The first-choice Banyana Banyana goalkeeper was spotted in her side’s recent tour of the Netherlands, with Heerenveen quick to snap up the 25-year-old, who has previously played her club football in Iceland.
And the Pietermaritzburg-born goalie was delighted with the news.
“I am very happy about it, and I think it is going to help me become more known in Europe, which is difficult when you are an African-based player,” she said in an interview with Safa.
”It’s hard for clubs to see you and they don’t want to risk their money to bring you over when they can use their own players, so it’s good that we got to play in Europe and they (Heerenveen) could come to the game and watch me play.”
Barker gave credit to the Banyana coaches for helping her raise her game and secure the move to Holland.
“Goalkeeper coach Francis Chansa has been training me for months so he is responsible for the way I am playing, the improvement I have made so far,” she said. “He pushed me really hard and now I am reaping the fruits of hard work.
“Coach Vera just has an awesome programme, and has done a lot for the team, and sometimes people don’t see it, but she has,” Barker continued. “Coach Vera could go anywhere but she chose us, and she is here for us, to help us grow as people and as players. I wish people would give her more credit than she is getting.”
Barker feels many of her international teammates have what it takes to make the grade abroad.
“We have some fantastic players in the squad, they just need to realise that they can also make it overseas,” she said. “It’s a difficult thing to leave your family, your country and be in a completely different culture where you sometimes feel out of a place a bit. Having said that I think our South African players are good enough to play overseas.”
Barker will link up with her new Dutch club immediately after Banyana’s participation at the Rio Olympic games in August.