Still kicking it in the golden years

They may not be as fast or agile on the field as they once were, but that hasn’t stopped a group of women from gathering on Tuesday mornings this summer for a weekly game of indoor soccer.

Sponsored by the Bremerton Senior Center, the 11 a.m. games have seen about an average of eight players a week since starting in early July according to Lois Stromberg, program director at the Olympic Soccer and Sports Center at Pendergast Regional Park in West Bremerton. The arrangement is part of the center’s contract with the city to allow for playing time on the indoor fields which opened January 2002.

When there aren’t many players, the group sometimes plays sans goalie on the center’s smaller indoor field for 10-minute quarters.

“But if we get enough people out there at once then we’ll play on the big field,” Stromberg said.

The program has been slowly growing via word-of-mouth and is currently open to any woman who wants to play.

Playing on the larger field has its own challenges. When a woman gets tired from running back-and-forth, she takes over the goalkeeper position until somebody else needs a break.

Tuesday’s game saw a variety of ages from late 30s to mid 60s.

“I’ve been to most of the games and I really like it,” said 50-something Anne Ondeck, a former soccer coach at Peninsula High School.

One of the players’ favorite features is the brief 1-minute intermission between quarters — just enough time to grab a drink of water before heading back on the field.

“We don’t stop because we might not get started again,” said Silverdale resident Melody Carter, a 17-year soccer veteran who also plays on an over-40 team. “When you’re over 50 you can’t take long breaks like the kids can.”

Admission to the games is $5 a year for Bremerton residents, $10 for non-residents. Starting Sept. 3, gametime moves an hour earlier to 10 a.m. Info: Bremerton Senior Center at (360) 478-5357 or Stromberg at (360) 479-8388.

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