Sport Beyond Age and Injury: Walking Soccer

Sport Beyond Age and Injury: Walking Soccer

The physical demands of most sports puts them out of reach of senior citizens or those who have suffered serious injuries. This is especially true of contact sports such as football, hockey, and soccer. However, a recent development in the UK has introduced a new version of soccer. Walking soccer is designed to be played by all ages and without the same physical stresses of the regular game. The sport is also taking off in the US, according to (Senior Soccer Schedule) “

The game was developed in 2011 in England to help senior citizens and those with mobility issues continue playing the sport they love. As the name implies there is no running in the game whether you have the ball or not. The sport has become so popular that the “” (English Football Association)has introduced an official rulebook. The basic rules are no running, height restrictions on the ball (6ft), no throw-ins, and no offside. Aside from those rules, the game follows the regular soccer format. However the rules can be adapted for the players depending on age and ability. For example, a game played by younger players can be played with bigger goal posts and on a bigger pitch while older players can play with a smaller ball and no height restrictions.

The sport was used in a TV advert by the UK bank Barclays, which brought it into the public eye. British paper “” (The Telegraph) reported that the advert featured the story of Steve Rich who was forced to stop playing soccer at the age of 26 after he was hit by a car. Speaking to the paper Rich said: “It’s devastating to give up something you love, but after I was hit by a car any twisting, turning, or impact was impossible.” After years of not being able to play he discovered walking soccer and has become a key figure in increasing public awareness of the game. He is also hoping to start a walking soccer World Cup after speaking to teams from across the globe.

Many professional soccer players, both current and retired, have endorsed the sport. At an exhibition, retired professional players such as Sir Geoff Hurst, Alan Shearer and current stars such as Harry Kane joined the public for a match. Sir Geoff Hurst is arguably England soccer’s most iconic player after he scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final that England won. An interesting fact is that according to “” (Mike Norman) who covers international soccer games as well as the “” (Champions League) for Betfair, Hurst wasn’t considered a guaranteed starter at the beginning of the tournament. However, his goals mean that he will forever be etched in the history books. His endorsement means a lot to senior players who remember following him when they were young.

Being fit and healthy should never be out of reach through age or injury. If you are a former soccer player, have suffered a mobility injury, or just looking for a way to stay in shape, then sports such as walking soccer are ideal. Many people wrongly believe that once they reach a certain age sport is out of reach. If you have read this article and are interested, be sure to contact your local soccer federation for more information.