Nine years ago, Martin O’Malley and his soccer buddy were told they were too slow to play for their local Over 35’s football team.
The Over 45 Soccer League was established in 2008, literally as a result of Martin O’Malley being told he was too old and too slow for the 35s team he was training with. An extensive search led him to David O’Connor’s Academy in Eltham where David was promoting an ‘old fellas kick around’. David’s focus was on teaching the game, so Martin took the initiative which resulted in 4 teams presenting for the first Over 45 games in May 2008.
Bayside (Sandringham), Eltham, Juventus Old Boys and Banyule were the founding clubs. The competition was always going to flourish, as was evident at the second match of the new League which was held on a Monday night at Beaumaris. It attracted so many players few had more than 20 minutes game time! During the lean winter months of 2008 Frank Spano helped keep Bayside afloat by enlisting his entire extended family.
Juve and Eltham have always managed to keep strong squads on the park due to outstanding contributions by Tito Ferrante and Bob Messenger respectively. Beaumaris, Brighton, and Glen Waverley joined to strengthen the depth of the competition in 2012. It was at this time Eltham, with so many players and being so far north of the other clubs, decided to establish a northern division which included Diamond Creek, Thomastown and four Eltham teams.
The adoption of NO slide tackles, no tackles from behind and the recent introduction of a sin bin has allowed the competition to progress over the past 8 years with very few injuries being experienced on the pitch (silly, unfit, old blokes tearing muscles in the first 5 minutes excluded). The League is managed by the Team Managers, Martin O’Malley tends to the day to day administration and as President has the deciding vote if a majority cannot be achieved.
2016 sees 5 teams in the northern conference, 11 in the southern conference and 5 teams in the Over 55s competition. As long as there is interest an Over 65s comp is not out of the question, and if we can get Zimmer Frames in club colours, why not an Over 75s?