I love for as many years as 'Bubs' did'," Barbieri told Network Ten after City's A-League Women win over Western Sydney.

"I continue to play because we have got a start, with a good CBA and girls can actually play the sport that they love for a good wage, a decent wage, but we're not where we can be.

"I want to be able to say to all those little girls out there that want to play soccer for Australia: you can play anywhere in the world, not just for Australia

"That's the hope for me. 2023 is going to open up a lot of doors for a lot of people, not just in the game where you're playing it with the ball at your feet but in administration, in leadership roles, in so many positions.

"Women just need to put their hand up and want to be a part of it and I can't wait to see where this game grows in the future."

After sitting out 2016-17, Barbieri came out of retirement, playing one game as an injury replacement player for City in 2017.

As Lydia Williams' back-up in 2018-19 and 2019-20, she didn't feature, but earned four appearances last season.

This season, Barbieri has been crucial between the sticks for second-placed City, with youngster Sally James largely sidelined through injury.

"What she has done this year after so many years not playing, just being on the bench, being part of the team, is just a miracle. It's like Jesus - three days dead and now back," coach Rado Vidosic said.

"It's amazing - you can't explain how important she is for everyone in the dressing room. Every time someone has debuted for our team, she brings flowers to the girl the next morning.

"She's not just a player, she's not just a mentor, she's a mother as well.

"To have her with us, I hope she's going to stay when I'm 70, so another 10 years and she can be part of this. It's really remarkable what she has achieved."


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The full A-League Women's schedule can be found using this link.