Disco diva to wing wizard
Karen Carney believes her dancing background gave her the twinkle toes that helped her become a Lionesses legend.
Here, she tells her story of how she went from a disco diva to a wizard on the wing:
“I started dancing when I was just a toddler because my older sister went to a dance club.
“It started out as just something to do but I loved it. It was mainly me just jigging about but I went every week.
“It wasn’t until I moved to Steptoes Dance School in Halesowen when I was 12 that things got more serious and I started going three or four times a week. It was there that I started to compete in some big events.
“I enjoyed football when I was a kid and had loads of kickabouts, but I didn’t join my first club until I was 11. Until then, it was all about dancing for me. We did loads of different routines and genres of music; street dancing, hip-hop, disco, rock ‘n roll, slow dancing, team dances, everything.
“But when I started doing football and dancing, things got a bit hectic. There were times when I played football at 10am on a Saturday then I’d go and dance for two or three hours in the afternoon, and maybe just grab a sandwich in between.
“I’d dance competitively on a Sunday, too, so when I got a bit older and my football matches switched to a Sunday, I had some choices to make. I decided to give up dancing when I was 15.
“My agility, my strength, my power and how I move my feet during a match are all definitely down to dancing, 100 per cent. I was quite little but I was quite strong and that was because all the dancing had made my muscles stronger.
“A few years ago I actually considered going back to some form of dancing to help with injury prevention and to strengthen my muscles and joints.
“There are loads of similarities between the benefits of football and dancing. Things like agility, balance, footwork, stamina, power, speed and even things like performing on a stage.
“Every time I play football, even to this day, I say to myself ‘It’s time to put on a show’ and that comes from my dancing background. You’re basically in an arena and people have paid to watch you perform so you need to entertain them.
“The buzz I got from dancing competitively was very, very similar to playing football in front of thousands of fans.
“Dancing is a great way of expressing yourself and I really miss it. It was a big part of my life and some of my favourite memories are from dancing.
“But football has always been my No1 passion and I’m lucky that dancing helped me get to where I am in football today.”
Inspired by Kaz? If you are interested in giving football a go, why not find some fun football activities near you?