has begun work on a league for players who are over 35 years old and over. The center said this new league will be a better fit for older players who are looking for a safer, thinking player's type of game.
“They are more mature, and play a more cerebral game,” said Jaime Garcia, director of marketing at Goals Soccer Center, “while a younger player is a little more physical.”
Two teams are already signed up, with a couple more expected to join soon. The center needs two more teams to form the league. Friendly matches will take place between those teams that have signed up. The center hopes to launch the league this January and is aiming to attract six teams.
The older players' league has been in the works since Goals Soccer Center opened its doors in June 2010. However, it has taken until now to be sure there was a demand for it. After watching 35-plus players playing among themselves on rented fields, the center was encouraged enough to start the league.
“The majority of the people who play down here with friends are older,” Nathan Woodridge, director of operations at Goals Soccer Center. The center, in contrast, has leagues mostly made up of people well below 35.
Older players enjoy playing among themselves in a safe match to stay or get fit, center officials said.
“A lot of veteran players like to play in their demographic,” said Garcia. Older players are not as physically strong as younger players, making the game more about exercise than competition. “They are looking mostly to keep in shape, [and] they want to make sure they go home safe to go to work the next day.”
Older, active players agree that improving their fitness safely is exactly what they are seeking.
“This is a good way to keep healthy,” said Marcos Noya, 48, an engineer and South Gate resident who has been playing soccer for more than 20 years. “I have been playing games here for three months and I have not had an injury.”
Goals Soccer Center's small, five-a-side AstroTurf field is also considered safer than a standard outdoor eleven-a-side game.
“You don’t have to worry about sprinkler heads, divot holes or anything,” said Dino Jimenez, 42, a Long Beach resident who works as a manager for a building supply company. He has been playing soccer for more then 20 years. “Older players are usually worried about hurting themselves because of their age.”
Jimenez is also a referee at both Goals Soccer Centers and for other traditional leagues, which include older player teams. Artificial turf is best for older players, he believes.
“The artificial turf is nice and smooth, allowing them to run like crazy and be fine,” said Jimenez. “Any tripping hazard or damage is eliminated from their minds, and it becomes a clear and energizing sport.”
To know more or to register for the 35-plus league, call Goals Soccer Center at 323-923-4650.