Be Gentle With Me, It’s My First Time: A 53 Year Old Footy Rookie


Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
The 718
My spring 7v7 team won last night, 3-0. A complete performance over 50 minutes. Several near misses in the first half, easily could have had 3 or 4 more.

And a clean sheet, with me in goal for the first half, and the team captain in the second. I was less busy than my opposite number. I made one clean save, saved another but the whistle had gone just before (still I had positioned myself properly), and came out and collected well a few times. My first goal kick was a terrible shank but after that I completed all but one pass, including a line-drive punt that, after clearing an attackers head by an inch, hit my CM in stride in the attacking half and led to a chance.

And there’s video!


That’s me in the orange. My side has gray shirts, the opponents are in white.

The big action is me wading into some pinball and going to the floor to collect. The other striker was a tool and it was fun to pick the ball off his foot.

Looking at this, I feel pretty good. I think I’m decently positioned, maybe should be hugging my near post a bit more? but felt like I had a good read on everything in front of me.

And my wife and daughter saw me play for the first time (Mrs O took the video). Referencing my OP, this is a season of big change for me, personally and professionally, and for multiple reasons it’s doing my body and my mind a ton of good to be doing this. I admit I was nervous when I saw my wife daughter (and dog) show up and that’s when I hit my goal kick into the next game over, but I was glad that my kid saw me make a mistake, you know? She’s 13, and in coaching her at softball I’ve counseled the value of putting yourself out there, not being afraid to fail, keeping your head in the game, all that stuff, and I’m walking the walk with a bunch of players who are young enough to be my kids (no one seems to realize or care how much older I am, probably because I shave my head I can pass for much younger). My wife told me my kid was thrilled to watch, and when I kissed her good night she said “ Good job, Dad, I’m proud of you, you were really good. I’m glad you’re doing this and I’m glad it’s making you happy, you deserve it.”

I might have been cutting up some onions after she said that.

I played a few minutes at right mid in the second half. By then the sun had gone down and it was bitter cold and the wind was brutal. I didn’t affect the game much in either direction. Drew a foul, that’s about it. Didn’t have the same level of confidence that I do in goal (it was my first outfield game time) and definitely felt my age in a wide spot, sprinting after balls to try to keep them in play.

The video gives you an idea of how awesome the views are from this pier. Those vertical metal beams around the perimeter are the remnants of the warehouses that used to be on these piers before they were converted to park (there are a few left, they are favorite locations for murder victim discovery and contraband hiding places on the various Law & Order shows). The breeze is lovely in the summer but holy balls it was cold last night.

So this league goes through late May, and on Monday I start keeper lessons in a park in Chinatown, also through May.


SoSH Member
Dec 13, 2006
north shore, MA
Not a rookie here, as I've been playing keeper full time since middle school, but I'm working my way back from a torn Achilles that I suffered last November playing indoor (if you want to know what it looked like, google Brad Guzan's injury. It was the exact same play.) My goal was to be in net for game 1 of the first indoor session this past fall, so a little less than a year after the injury. I did, and it was a weird experience at first. I could run, but at that point hadn't done any kind of pushing off, changing direction, or jumping off the bad ankle. First half-dozen games or so, it felt like when I dove to my left I was falling off to the side rather than getting that explosive push I was used to. But a few months in now, I feel like I'm most of the way back. Ankle feels good, if a little tight, and I'm no longer thinking about it when I play. I ended up playing on a couple teams, one in the top division and another in the middle division in the adult co-ed league. The top division is good mix of mostly former D-III level players with an occasional D-1 or former pro ringer or two mixed in (Angie Salem played there last year when she was coaching at Springfield).

All said, I've probably played more this year than ever. I'd guess around 30 games over the course of the indoor season, and we just signed up for a spring 7-v-7 league. It's nice to still be able to compete as a soon-to-be 37 year old coming off a major injury.

Cheers, and keep up the good work!