PEI

Still kicking at 80: Great-grandmother keeps active playing soccer

P.E.I. recreational soccer player Barbara Simpson-Taylor has been hooked on soccer since 1979, when her daughter's coach needed extra players and asked mothers to play. She jumped in and never looked back

Great-grandmother Barbara Simpson-Taylor plays soccer three times a week

Barbara Simpson-Taylor said she has "no ailments" to slow her down. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

P.E.I. recreational soccer player Barbara Simpson-Taylor has been hooked on soccer since 1979, when her daughter's coach needed extra players and asked mothers to play. She jumped in and never looked back. 

"I got to like it," said Simpson-Taylor. 

"The more I played, the more I liked it."

Barbara Simpson-Taylor said the people she plays with are the reason she continues to lace up, year after year. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

She celebrated her 80th birthday this summer. She started the day at 5 a.m., milking cows on her grandson's farm and then played two hours of soccer.

The great-grandmother regularly plays in recreational leagues in Charlottetown and Stratford three times a week. It adds up to about six hours of play a week.

When the weather turns to winter, the teams takes play indoors.

"It's something to look forward to that you know you're going to enjoy," said Simpson-Taylor. 

Some of the players on Barbara Simpson-Taylor's team have been playing together for decades. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

In her 40 years of play, she's broken an arm and required knee surgery. She credits the sport with helping her through tough times. She likens the team, which includes men and women as young as 18 years-old, to an "extended family."

"I think it's pretty impressive," said James Moran, who's been Simpson-Taylor's teammate for eight years. He said younger players often underestimate her.  

"Barb is one of those players you can count on showing up whether it's shining or raining...She's just one of those super dependable players."

"Never too old"

Barbara Simpson-Taylor has played on three recreational soccer teams over the last 40 years. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Simpson-Taylor said people shouldn't let age stop them from trying something new. 

"Some people say 'Oh well, I'm too old now to learn'...Well, never too old to learn," she said. 

Simpson-Taylor said she has no plans to hang up her cleats anytime soon. 

"Retiring? What's that?" she said.

"I don't know the definition of that... because I love the game."

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About the Author

Stephanie vanKampen

Videojournalist

Stephanie vanKampen is a videojournalist with the CBC News in Prince Edward Island. Send story ideas to stephanie.vankampen @cbc.ca

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