At the young age of 72, West Ryde Rovers’ Judith Budd continues to enjoy this beautiful game we call football.
With Football NSW promoting Female Football Week, Judith was breaking records of her own having been registered as the oldest female footballer in North West Sydney Football’s 2021 Winter competition.
Budd’s story and love affair started in 2016, a little late people may think, but a true inspiration on playing the world game at the age of 67.
Even though a coach thought it was best for Judith to retire when she hit 70, this wonderful female ambassador thought otherwise and proved her critics wrong as she continues to play Football to this day.
“I first played football in 2016 when I was aged only 67,” said Budd.
“I had taken up trail running the year before and although I enjoyed the running and occasionally winning my age group, there was not much social interaction.
“At the time, I was seeing an exercise physiologist who suggested I take up a team sport and thus meet some different people. So I attended a rugby training session at Sydney University. I enjoyed it and I could catch and pass the ball, but I was a bit worried about how I would go with the tackling. I decided to give the rugby a miss.
“I then joined Gladesville Sharks’ Over 30s side who played in the first division at NWSF having never watched a whole game of football let alone a women’s game. I think the rest of the team wondered what I thought I was doing, but I muddled through and learned a few basics.
“The following year they could not field a team, so I joined Ryde Panthers over 30’s playing in the second division, having decided that I liked the game; I liked the competition, and I liked the social aspect.
“During a game at the beginning of the 2017 season, I broke my wrist and was ruled out for the rest of the season. However I was able to return in 2018 but we no longer had a coach and I had developed severe knee osteoarthritis and I was almost 70 years old.
“Then after last year, 2020, when we had a short season due to COVID, I decided I wanted to keep playing because I enjoyed it and about the only time my knee didn’t hurt was when I was on the field. Fortunately I was accepted by West Ryde Rovers this year and am playing over 40s and will be 73 later this year.
“Fortunately, I was accepted by West Ryde Rovers this year and am playing over 40s and will be 73 later this year.
“I am still running but mostly just to keep fit for football although I might yet compete in another trail run. I still see the exercise physiologist who does boxing, weights and agility exercises with me.
“I hope the younger women who are playing, keep playing as they get older. I also wish that more older women would not be afraid to take up the sport, not just football but any team sport.
“It is so beneficial for one’s physical and mental health. Being active makes you a super ager.”
Here here Judith, we at Football NSW salute you for your amazing commitment to the sport, may you play on for as long as your mind, body and soul lets you too!