Gymea United?s special star turns 70


Gymea United FC?s 45A?s goalkeeper Keith Davis has been recorded as the oldest footballer in the Sutherland Shire Association and one of the oldest players currently playing the game which is an inspiration to many involved in the game.
?Football has been a part of my life since I was a young boy. I?ve enjoyed the friendships and mateship,? says Keith, who has always been a goalie.

?The best part about still playing now with the Gymea United FC 45A?s is the camaraderie among our team. In fact, there is really good camaraderie among the entire Sutherland Shire football community.

?You associate with great people, who are all positive, and out there being active and doing something.

The buzz of the game has also kept Keith involved. ?I?ve always been a goalie and I?m still making saves. I definitely get a big thrill from that and it keeps you coming back for more.

?The 45A?s is a quality competition and I get plenty of really good shots fired at me. I?m always on my toes and I enjoy the challenge.

?I?ve probably had the most game time out of anyone over the years too. Being in goal you never get substituted. I feel like I really get my money?s worth ? I?ve played just about every minute, of every game, every year!?

The secret to longevity

Keith achievement to still be healthy and highly active at 70 is something we all aspire to.

When asked what is his secret Keith says it?s simple. ?I honestly just think I?ve been lucky and blessed with good genes!

?I have always tried to stay fit and healthy. I?ve done lots of running and tai chi, which still keeps me flexible and strong. My diet has also always been good, nothing to excess,? says Keith.

The early days

Growing up in England, Keith started playing football at a young age. In 1960, he arrived in Australia as a talented 19 year old player. ?Well I was better then, than I am now anyway,? adds Keith.

He played goalkeeper for Sydney Austral in the then First Division national competition.

?The football was of a very high standard then. Back in 1960, many top players from England and Europe came here to play.

?Footballers pay in England back then was only around 20 pound, where here players would get more money and benefits like a house,? says Keith.

After finishing with Sydney Austral, Keith then spent the next few decades moving around for his work with QANTAS and playing football wherever he went.

?I had a few years in Fiji playing for Nadi. I almost got a start in the national team, but the rules prevented it. And probably the fact that I?m about as far looking from Fijian as you could be,? says Keith.

Back in Sydney by 1990, Keith bumped into an old buddy who convinced him to join Gymea United and play in the Shire comp. So at the ripe old age of 50, Keith made his comeback and 20 years later he?s still playing.

Changes in the game

Keith has seen plenty of changes in the game over the years. ?The standard of football today is much, much higher. The game is faster and more skilful.

?The young kids are just amazing ? I watch what they can do with a ball and I?m blown away.

?I think the structure of football for young people is also different. When I was young we never played any competition until we were about 12 years of age.

?We still used to play, but just informally. It was all about street football ? street against street – and school yard football. Kids picked the teams and you really knew where you stood based on when you got picked!?

Interestingly Keith notes that as a young child all his football was played with a tennis ball on very rough surfaces. There were no soccer balls and no football parks. He credits the ball skills his generation developed to this.

Looking back

Though it?s difficult to look back on 60 years of football and single out highlights, Keith hones in on a few that relate to teammates.

?I got the ?Players Player? Award with Gymea United FC for a couple of years there in the mid 90s. That was a big buzz, because I was playing well and most importantly to me, the guys recognised that.

?It was also special playing with my mate Brian Ward at Gymea United FC when we both reached 60 years of age. While there are quite a few players in their 60s in the comp these days, back then it was unusual. It was a real milestone to share it with Brian.?

Looking forward

Looking to the future, Keith?s not sure how many more saves he has in him.

?I?ve been thinking this might be my last year. It is becoming more of a struggle and I?m just not playing as well as I?d like to be.

?I get frustrated letting goals in that a couple of years ago I would have stopped. I always say, it?s not about how many you let in, it?s about how many you stop!

?I do want to play to a certain standard, and if I slip below that it will be time to hang up my boots.

?My big target was getting to 70 and to be still playing. I?ve reached that and it?s terrific.

It seems that Keith has carried this positive attitude through his whole football life ? play for fitness, enjoyment, challenge and friendship. And look where that has got him today.

-Gymea United Press Release