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Going pro is mind-blowing, says new defender Jodie Bartle

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Just under two weeks ago, Jodie Bartle was working as a PE teacher down south and plying her trade with Coventry United. A manic eight days later, she found herself moving to Scotland and signing her first professional football contract in a move she called a “no-brainer”.

She becomes the second player to follow new manager Fran Alonso from the English Championship with Lisa Robertson recently switching from Durham.

Speaking after a whirlwind first 24 hours in Glasgow that included media duties at Celtic Park and her first training session, the commanding central defender admitted she had been left a bit taken aback by it all.

"It's a bit overwhelming right now to be honest, because the process has been unbelievably quick,” she began.

"I got a phone call from the Coventry manager last Monday and then a call from Celtic and I was just like, 'what on earth has just happened?' Obviously with this being my first professional contract as well, I'm absolutely buzzing and still on cloud nine.

"I think I might actually sleep properly tonight but I'm glad I could come out and kick a ball about tonight after everything. It was good to get back in the comfort zone.”

Her first professional contract comes after impressing Alonso in his time in England, but she admitted she had begun to wonder if it would happen for her.

"I'm kicking a ball about for a living now, so it's mind-blowing! As soon as the call came in, it was just an opportunity I couldn't say no to at all.

"Being the age I am, I had begun to wonder if it was going to happen. About three years ago I decided to take it seriously as see how far I could go, and I've gone up the league's every single season for four years and when I got to the Championships, I thought I'd see how I could push on, but six months later the call came in and I'm here.

"I played against Fran’s team at the start of the season, and I must have caught his eye. Even though I'm a centre back and we lost 2-1, I must have done something right!

"Now he's been given this awesome move, he's obviously brought me with him. Looking at who he's worked with is awesome. I've worked with some amazing coaches, but never Jose Mourinho to name one, so it's quite exciting to see his style. I'm looking forward to learning from him,” she explained.

As she prepares for top tier football for the first time in her career she is keeping an open mind about the Scottish game, saying "I don't imagine it wouldn't be a step up from the Championship so I'm expecting it to be very competitive.”

And while she confessed she wishes she could have lined up with the squad in last week’s warm weather camp in Gran Canaria, she is just ready to hit the ground running on Scottish soil.

"I saw that you lot were in Gran Can when I got the phone call, and I found out today they were wanting to bring me over there, so I did think, 'why didn't you ring me sooner then?'" she laughed, "but obviously with work I wouldn't get out, but phenomenally my work actually let me away within three days which is unheard of with teachers," she added.

Celtic play Glasgow Women in the first group game of the SWPL Cup at K-Park on Sunday, February 9.


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