June 14th, 2024

Walking Football kicks into Lethbridge

By Lethbridge Herald on December 15, 2022.

Herald photo by JUSTIN SEWARD George Lubbert protects the ball from Steve Lea during Walking Football at Servus Sports Centre.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The sport of Walking Football has been in the city since October, and is simply playing the game of soccer, walking.

“For uninitiated, it’s walking soccer,” said organizer Mike Ross.

Ross was in England visiting family when he got first introduced to the sport.

“And I went, like most people,  ‘What’s walking football?’,” recalled Ross.

“He (Ross’s brother) said, well it’s football-soccer, but we walk. And I went ‘Oh OK.’ So we went and had a lot of fun.”

Ross had a hip replacement a year ago, and felt six months later that his soccer days were behind him, and then here was this game of Walking Football.

“And so I felt ,what a great idea,” said Ross.

“I knew a lot of guys who I’ve played soccer with when I first came here, and so now we’re starting to get a group together. That’s been fun.”

Participants are men over 50 and women over 40.

“I think part of it, because  if you talk to most of the guys, they love the game,” said Ross.

“They played all their lives, and this is an opportunity to extend that opportunity to keep playing the game.”

Some slightly different rules than normal soccer apply with no  running , no physicality, the ball cannot be kicked above a players head and shots have be taken outside of the box.

“I wouldn’t say it’s as exciting as regular soccer because it doesn’t move as fast,” said Ross “However, it’s the socialization. It gives people our age an opportunity to get out and socialize (and) get some exercise.”

Jozsef Szabo has played soccer for many years and thinks this style of soccer is different and finds it hard not to run.

“It’s good, you put in a lot of steps,” he said.

“It’s mostly a passing game and moving the ball around a bit.”

Walking Football occurs every Wednesday from 11 a.m.- noon at Servus Sports Centre.

Interested players can email Ross at Mike8380@gmail.com or call (587) 220-5667.

Walking Football became an official sport in England in 2016 and now 70,000 players are involved in the country.

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