As incredible as it may seem, Lourdes Brekke is a grandmother who at 71 years old plays soccer, and has done so since she was 45 years old.
She lives in Chula Vista, California and currently plays in matches organized by San Diego Soccer Women, a San Diego-based organization that connects to women between 30 and 80 years old with leagues, teams, training and tours. Her motto is “she plays at any age.”
For Lourdes, playing soccer is the product of a happy coincidence.
“My husband and I were coaches for a softball club. After a tournament, we were going to return a girl to her mother. She asked me if she could leave it on a soccer field where she played. To my surprise, when we arrived, she invited me to join her team because one of the players was missing.”
They lent Lourdes some soccer shoes and she hasn't stopped since.
“I loved playing soccer. Then they invited me to do banking. I said yes, but I was never on the bench, they always called me to play. "I played central and now I'm a defender."
This grandmother of Mexican origin, married to a Norwegian, says that soccer has helped her deal with the depression, arthritis and fibromyalgia she suffers from.
“Playing soccer helps me mentally , physically and socially,” says Lourdes, who is the mother of two young women and has a granddaughter.
She says that her daughters find it very normal that she plays soccer because they are very athletic, since they play softball.
“My friends also play a sport; and my 72-year-old husband plays racquetball.”
However, when she recently lost her mother and sister, she says she realized that although her skin has not wrinkled, it is already a older adult.
“I don't feel old, but I'm already an old lady,” she says.
And of course when she gets hurt playing soccer, there is always someone to tell her: “ah, but you have to walk out there in the fields.”
She says that the only change she will make now is to go play with those over 58, since she has been playing with those in their forties and fifties.
Lourdes makes it clear that she will continue playing soccer until her body dies. she allows it. “I will continue to put a lot of substance into everything I do.”
No age limits
Brandi Mitchell is the founder of the San Diego Soccer Women organization, which works to increase opportunities for women to join, continue or return to soccer without age or gender limits.
“I didn't create the leagues in San Diego. They started in the 70s and 80s. Women saw that girls were allowed to play and decided to start their own leagues to play for the first time.”
She explains that her organization serves to increase the visibility of leagues and tournaments at the local, national and international level, create new opportunities for women with training sessions and games; and acts as a resource to connect them to soccer at all levels, ages and states of life.
“I advocate for the quality of the soccer experience whether they are amateur athletes, casual players or former professional or college players,” says Brandi, who started playing soccer at the age of five with her older sister
Sports and fun
Argelia López, is a doctor and hand surgeon, who has her practice in Tijuana, but lives in San Diego, and started playing football during the pandemic in 2020.
“I played a little when I was young; and before covid, I swam but they closed the pools and I looked online for what to do when I found Brandi's organization, and I started playing soccer with a mask,” says Argelia, born in the United States 58 years ago and who is single.
“I really like playing soccer because it helps me maintain my physical condition.”
But above all, she says that through soccer she has met many people with different careers.
Of course when she started playing, she had many fears.
“I was thinking what if I fall, or if I get hurt or if they step on me. And many people told me, what are you doing, you're going to get hurt, but when I saw that many older ladies were falling and nothing was happening, I started to lose my fear.”
She adds that the leagues in which They play in a friendly manner and the integrity of people is respected.
“I really like playing soccer because of the physical condition it gives me, it allows me to socialize and we play outdoors. I love that. And more than a sport, for me, it is fun.”
So she invites Latinas of all ages to overcome fear and play sports.
“I wanted to play soccer all my life, and it's good that I'm doing it because time passes without doing what we want.”
Playing at 40
Gloria Molina, born in Laredo, Texas, is in her 40s and is one of the youngest soccer players in the organization San Diego Soccer Women.
“Although I played soccer and tennis when I was little, I started this season when I was older and I play on the weekends,” says Gloria, who is single and has a job. of government in the city of Coronado, in southern California.
“Our soccer is very recreational. They let everyone play, no matter how well you play. People get along well and I can take my dogs. We are like a big family.”
she adds that playing soccer gives her motivation.
“Sometimes we play in other leagues, but I like being with San Diego Soccer Women because of the people you know, the friendships we make; and there are women of all races, including many Latinas.”