Who said football is only a sport for the young? Take the rising popularity of OASIS, which caters to the passionate over 60s footballers, who still love playing, and most importantly having fun, while making friends.
Last weekend, OASIS (Older And Still Into Soccer) held their first over 60s gala day, hosted by the Hillsbillies team at Ted Horwood Reserve, Baulkham Hills.
OASIS president and Hillsbillies manager, Keith Pierce said the winner was football with Alive N Kicking, Balmain FC, Canberra Old Boys, Hillsbillies, Northern Beaches and South Coast Rhinos competing in the 11-a-side format over 40 minutes on a full-length field. Each team played five games,
“The aim is to bring over 60 teams together more regularly to play up to once a month and each team/region can host these weekend gala games,” Pierce said.
“We had competitors (aged) from 58-82 years at this event, we allow a few underage players but many are in their 70s and a couple of 80s.”
Hills star Terry Minton 79, the oldest registered player in Australia, took part though the oldest on the day were sprightly 82-year-olds, Jimmy Morland and Eric Anderson.
The Hillsbillies started in July 2020 after Baulko FC played in the Australian Masters Adelaide in 2019.
“We needed more players, so the Hills Association promoted us as the Hills over 60 rep teams,” Pierce, 68, explained. “We have 35 players on our books but many more from the Hills want to join now that Covid is easing.”
“OASIS has been formed to give regular games for players over 60 years, and there are many players that currently get together for a kickaround.
“To play proper over 60 matches, they only have the annual Masters Games in Australia or the World Masters every four years.”
He said OASIS has banded together 15 teams from across Australia, including Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, and Tasmania, in addition to NSW sides from Newcastle, South Coast, and nine groups from around Sydney.
“We aim to look for other teams to join us in the future,” Pierce said. “The reason is to keep them playing.”
Pierce said OASIS is sending teams for the Australian Masters in Perth in April 2022, and the Pan Pacific Masters at the Gold Coast in November 2022. They also plan to attend the World Masters Game in Osaka, Japan, in 2023. He said it will be great if Hillsbillies players can represent the Hills at the pinnacle of Masters’ football.
The Hillsbillies are also thinking of fielding an over 65s side, and are keen to gauge interest for an over 50s ladies team too. OASIS is looking at putting an over 70s team together for Japan.