by James Dodd
THE father of British and Irish Lion and Wales rugby legend Martyn Williams explains how important playing walking football is for his side.
Every week on a Wednesday at USW Sport Park, the Treforest F.C. Walking Football Team meet up for 90 minutes to play a high-spirited match.
One of the participants is Paul Williams, who explained how the team begun and the rise in participation they have had.
“I’ve played in 5 aside for about five and a half years. We started off in Pontypridd Park where two, three, four people came along. Gradually, we had enough to start in Hawthorn Leisure Centre.
“We then found we had around 20 turning up, so it became too small for us. Then the facilities at the USW Sport Park were offered to us. It was just too good to turn down. There’s always a pitch available – inside or out.”
Paul Williams spoke to final year sports journalism student James Dodd
Walking football is a very popular sport for the older generation in Wales.
There is a national side for over 60s, as well as a Wales Walking Football Premier League, where seven teams compete for glory.
There are currently around 20 members playing for Paul’s side at the moment, the oldest being 79 years old.
Paul expressed his delight about how close everyone is with eachother as well as touching on the improvement it does for their mental health.
“We have the same crew week in week out and we find it’s good for your mental health.
“We have a social night out once a year when the conditions allow us. Everybody turns up and it’s all free, paid by us. We get good camaraderie, and everybody is of the same mindset.
“If somebody falls – stop play. No one fouls anyone deliberately; we just want to have fun and play next week as well.”
Wales walking football home and away shirts.
To be released out on the Wales walking football club shop. This week.
A good Christmas present for your husbands and wives
“Wales Walking Football Club | Macron Store Neath” https://t.co/TBGU2jVfdC pic.twitter.com/Er6t4QfHCM
— Wales Walking Football (@wales_walking) November 23, 2020
For the last eight months play has been incredibly limited with the outbreak of covid 19. This is something that had a big impact on the side.
“For all of us, when this isn’t on you’ve lost that group of camaraderie until it opens up again. You do lose out in seeing eachother.
“We are on WhatsApp, but only some can use it. You keep in touch that way and you do have banter, but it’s not the same.”
The Treforest F.C. Walking Football Team will continue to play weekly in the future as long as the current environment allows it.