‘Walk, don't run’: Walking soccer keeps Sask. seniors active

CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Sakastoon

Published Saturday, March 16, 2019 12:43PM EDT

Last Updated Saturday, March 16, 2019 1:47PM EDT

When 73-year-old David Taylor had a minor heart attack, his doctor told him it was time to slow down.

Chiefly, that meant giving up his much-beloved sport of soccer, which he had been playing since he was a young boy living in England.

But instead of quitting entirely, he found walking soccer – a new way to enjoy the “beautiful sport.”

“For me it’s a way to get back in,” Taylor told CTV Saskatoon. “And you know, I’ve been looking forward to it now for a couple of years.”

The sport is aimed at people with mobility or health issues, seniors, and those with injuries. It’s helping them get on the pitch and keep active, while also staying safe.

“Walk, don’t run,” the Saskatchewan Soccer Association’s Eden Rakochy said. “That’s the main slogan for walking soccer.”

One foot has to be on the ground at all times and the ball has to stay below six feet in the air. There are also no throw-ins.

The net is also smaller than regulation soccer. The goaltender has a crease that no one can enter, and the goaltender can’t leave.

While the games are friendly, they still have a healthy dose of competition – especially for Taylor.

“Yeah, you can see the passion,” Rakochy said of Taylor. “You can see the passion when he plays, and you can see the passion when he watches.”

Taylor and other participants will compete in the inaugural walking soccer cup later this month, with teams competing for the championship.

“If you have mobility constraints, if you are perfectly healthy, the game is open to everybody.”

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