Sophie Barker

Barker: Women's Super League Can Bring Out The Best In Us

Sophie Barker spoke of her pride at helping LCFC Women secure a spot in the Barclays FA Women's Super League for the very first time.
More on this story...

- Sophie Barker chats to LCFC TV after a 2-0 win over London City Lionesses confirmed LCFC Women as 2020/21 FA Women's Championship champions
- Goals from Sam Tierney and Natasha Flint sealed victory at Farley Way Stadium on Sunday
- The midfielder admits it has been a long season but credits the players and staff for sticking together
- She is looking forward to testing herself against Barclays FA Women's Super League opposition 

City were confirmed as 2020/21 FA Women's Championship champions following a 2-0 home victory over London City Lionesses on Sunday, courtesy of second-half goals from defender Sam Tierney and top scorer Natasha Flint's 16th of the season.

Barker, who has led the team as captain for most of the campaign, was ecstatic to be able to guide Leicester to glory with two games to spare.

"Honestly, I can't even put it into words," she beamed to LCFC TV following full-time at Farley Way Stadium. "This has been probably the longest, hardest season I've ever had in my whole career, but we've made it and every little bit is worth it. It's amazing.

We've come through so much adversity and it's took absolutely everybody from staff to players and I couldn't be any more proud of them and leading this group of girls out.

Sophie Barker LCFC TV

"We've come through so much adversity - a brand new team, different formations, different players playing and to get to this point, it's took absolutely everybody from staff to players and I couldn't be any more proud of them and leading this group of girls out."

The only team to defeat the Foxes this season, it was fitting that the league was secured against London City, and that loss earlier in the season proved to be a turning point, as, since then, a Championship record run of 12 straight victories ensured the title would be heading Leicester's way.

"I think it took that one defeat to bring us together," the experienced midfielder admitted. "The 4-1 defeat made us realise that we weren't invincible, we weren't just going to walk it and we needed to work hard for it.

"Every single girl has done that here, from staying out and grafting, to going to see the analysis, we've literally done everything we can to win this league and the staff have been amazing as well. The staff don't stop and they are also the biggest jokers I've ever met!

"London City really did that again today and it took our togetherness, our experience and we've got some of the best goalscorers in this league, so that always helps.

Women

Goals: LCFC Women 2 London City Lionesses 0

Goals from Sam Tierney and Natasha Flint gave the Foxes a 2-0 win over the Lionesses to secure promotion to the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

"I said some harsh words after the [first London City] game, but I don't regret them. I was slightly embarrassed and like I said to you, it literally has spurred us on to get 12 on the bounce. No one has done that before (in the Championship) and we've got to be proud of ourselves for that."

The 30-year-old, who arrived at the Club in the summer of 2020 from league rivals Sheffield United, won the second tier title, then known as WSL 2, with Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2017/18.

She believes the team spirit that emerged within this group of players has been key to City's success in their first campaign as a full-time, professional outfit.

Barker explained: "It's took us a lot to gel to be fair, I think at the beginning of the season I was very nervous that we weren't going to do it. We started quite rocky, we drew a couple of games but we've got a bunch of girls that are very open minded.

"We've got players like myself and Rem (Remi Allen) who do bark orders and these girls have listened and respected us and, with that, our respect comes back and when you've got respect in a team like this from the staff to the players, you end up gelling like no other team.

Women

We Gave Absolutely Everything, Says Barker

LCFC Women midfielder and captain Sophie Barker reflects on confirmation of the Foxes' promotion to the Barclays FA Women's Super League.

"I think I've only done that in one team in my whole career and that was at Donny (Doncaster Rovers Belles) and to do that again, I never thought I would do, especially in my career, and we have so it's brought us to this point."

Facing Manchester City in the Vitality Women's FA Cup and Bristol City in the Continental Tyres League Cup, Leicester have already experienced playing against top tier opposition this season and Barker is relishing the challenge of competing with the best on a regular basis.

"I'm just so happy for all of them to go and experience playing in the Super League now at such a young age," she added. "I'm probably the oldest here it pains me to say, but hopefully some of these girls now are just relishing this and their experience and hopefully using me to help them do that.

"I'm very excited. I've done it a couple of times and it's very difficult, we know that. It's not just going to be that we're dominant with the ball next season, we know we've got teams that are world-class.

"That's just going to bring out the best in us and we will come together, add to what we've got now and hopefully we can just keep going up."

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