Nicole Barnhart – No such thing as offseason
KANSAS CITY (Dec. 7, 2016) – ‘Offseason’ is a rather vague term for FC Kansas City’s veteran goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.
In the weeks since the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season ended in late September ‘Barnie’ has split her time between camps in California and Minnesota with the U.S. Girls National Team, her coaching duties in New York with Quickstrike FC and a short family trip to her secluded cabin in Pennsylvania.
Oh, right, and several trips to Kansas City to continue her work with the Blues as a player and Director of Goalkeeping for the FCKC Youth Club.
“I love my job,” Barnhart said. “I get to do what I love each and every day. I don’t take any of it for granted and am thankful for each opportunity I continue to get. I may not get to reap all of the benefits of what I have worked hard to earn for the game, but I know that moving forward, I was a part of wherever it may go.”
When Barnhart started in soccer, which was not that long ago in terms of the sport that has been around for more than 150 years, she was limited to boys teams for high school and club play. However, that did not stop her from flourishing and eventually earning a spot on the Stanford Women’s Soccer Team in 2000. She was a two-time First Team All-American and later a Hall of Fame Class inductee for the Cardinal.
Since then, she has won three league professional championships and two Olympic Gold Medals for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
She is not planning to slow down anytime soon, either.
Recently, Barnhart has shifted more of her focus to coaching and spreading the opportunities that have brought her this far. This desire to grow the game led to three recent stints with U.S. Soccer as a director of the US Soccer Girls Fantasy Camp. She also spent time coaching the U.S. Girls National Team (USGNT) U14s, U15s and U16s at this year.
“I have been very blessed with my career and the opportunities afforded to me through the WNT, and even though I no longer represent the US as a player, it is a privilege to be able to step in and still wear the crest as a coach,” Barnhart said. “I really enjoy working with the youth players, and having the chance to impart my knowledge and experience on them, all while helping to train and mold the next generations of players. It is a lot of hard work in the camps, but I love the environment, where I get to work with many great players and coaches.”
When the NWSL starts up again in April, Barnhart will return to the goal, where she has led the league in shutouts all four seasons. The two-time champion also led the league in saves this season, registering 21 more than Ashlyn Harris and Lydia Williams, while playing all 1,800 minutes. She was one of six players to earn the “Ironwoman” tag.
And naturally, even though she is still putting up praise-worthy numbers, Barnhart is most excited about her ability to continue growing the game.
“I’m excited to see how we can continue to get some of the best players in the world to realize what a great league this is and continue to want to come over here and play,” Barnhart said. “I’m excited to see the day that women can play in this league as a full-time job and make a true living getting to do what they love.”