Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Sarnia FC soccer player, 80, decides its time to hang ‘em up

Published on

Troy Shantz

Norm Perry Park has heard many sporting tributes over the years, but few like this one.

When Barry Goodwin took to the pitch in a Sarnia FC over-35 league game on July 20 his family, friends and fans rose to give him a standing ovation.

A full team of players and supporters turned out to watch and pay tribute to Barry Goodwin' playing his final over 35 soccer game at Norm Perry Park.  Barry played soccer for the past 74 years.  "A chicken BBQ was also held to help recognize Barry's accomplishments in soccer," said team spokesman Drew Taylor.  Barry was allowed two penalty kicks after being taken to the ground by Reg Veas, a 63 year-old player from Tomlinson F.C team who is taking over as the league senior player.  As you can see from the crowd pix, there wasn't too many people in the stands, but they were enthusiastic.  Barry Goodwin turned 80 years old and plays on my over 35 soccer team  (Paddy Flahertys) in the Sarnia FC league, on July 20 at 6:45 at Norm Perry we will be celebrating all of his accomplishments with a standing ovation when he steps in the pitch.
Players and supporters at Norm Perry Park pay tribute to Barry Goodwin as he takes to the field in a league game at the age of 80. Glenn Ogilvie

Players and supporters at Norm Perry Park pay tribute to Barry Goodwin as he takes to the field in a league game at the age of 80. Glenn Ogilvie

The veteran player and coach had achieved his goal —playing soccer into his 80th year.

“It should have been done five years ago,” said Sharron Goodwin, noting a pending knee replacement is forcing her husband to hang up the cleats.

“But he has always maintained he would play until he was 80.”

Goodwin is well known in Ontario soccer circles. A director on the board of the Ontario Soccer Association and Lambton-Kent Soccer Association, he has also refereed Sarnia girls’ soccer until this year.

“He can’t run a whole lot but when he does get a touch, you can always get that quality touch back,” said Drew Taylor, who has been his fellow player-coach on the Paddy Flaherty’s team the past five years.

Goodwin was 16 when he caught the eye of his hometown club in Scunthorpe, England, and signed a contract with the semi-pro team.

But a promising pro career was cut short by a run-in with a goal post that broke both his legs.

Goodwin emigrated to Canada in 1968 in search of a better life and found it in Sarnia as a millwright and maintenance supervisor.

And he has always stayed close to the game he loves, said Sharron Goodwin, his wife of eight years.

“We eat, sleep and drink soccer,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about soccer when I first met him. I knew what a soccer ball looked like and that was about the extent of it.”

Goodwin, who has played soccer for 74 years, showed he’s still got it when the team was awarded a corner kick a few years ago, Taylor said.

The squad reluctantly agreed to let the septuagenarian take the shot, but they weren’t disappointed.

“He ended up going to take it, and didn’t he just bend it right into the back of the net. Unbelievable,” Taylor said.

Barry Goodwin was allowed two penalty kicks after being taken to the ground by Reg Veas, a 63-year-old player from Tomlinson F.C team, who now takes over as the the league's oldest player.  Glenn Ogilvie
Barry Goodwin was allowed two penalty kicks after being taken to the ground by Reg Veas, a 63-year-old player from Tomlinson F.C team, who now takes over as the the league’s oldest player.
Glenn Ogilvie

“If I was him I would’ve packed it in right there and called it quits, but yeah, he’s still playing.”

His wife said the veteran kicker would often come home after a night of refereeing with stories of the folks he’d met.

“He’s played with a lot of different people in the Sarnia area, and now he’s refereeing their kids – or their grandchildren in some cases,” Sharron Goodwin said.

One day he was playing goal and stopped a shot with the end of his fingers.

“When they took the goalie gloves off the fingers were just hanging there, she said.

But after a quick patch-up at the hospital he came back and finished the game.

“He is very much a trooper,” his wife said. “When he’s a part of a team he gives it his all.”

 

More like this