PSV OLDSTARS AMBASSADOR TEAM
Since last Wednesday, the PSV Oldstars have their own ambassador team. Seventeen over-sixties who have put Walking Football on the map in recent years were given a place in the special team that must ensure, among other things, that even more elderly people remain active in sports on a weekly basis. Also, the ambassador team must generate more awareness, both nationally and internationally and they started immediately with ten brand new ambassadors who went to Leverkusen last weekend for a tournament with other OldStars teams.
The PSV OldStars, one of the social programmes of the PSV Foundation, is existing for five years now. In 2013 PSV started as one of the first professional football clubs with its Walking Football team for people over sixty years old. And with success, because there are only a few places in the world where the sport as big and popular as it is in the region of Eindhoven.
Reward after five years of PSV OldStars
“Willy van der Kuijlen, is not allowed to participate, he is not considered good enough.’’ The joke of project coordinator Harm Oppers is typical of the informal and friendly atmosphere at the kick-off of the PSV OldStars ambassador team.
This team, consisting of former PSV players, organisers of the PSV Foundation Walking Football Tournament and other acquaintances at PSV, was officially founded on Wednesday morning. Over the past five years, the members of the ambassadors’ team all have contributed to senior sports in different ways. For this, they are rewarded with a place in the PSV ambassador team. Traditionally, the signing of the contract was accompanied by a photo opportunity with Mister PSV, Willy van der Kuijlen.
PSV, more than a club
Managing director Toon Gerbrands said some kind words for the brand new ambassadors. ‘’The OldStars have a special place in my heart. I am very proud of this project”’, says Gerbrands, who endorsed that PSV is much more than just a football club. ”As PSV, we are often in the spotlight, but of course, we have long realised that we are a club that is becoming a real social organisation by now”.
A large part of the ambassador team consists of players who previously played in the regular OldStars team. Due to their switch, places have become available within the regular team. Recently, the PSV Foundation made various calls to attract new players. A constant movement of selecting new players is an important part of the development of the programme. One of the goals is to allow entire teams from PSV to move on to a grassroots club in the region.
Harm Oppers is the big man behind the PSV OldStars project that uses the slogan ‘Lifelong football’. One of the main activities of the ambassadors is to generate even more awareness of Walking Football among local grassroots clubs.
Oppers: ”This unique team is going into the local area. For example, they will give presentations at clubs and play matches or tournaments.”
All this happens with a big smile because the atmosphere among the teammates is excellent. There is a lot of laughter and the group feeling is embraced by everyone. Whether that is when making the team photo, or when drinking a cup of coffee. After all, it’s also just a group of men who enjoy playing football every now and then.
‘’Grandpa, are you joining?
One of the clubs most famous ambassadors is Harry Lubse (66), a former player of PSV 1st team in the seventies and a 1-time Dutch national team player.
‘’I feel very honoured to be allowed to do this. I’m now over sixty myself, so I’m at the right age to join this group. It’s still fun to be busy with the ball, to have a little fun and to see former colleagues.”’
”With a nice anecdote he underlined how important it is to still be involved in sports at older age: ‘’ When my father was my age, he did significantly less than I do now. He didn’t come out of his chair. Now my grandchildren sometimes ask me: ‘Grandpa, are you joining? Then grandpa has to go along, and grandpa can go along too because grandpa wants to stay fit to be able to continue participating. If you can take care of that in a group, it is double the fun”.