Northern Ireland Veterans Soccer making a difference to over 50s

The Northern Ireland Veterans Soccer team, established last July

FROM little acorns grow mighty oaks. That is the ambition of the Northern Ireland Veterans Soccer - and getting more over 50s involved in football, post-COVID.

With the assistance of the Lisburn/Castlereagh Borough Council, founding members Gerry Goodall and Sammy Wright have managed to recruit over 40 players since they formed last July, and are hoping to get bigger with tournaments planned in the south of France, Scotland and the Algarve over the coming months.

Ex-Irish League player Goodall says the benefits of being involved with the Veterans are immeasurable.

“We were approached by the Council after COVID to get guys over 50 from all walks of life off their backsides and playing,” said Goodall.

“There were always schemes for younger people but nothing for the over 50s age group. So, out of that we’ve over 40 guys of all abilities training twice per week at the Lisburn Leisureplex and playing a game at the weekend.”

The Veterans team is in the process of becoming a registered charity as they make donations to after each game.

“We’ve supported all kinds of charities from the Children’s Heartbeat Trust to MacMillan Cancer to PIPS Suicide awareness charity to individuals who have maybe fallen on hard times…We are as much a charitable entity as a football team.”

Lisburn Bowl and Reuben’s Meals are just two of several sponsors that are promoting the new over 50s team.

“The satisfaction I get is mental wellness and watching guys who haven’t trained for years and now don’t miss twice a week training sessions at Lisburn Leisureplex.”

For further information on the Northern Ireland Veterans Soccer team, contact Gerry 07394994307

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