A bunch of women, having serious fun — that’s what the Rockers Soccer League is all about.
The Chilliwack-based over-30 league is set to start on April 12 and there’s still time for women to sign up, especially since the league has jumped from 8 teams to 12 this year.
“We’ve had people and whole teams on waiting lists,” says league publicity officer Anne Russell, AKA ‘Rosedale Annie’, “so this year, Tara Field arranged for us to use the Sardis Secondary fields.”
The league had been using two fields at Vedder Middle School for the past three years. Now the move to Sardis Secondary will allow three games to be played at once. Games are played in two shifts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, so there will be no shortage of action in one location.
The women play 7 a-side soccer, which uses smaller nets and only half of a regular field. That makes for shorter kicks, less running and more scoring chances. No slide-tackles are allowed, keeping things a bit safer. The keepers are not allowed to punt the ball, so they have to toss it or put it on the ground for a pass.
Russell says the league started as a result of her Rockers team getting continuously thrashed in a different league.
“It was back in 2007, recalls Russell. “Cathy DeGroot noticed an ad for women’s spring soccer. She contacted her neighbour, Cheryl Hagen and Cheryl convinced 12 women to join the league, as the Rosedale Rockers.
“We proceeded to get smucked a lot. Nine of the women had never played soccer before and we were mostly over 30 years old, playing in an open league. We decided we needed a league of our own.”
Since the Rockers were organizing it, they got to choose the name. Rockers Soccer League had a nice ring to it.
“One of the keys to our success has been the well-established networking skills of mums and working women,” says Russell. “The biggest benefit has been the opportunity provided for women to have fun and put themselves first for a change.”
Once the word got around, players started popping up and eight teams were formed, with names like ‘Tsunami’, ‘Killer Kleats’, and ‘Natural Disasters’.
“The Green team had a strong association with Cheam Elementary,” says Russell. “There are sisters, cousins, and sisters-in-law playing… work colleagues and same-school moms… doctors, nurses, cops, and teachers… nursing mothers, cancer survivors — and there has been at least one grandmother.”
“Our oldest player is about 54 and very fit. There are a few over 50 but I’d guess the average age is about 41.”
They’re only going into their fourth season, but this league has really ignited some sporting passion in the players.
“There was one goalie who was back playing, less than a month after having a baby — and I know of at least two players who planned their pregnancies around the soccer season,” adds Russell. “They want their spring soccer!”
There’s certainly a family feel to the games, with kids doing homework or playing with the family dog while Mom plays the game. Husbands and senior parents come along too.
“There’s a dad coming out to coach his daughter’s team,” says Russell. “It’s kind of funny to see the dynamic of a 60-something dad coaching his 40 year-old daughter. He may have been her coach when he was 35 and she was 15.
“Our team had one of the player’s sons start as our coach when he was 14. Now he’s off to college, so his 15 year-old brother will be taking his place.
“The quality of play has definitely improved, with teams getting experience playing together,” adds Russell.
Interested women — aged 30 or older — should promptly contact Tara Field at firstname.lastname@example.org .