Sylvania Heights Football Club may be renowned for being the ‘Home of the mighty Trees’ but they’re also the home to Australia’s oldest registered female football star in 73-year-old Carol Askew who is set to strap on the boots once more in Sutherland Shire Football Association’s Over 39’s Women’s competition.
Affectionately known by her fellow peers as the ‘Legend’ of Sylvania Heights FC, Carol Askew absolutely adores her football.
It’s her outlet as she still amazingly works in a high-pressure industry at the Work Department of Community and Justice, a position she’s held for almost twenty-years.
“Football is definitely an outlet for me and for many others who play the game,” Askew stated to Football NSW.
“If you have any issues, you can take it out on the ball but certainly not on the players.
“Football gets you out there and away from the everyday pressures and stresses of the world.
“When your training, you forget everything else, you are with a different group of people you don’t often see every day who have a different outlook on things and that automatically gets you into another zone.
“Football definitely gives me the power to switch off, I am still employed in a high pressure position even though I have the Superannuation people asking me if I am still working, I enjoy it all.”
Commencing her football career in 1986, the life member of her beloved club spent her opening seasons with ‘The Mighty Trees’ before moving off to Broken Hill in 1994 for work. After spending eight years away from the beautiful game she returned home, and it was a flyer in her letterbox that persuaded Carol to return to Sylvania Heights FC once more.
“I remember vividly going to my letterbox in 2002 where I found a Sylvania Heights FC flyer.
“Seeing that gave me that feeling to put on the boots once more. I rang the club and said “Am I too old to play football?” Thankfully, they accepted me with open arms, and I have been there ever since.”
Playing against opposition almost more than half her age, Askew’s love affair for the game continues to grow deep making her an absolute star at the Box Road facility where you can find her kicking goals on a weekly basis.
“Throughout my time I have forged many friendships, seen fellow teammates get engaged, married, divorced, ladies give birth to their kids, the club is like family to me and the girls in my team have been amazing.
“You honestly find yourself in one big happy family, I have played both winter grassroots football and also Summer Football which is phenomenal and I am loving every second of it.
“Whether I am playing as a keeper (which I am lousy at), sweeper, midfielder or up-front which I like, there’s no other better feeling than playing football and you don’t have to have skills like Pele to play.
“Playing the game has also assisted with my health. I recently did a bone density test and was told by my doctor how good my results were for my age, I put it down to playing football.”
Askew was also part of the club’s first ever Women’s competitive team such has been her devotion and dedication to the club and the female game.
One person that has seen Carol blossom to the footballer and true leader and female football ambassador she is today has been her coach Colin Hallam.
“I started coaching this team a few years ago and even then, I was amazed by the fact that Carol was still running around the field when most would have hung up the boots years ago to enjoy Sundays walking down the beach rather than sweating it out on a football field.
“Even more impressive was her fitness level. Carol spends as much time on the field as any other player.
“Last year she suffered a fairly serious leg injury. Most of us thought well you can’t come back at that age, “but not Carol”. Off to physio regularly and sure enough she is back this year. It shows just how much passion Carol has for football.
“Carol loves training, turns up early for games and still has that competitive nature that I think is vital for all sports.
“Whenever someone says, “you’re too old to do that”, I suggest they look at Carol and realise that anything is possible with the right attitude.
“Congratulations Carol. You are an inspiration to so many and we look forward to another year of fun on the field.”
The club’s passionate Vice-President Stephen Stavropoulos echoed Hallam’s sentiments on the legendary status Carol Askew has achieved with not just the club but the entire Shire football community.
“Carol is dead set a true inspiration to all in our game.
“It’s not every day you come across a person which epitomizes the true passion of loving football like Carol does.
“The fact that she is still playing the game at her age and loving every second of it not to mention playing a considerable amount of game time is a true testament to her dedication for the sport.
“She’s our first ever female footballer to have achieved 25 years of service as well as a Life Member and a legend of our club and we at Sylvania Heights FC are incredibly proud of her achievements.”
The 73-year-old has also enjoyed seeing the female game develop in leaps and bounds and cannot wait to see what else the future holds for the women’s game.
“From when I started to seeing it now it’s changed 1000% for the better.
“It’s fantastic to see so many talented Australians representing us across the globe, look at what Sam Kerr has done over in England with Chelsea, seeing her do her summersaults and scoring goals, what a feeling!
“What I’ve seen now more so than ever in our game is that our young girls are much more advanced as more opportunity has been given by the powers that be in growing our sport for the better.”
Carol Askew we at Football NSW salute you, bravo and may we see you kick many more fruitful goals in your upcoming season and beyond.
The world definitely needs more Carlo Askew’s.