By Justin Seward
Southern Alberta Newspapers
There will be three Lethbridge players on the over-60 Team Canada roster for the inaugural Walking Football World Nations Cup in Derby, England next week.
The sport is like soccer but except no running, no physical play, shot can’t go any higher than the head and shots have be taken outside the box.
Players had a chance to submit their name in the spring and were picked accordingly.
“I think it’s amazing to be able to you know get a chance, you know, finally to be able to represent your country at an international sporting event,” said George Lubberts.
“I think it’s something else. Incredible.”
Lubberts has been preparing through the once a week matches with fellow Walking Football players from the city.
“We basically play once a week and we try to stay in shape and get rid of a few bad habits,” said Lubberts.
“So we’re in a bit better shape. But it is walking. So it’s not that you have to (be) really, really good and we’re allowed free unlimited substitution(s). So it’s five a side plus a goalie.”
The biggest different compared to what these players are used too is the games will be outdoor.
“So, we’ve got no walls to play with,” said Lubberts.
“Again climate control … It could be raining, it could be dry, it could be hot, we don’t know, depends on the weather. It’s artificial outdoor turf we’re playing on. So yeah there’s going to be a few differences from that standpoint.”
Bill Chapman said this is an exciting opportunity.
“I think networking, meeting new people, getting to play the game, seeing how it’s played internationally and playing against other countries, ” said Chapman.
Chapman thinks there’s lots of other players have more experience than they do.
“And it’ll be great to not only learn from them but to be able to work and play with them,” said Chapman.
“And to understand the philosophy behind the game and be able to use our skills to the best of our abilities.”
Will Tietz said it’s overwhelming.
“Like who would have thought at this age that you’d be going to this type of a competition — a world competition — representing your hometown and the country of Canada,” said Tietz.
Tietz said, “Just experience,” when it comes to what the three Lethbridge players can bring to the table.
“I think we can bring experience to the team and I’m sure the other guys from Ontario are just as experienced,” said Tietz.
“I’ve played in Lethbridge. This is my 50th year of soccer in Lethbridge and together we’ve played with each other (and) against each other in one way or another likely for the last 20,25 years at least.”
Team Canada is expecting stiff competition.
“Our expectations are quite low,” said Lubberts.
“If we score a goal we’ll be happy. So if we win a game we’ll be ecstatic.”
The Walking Football World Nations Cup goes Aug. 23-26.
Teams will also be competing in an over-50 division.
More information can be found at http://www.fiwfa.org.