14 February 2013

South Africa: Roxanne Barker Looking to Rise to the Top in American Women's Soccer League

Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana agile goalkeeper, Roxanne Barker has set her sights on being amongst the top South African goalkeepers when she begins the new season for the Portland Thorns FC ; a top side in USA's National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in March.

The National Women's Soccer League is professionally run Women's League that was recently revived following its demise in 2011.

The NWSL compromises of eight teams under the administration of the U.S Soccer Federation to create a sustainable league for the country's National Team.

The eight founding clubs are Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.

Roxanne will begin the new season with Portland Thorns FC next month where she has also enrolled at the Portland Community College with the ultimate objective of attaining a BSC Degree in Biology this July.

Roxanne feels it is an honour to have been selected amongst a group of 3 796 potential players and she is going to give her best in her first season at Portland Thorns F.C.

"The call up to play for the Portland Thorns FC in the professional Women's League came as a surprise to me but I am incredibly excited about beginning a new season there and will be looking forward to learning a lot as I will be playing among some amazing players. It's an opportunity of a lifetime.

"It will be a great honour to get a national call-up because South Africa is my home and I love playing for my country. Banyana have accomplished so much for South Africa and I want to be part of the team," said Barker.

Barker was previously based at the Pepperdine University in California and has been the first choice goalkeeper for the Waves of Pepperdine University.

Banyana Banyana national team coach, Joseph Mkhonza is proud of Roxanne's achievements in the United States and hopes that the experience she gains there will come in handy for Banyana.

"I would like to congratulate Roxanne for her achievements so far. Playing in a professional Women's League means that she will be playing in a competitive league among some of the world's highly ranked players. This is a good start for her more so because she is young and would play a major role in the national set up in the coming years. It would be great to see some of our players play in these competitive leagues and progress to become some of the greatest women footballers in the country as well as the world." said Mkhonza.

At Portland Thorns FC, Barker will be playing with the Canadian national team goalkeeper Karina Le Blanc and several other highly ranked Women's football players who received accolades in the 2012 London Olympics. These include:

• Alex Morgan - forward (U.S. Women's National Team Olympic Gold Medallist)

• Tobin Heath - midfielder (U.S. Women's National Team Olympic Gold Medallist)

• Rachel Buehler - defender (U.S. Women's National Team Olympic Gold Medallist)

• Christine Sinclair - forward (Canadian National Team)

• Karina LeBlanc - goalkeeper (Canadian National Team)

• Luz Saucedo - defender (Mexican National Team)

• Marlene Sandoval - defender (Mexican National Team)

Barker who has been capped 7 times for Banyana Banyana featured in the opening match at the Olympics in Banyana's 4-1 loss to Sweden.

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