A 101-YEAR-OLD East Perth woman is living proof it’s never too late to play the ‘Beautiful Game’.
Pearl Williams took part in a walking football match at the Archbishop Goody Residential Care home earlier this year.
Designed for the older soccer player who finds it difficult to run about the pitch, walking football has taken the world by storm since it was introduced by Chesterfield FC in England in 2011.
By 2018 an international governing body was established to promote and coordinate matches between nations, and the first world cup was held in Manchester in 2020.
After holding several successful walking football carnivals in WA, Football West officially opened a walking football hub in 2018 and there are now about 10 clubs across the state running programs.
“Walking Football is an inclusive format of the game: equally accessible to people of all genders, ages, abilities and fitness levels,” says FW’s community program leader Melissa Gmeiner.
“It is an ideal activity for both experienced players and those people who have never played before.
“Walking Football local hubs see a range of people participating, but most being older adults of 50-plus enjoying the activity.”
Ms Gmeiner says it can also be a great social outlet for retired seniors who no longer have that daily interaction in the workplace.
“Local hubs have brought together people from different backgrounds and with varying football experience to enjoy a social game, followed by a friendly post game chat and drink,” she says.
“It encourages meeting new people, being part of a group in a team environment and develop friendships.
“Walking football see participants enjoy important social benefits of playing a team sport.”
Walking Football hubs can be found in Geraldton, Floreat, Iluka, Joondalup, Curtin University, Mandurah, Rockingham, Sorrento, Pilbara, Great Southern and Busselton. For more info on the Curtin University program go to curtinfootball.teamapp.com
The inaugural Walking Football WA State Festival is being held at Fox Football Fives in West Floreat on Saturday October 23 for the men’s over 50’s, and Sunday October 24 for the women’s and mixed competitions.
For more information go to awfai.org.au