ON THE BALL: Coach Andy Haynes is introducing Walking Football to the Gold Coast for over-50s.
ON THE BALL: Coach Andy Haynes is introducing Walking Football to the Gold Coast for over-50s.

Walk back into Gold Coast soccer at over-50

REMEMBER that buzz of being part of a team, that moment of glory in scoring a goal or winning a match?

Wish you could feel that way again, but don't think your body is up to it?

If only you didn't have to run ....

That's the thinking behind Coomera Colts Soccer Club director of coaching Andy Haynes' call for interest in Walking Football for Over-50s.

"If you played in a team sport when you were younger, you don't necessarily miss the sport itself, as much as you miss that camaraderie and fun," Andy said.

His idea, one that he says has already hit big in the UK and Europe, is that by simply slowing down the game to suit older bodies, you can still get all the enjoyment you used to from being out on the field and using your skills without hurting yourself.

"It's about getting people out there and enjoying themselves again at their own pace," Andy said.

"Coomera is the biggest football club on the Coast, with about 750 junior and 150 senior members, and we have programs from as young as 2-5 years old, so surely now we need to go to the other end and start bringing back those people who love the game and miss playing."

The plan is that matches would be no-contact, eight-player teams, with six per side and two substitutes playing 20-25 minute halves on a Friday night starting next season, from the end of March.

The pitches currently used for the under-11s, Andy said, were approximately the same size as indoor courts, and would be ideal for the shorter game, after which players could cheer on the Under-18s or just enjoy a drink and a laugh at the bar.

"At the end of the day, football is the World Game and as soon as you know who someone supports ... it's something everyone can talk about," Andy said.

"It's about feeling part of the community and part of the club, making new friends or reacquainting with old friends and making new football memories."

Having played professionally for Bournemouth in the English Premier League, and still keeping himself fit as a coach, Andy said even he would find it hard to play a full match these days due to a leg injury.

"I'm coming up on 53, but in my head I still feel like I'm in my 20s, and I think a lot of people are the same," he said.

Having only publicised the idea on the club website to date, Andy said he already has enough interest for two teams, "and that's a start".

As the interest and numbers grew, he said, they would simply create the teams to suit, whether single sex or mixed, with the ultimate aim of a mini-league of about eight teams.

"I guess I've had a fairly good football career and it's a case of giving something back to the game," he said.

If you want to learn more or register your interest, regardless of experience, call Andy on 0423800618 or go to coomerasoccer.com.

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