Ed Logan’s soccer boots were made for walking.
And now the president of BC Oldtimers Soccer is hoping about 80 perambulating players will stroll their way to the pitches at the north end of Coquitlam Town Centre on Tuesday to try their feet at Walking Soccer.
The Oldtimers are teaming up with the City of Coquitlam to offer a two-month drop-in program of slow-motion soccer for men and women 50 years of age and older. Games are played on mini-pitches a quarter of the size of a full-sized field and the nets are smaller as well. Each session costs $5 and teams of five are picked informally before each round of matches.
Logan, who’s been the steward of oldtimers soccer in Coquitlam for two years, said the time is right for some of the organization’s 1,900 players to slow down, and maybe attract some new players in the process.
“A lot of guys quit soccer because the leagues are too competitive,” said Logan, 64. “So I thought why not do this non-contact, co-ed version of the game.”
Walking soccer was devised in 2011 by a community club in England and there are now more than 800 teams playing the sport over there. Leagues have also popped up in parts of Ontario as well as Seattle, said Logan.
The sport is essentially a leisurely version of “the beautiful game.” Besides the smaller pitch, nets and teams, the only difference is players must keep one foot in contact with the ground at all times. How that rule is interpreted can vary from league to league. To keep things simple until his new league formalizes rules, said Logan, “the referee will blow the whistle when someone starts to run.
“We’re going to make up our own way of playing.”
The emphasis is on getting outside and having fun in a social setting.
“We’re not just appealing to the soccer crowd,” said Logan. “It’s good for the body and good for the mind.”
To introduce players to walking soccer, Harry Hubball, the director of the Inter UBC Soccer Academy and the chair of the International Veterans 5-a-side World Cup, will be at Tuesday’s first session to lead the scrimmages and teach players how to properly warm up and cool down to avoid injury.
Logan said interest is high; he’s received calls from players from as far away as Richmond eager to join. If it stays high the league could be extended beyond its two-month trial and then move indoors through the winter.
• Walking soccer will run Tuesdays and Thursday, 10 a.m.- 12 p.m., at the Town Centre East & West fields, from May 2- June 29. For more information, and to register, go to www.bcots.org, or call Ed at 604-374-8461