Leeds United Women’s side star Laura Bartup has made a stunning start to the 2022-23 season. Scoring four goals in five games, LeedsUnited.News spoke to Bartup about potentially winning promotion this term – and her superb form.
The 26-year-old is buoyant mood at the moment, after scoring a stunning brace for Leeds against Bradford on Sunday. The first, twisting and turning inside the penalty area before lashing a shot into the roof of the net, to put Leeds ahead.
The second, a rocket from the best part of 25 yards – flying into the top corner. Both, with her weaker left foot. She is our top scorer this season with four goals in five – and Bartup said her second in the 2-1 win was her best this term.
“Yeah it was definitely my best this season [2nd goal at Bradford]. I quite liked my first goal too, going one way and then having a shot – if you don’t shoot, you don’t score. I’ve always been quite good with my left foot.
“It’s not something I work on specifically, but I was just buzzing to score a couple of goals and I hope I can keep it going. I much prefer playing as a no.9 and bringing my teammates into the game, holding it up,” Bartup said.
Her goals against Bradford guided Rick Passmoor’s side to a 2-1 win, propelling Leeds into third place in Division 1 North – the fourth tier of Women’s football. After six games, Leeds sit on 12 points – winning four and losing two.
Bartup has played in all four wins, missing a 3-1 defeat to Norton & Stockton Ancients. But the aim is clear, to gain promotion – having finished in fourth place last season. However, the striker is aware just how difficult it can be.
“Obviously the aim is to win the League, everyone wants to get promoted. But yeah, it is a long hard season and we’ve got to keep pushing. Every game is a hard game in this league, you just never know who you’re coming up against.
“You look at some results, and think ‘how have they beaten them?’. It is a hard league to get out of, Liverpool Feds won it last season and they’ve been trying to get out of it for years. We’ve just got to stick together and be consistent.”
‘It is tough, but I do it because I love playing football for Leeds’
In the summer, following the end of the 2021-22 season in which Leeds finished fourth, the Whites appointed Rick Passmoor as manager. It saw the 54-year-old return to the club from Scunthorpe United, after leaving Leeds in 2010.
Bringing with him a wealth of experience that includes spells at Lincoln, Notts County and then at Scunthorpe as head of development, Passmoor is looking to continue what he started. Bartup has been impressed with her new boss.
“Yeah I really like him, all the girls have taken to him really well. You can see how passionate he is on the side of the pitch and in training. He likes to be serious, but have a joke around as well which is nice,” Bartup added, on Passmoor.
Life is good on the pitch for Bartup, but it is not just football that takes up her daily routine. The Leeds star is training to become a police officer alongside her goalscoring antics. Sometimes, Bartup is out of the house for almost 18 hours.
“It is tough, but I do it because I love playing football for Leeds,” Bartup says. “I’m training to be a police officer now. Yeah, it’s tough – you’re job is the most-important thing at the end of the day, it is tiring. They are long days.
“I’m nearly at the end of my training with the police, it is Monday to Friday. Sometimes when I have training with Leeds, I’m leaving the house at half 5, 6 o’clock and not getting back till nine or 10 at night. But it is all worth it.”
Leeds United women’s star Laura Bartup: England winning Euro 2022
It has been a momentous few months for Women’s Football in England. Attendances, coverage and reaction are all increasing, after England Women’s side won the European Championships in the summer. Participation is growing.
Even though Leeds United Women’s are not in the top tier, it spirals down. The ex-Liverpool Feds and Barnsley striker says that it is clear to see; England’s success has encouraged young girls to come and watch Passmoor’s side.
“The support at the Women’s Euros was incredible. It has really helped women’s football, and hopefully, it’ll just get bigger and bigger. Compared to five or six years ago, the amount of fans that are watching, it’s improved massively.
“We get quite a few down to watch, often it’s lots of young girls which is nice because we’re people they look up to. We’ll go over to them at the end of the game and make sure we leave them with a signed shirt or something.”
One thing is for sure. If Leeds are to finish top of the pile and gain promotion, the hard-working Bartup will be crucial. As her form continues to catch the eye, it will not just be her Leeds side she inspires, but the next generation, too.