It’s just such a good environment. I’m really happy there. – Belinda Barter

Belinda Barter is the goalkeeper coach for the South Coast Flame female program. While still a player today, one of Barter’s greatest achievements in the game, was attending an Olympic athlete program for the 2000 Olympics with the Matildas’ squad. Her first experience of the game involved going up to the local park to kick the ball. From the ages of 10 to 12, Barter played in a mixed team. 

“There was no such thing as girls playing soccer,” Barter said.

“I can still hear them calling out, ‘That’s a girl! Don’t let her pass you!’”

Mixed competition didn’t exist beyond 12, so Barter was unable to play the game again until she was 16, however, in this time she did continue to train with the boys.

“I think I went and played tennis if I remember correctly,” she said.

“I just watched games and wasn’t able to play. To be honest I probably can’t remember back then how frustrating it was but I’d suggest it was unfair. It was unfair more than frustrating.”

At 16, Barter joined the senior women’s competition with her local club. During the year, she was identified as a talented player and consequently moved to the local representative side at the time; Sutherland Sharks. This was her first real taste of a more competitive level of football. 

“It was certainly a lot harder,” she said. 

“It was a big jump up. I was playing with fitter girls and girls more my age group and I had to travel around the state.

“I played multiple games. So I’d play in my age group and they would always play me up an age group.”

After a year at the Sharks, Barter trialled for the New South Wales representative side where she was selected in her age group. Barter was a defender in her early career,  but during a match in Queensland, the two goalkeepers in the team got injured. 

“Both goalkeepers broke their fingers,” Barter recalled.

“The coach looked at me and he said, ‘You’re a big girl. We’ll stick you in goals’. So they stuck me in goals and I got picked in the Young Matildas all from going on camp as a field player.”

From 1993 to 1999, now a permanent goalkeeper, Barter played in the Young Matildas team as a goalkeeper before being involved in an Olympic athlete program for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. However, partly as she was the youngest of the three keepers, Barter found herself as the third-choice keeper.

Despite her bright future in the game, Barter explains that she elected to leave the national set-up and study at university. Two years later, Barter was offered a spot back in the national set-up but chose to complete her studies. 

“Plenty of honour there and experience, but also I guess moving forward to the game today, the girls have just come so far,” she reflected.

“They’re being paid to play now even at their ‘rep level before you play national level. I’m thrilled now because we’ve got the pathway these young girls have got moving into women’s soccer. 

“They’re identified to be the elite it’d be fair to say and that gives them the pathway to come to i.e. Flame in the youth age groups and they’ve already been coached the football curriculum. They’ve got the idea of how we want them to play.”

Barter joined the Flame in 2021 and will continue in her role next year as the goalkeeper coach for the women’s program. Barter described how she enjoys the process of helping young players develop in the game.

“I’ve had some great coaches. I don’t forget the volunteers who coached me, hence me volunteering to coach now,” she said.

“Firstly, being a goalkeeper, sometimes the coaches don’t understand goalkeeping so especially at club level the coach will go and throw you in goals and have the other girl shoot from the penalty spot. The goalkeeper’s got no chance. 

“One of my coaching styles is I always like to give the goalkeeper a chance and let the goalkeeper get experience but let them get confidence mainly. At the end of the day, you’ve got balls flying at you and I think you’ve got to shoot from a bit further out to give the girls a chance.

“I just think that way back when I was coached, I didn’t get coached goalkeeping the way we do today. I was taught how to dive but I don’t think the coaches really understood how technical the position was.”

Barter also works with Football South Coast doing goalkeeper coaching on a Friday night with club-level goalkeepers.

“We put that program on to give all the girls confidence. It’s hard to get goalkeepers in the female game at club level,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter your ability, size, shape we just all have a social group and encourage each other.”

Barter has enjoyed her time so far at the Flame and highlighted the positive environment surrounding the club.

“From the minute I walked in the door, they’re second to none. It’s just amazing. Amazing coaches, just the reception to walk in the door,” she said.

“From day one I was in the coaching staff group and meeting all the girls at the start session staying through to the end of the session and getting a high-five or a handshake to thank you for your time. The three-to-four coaches I’ve had dealings with at Flame, I wouldn’t swap them for the world to be honest.

“They’ll probably be embarrassed for me to say it but it’s been a great experience and I was delighted they asked me back.”

South Coast Flame has recently announced the coaching lineup for the women’s program for 2022.

Senior Women’s Coaching Announcement 

Youth Girls and GSAP Coaching Announcement 


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