Monday, September 9, 2013

A New Era for Old Boys in Portland

This weekend marked the opening of a new chapter for amateur men's soccer in the  Portland Metro area.   The Greater Portland Soccer District untracked its first ever season including an O58 Men's Division.   One challenging reality for men's soccer in the region has been that the guys who started playing in the 70s or even earlier were finding that the challenge of playing against younger guys,  sometimes twenty years younger,  was not a good equation.   

The men's league has several notable players who are in their 70s.   Lajos Balogh is an excellent example but not the only one.   The league is committed to making it possible for players to participate in the game at levels appropriate to their skills and abilities,  and so the inaugural O58 season is marks a positive note in that era.   

Years ago a similar situation arose when the older teams in the league began feeling the pressure from playing against guys in their thirties.   Under the staunch and reasoned leadership of Ivan Ivanov, the league moved to create an O50s division.   The founding teams back then were Mixed Bag, Royals, Masterbooters, Jimmy O's, Rodders, Old Nicks, and Gresham East.  Sadly,  Ivan suffered serious health issues and was not able to continue as a leader in the league.  

Today, though,  is a day for celebration.   Cities around the country have strong O60s and older divisions playing.  The fact that GPSD is now hosting a division moving in that direction is a great step forward for hundreds of 'ould boys' who don't want to give up the game but also don't want to be crippled from playing against much younger players.

In commemoration of that fact,  here are a small sampling of pics.
 Goalkeepers in the O58 can take it take a long time to run down that field.

 FC77 Old Nicks played the opening match against Pierres.  Perennial rivals and good friends.
 The Maple Tree Bier Stube has been a very popular feature of Ould Boys soccer in Portland.  Thanks to Workhorse Midfielder and  Bier Meister, Glenn Fithian-Barrett,  the taps always flow.
The second match of opening day featured Masterbooters v Highland Stillhouse old boys.