Vaila Barsley och en lagkamrat springel över en fotbollsplan i sina blåa matchkläder.
19 Feb 2019

Vaila Barsley “Eskilstuna is in my heart”

Vaila Barsley från Eskilstuna United besöker mötesplatserna Strigeln och Nålmakaren varje vecka där hon hjälper några av Eskilstunas äldre med teknikfrågor, håller träningspass och spelar spel.

Text: Petra Nordström

När hon inte spelar fotboll på elitnivå kan du bland annat hitta henne på någon av Eskilstunas mötesplatser för seniorer. Vi har pratat med Vaila Barsley, inflyttad Eskilstunabo, fotbollsspelare och en sann Eskilstunaambassadör.

Intervjun som följer är på engelska.

Hello Vaila! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Vaila Barsley and I play for Eskilstuna United. I am from Norwich in England but have had the opportunity to travel a lot with football. I left home when I was 16 years old to move to London and play for Arsenal academy. At 18 I got a scholarship to St. John’s University in New York to study accounting and play football. I spent six and a half years in New York in total. I studied for five years earning my bachelors and masters in accounting and then worked for one and a half years with Ernst and Young in Times Square. I moved to Eskilstuna in 2013 to play for Eskilstuna United in the Elitettan.

Did you have any prior connection to Eskilstuna?

No, I had never heard of Eskilstuna before. But the opportunity to play football full time was too appealing to turn down. I am so grateful that Viktor Eriksson took me here as I now consider this my home. The welcome I received from everyone connected to United was something special. Eskilstuna is in my heart and I burn for this club.

I love the development the city has had during my time here. Fristadstorget has had a complete renovation and I think it’s so cool with the new university being built. Eskilstuna is fantastic at having different activities throughout the year. I thoroughly enjoyed “Picnic i Parken” during the summer and also the light show that was in October (Nattljus red. anm.)

Fristadstorget med Eskilstunas Stadshus i bakgrunden.

Fristadstorget i Eskilstuna efter renoveringen. Foto: Per Groth

In my opinion you are a true Eskilstuna-ambassador. You play football with the citys name all over your back, and you also take responsibility for Eskilstuna’s elderly. Tell us a little about that.

I am very proud to represent Eskilstuna through United. I’m not sure I consider myself an ambassador but I am very proud of our Hjärta United project. I am very involved in our senior project which involves Eskilstunas elderly meeting places Nålmakaren and Strigeln.

I go to Nålmakaren once a week and Strigeln twice a week, and it is the best part of my week. We help out with some of the fitness classes, which sometimes has participants being over 90 years old. They are so inspirational! We also help with any technology questions they have with phones, tablets etc. Most of the time we are there as some company for them. We play Wii bowling or “Fia med knuff”. The people I meet there brighten my day and I hope I have the same effect on them!

Vaila Barsley tillsammans med ett gäng äldre kvinnor på ett gym.

Vaila besöker regelbundet mötesplatserna Nålmakaren och Strigeln där hon bland annat håller träningspass för de äldre.

Tell us more about Hjärta United?

Our Hjärta United project has two sides to it. One is Ronjabollen which uses football as a gateway to reach girls from economically tough communities and give them a voice. The other project, which I am heavily involved in, is with the elderly meeting places Nålmakaren and Strigeln. We help out with anything they need from us. I love going there, and I really like helping people and feel like I am giving something back. They have truly helped me with my Swedish and I feel like everyone’s grandchild which is lovely since I live so far away from my own grandmother.

Eskilstuna Uniteds välgörenhetsarbete Hjärta United hjälper Uniteds spelare att få bättre förutsättningar att spela fotboll på elitnivå och samtidigt bidra med goda saker till samhället.

 

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