Some say that soccer is a young person’s game. But the Half Century Club, playing with the Wheatland Athletic Association in Aurora, has been proving for many years that you are never too old to showcase your competitive spirit on the pitch. Club President Edward Sabin wanted to create a league targeting older athletes who still wanted to play competitive soccer.
“A bunch of us were playing in the Metro League, which was 35 and over throughout Chicago,” explained Club President Edward Sabin. “And after many injuries and age catching up with us. I was 53. We started the over 50 league call it the Half Century Club and it’s been growing ever since. We have over 200 members.”
Half Century Club Annual Tournament
Once the Half Century Club began to grow and compete in tournaments across the country, the idea for an annual tournament called Days of Glory Soccer began over a decade ago. Just like the Half Century Club itself, the Days of Glory soccer tournament has continued to expand in both age ranges participating and the number of teams playing in the two day event. What began with 4-5 teams is now at 17 and growing.
“We have three categories of 50 through 59, 60-64, and now this year for the first time, 65 and up,” explained Days of Glory Soccer Director Al Tineo. “So we have grown quite a bit. The quality of this tournament is by invitation only. There are teams that come as far as Indiana and Cincinnati. And they’re players that are from their own teams from as far as Florida.”
Soccer for All Skill Levels
The Half Century Club is diverse in a variety of ways, including a wide range of nationalities represented by the athletes and the range of skillsets for the players themselves. Some club members joined despite never having played organized soccer in their lives.
“You know, my T-shirt shirt shows the fact that we have as many as 37 teams. You know, countries actually representing our club. So we invite anyone that would like to play with us.” We invite everybody. Everybody who has played has skills or has not played and will like to join us. We have, like everybody else, on rules and regulations that they have to follow. And so we we we have some people who are not as skilled, but they do they are welcome to play with us.”
The Wheatland Athletic Association has been around nearly a half century itself and offers leagues for kids starting at kindergarten as well as travel teams, recreational leagues and adult leagues. But the number one directive is to have fun playing the game of soccer for as long as possible.
“We play twice a week at least. We play 52 weeks a year to play 26 outdoor, 26 indoor here at Wheatland. And people just enjoy it, look forward to it and keep some young, keeps them in shape. It’s really cool and we continue to grow,” added Sabin.
“We’ve got over 45 and 50 and we even have some some of the older gentlemen in their eighties who can play. You know, as long as your active age is just a number. And, you know, and as as that one person said my numbers unlisted,” said Wheatland Volunteer Board President Lawrence Gentile with a smile.
Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Justin Cornwell.