Barbieri to set standard at Victory

Westfield Matildas stopper Melissa Barbieri is hoping her experience with the national team can help bring together the maiden Melbourne Victory Westfield W-League side.

Westfield Matildas stopper Melissa Barbieri is hoping her experience with the national team can help bring together the maiden Melbourne Victory Westfield W-League side.

Barbieri was Victory's first signing for the historic women's competition with a coach and complete playing list to be announced in the coming weeks.

The eight-club competition kicks off in October leaving Barbieri and her teammates facing a whirlwind pre-season.

That's where the 28-year-old goalkeeper wants to step in.

"Hopefully I can do my best to make sure the younger players and the other players are comfortable because it's probably going to be a short time we are going to be together," Barbieri said.

"We will want to get the group together and talking to everyone to make sure we are all on the same page.

"It is going to be difficult to get as many people as we can with good quality backgrounds together with such a short notice and trying to build a team that does justice to the Melbourne Victory name.”

Barbieri is adamant the Westfield W-League will instigate improvement in her performances and give the Westfield Matildas a shot in the arm.

"We made the quarter finals of the World Cup without a national league for four years, can you imagine if we had strong competition week in, week out?

"We do play against boys back home but girls play differently to men and just having that quality competition every week would have done wonders for our chances.

"Who knows where we can go from here with the national league."

Barbieri, who has worked with Melbourne's medical department in recent years, believes she has benefited from the opportunity to train alongside the men's side at times.

She said there were obvious differences in the way the opposite sexes approached the game.

"I find that females use our brains more. The men rely on their speed and their strength to get places," she explained.

Melbourne will be one of seven Hyundai A-League-based women's teams in the first year of the Westfield W-League. Canberra United will be the only stand-alone club.

Victory memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are currently available from the Victory Shop, 236 Swan Street, Richmond, by calling 1300 GO MVFC or online by clicking here.