Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

See the video: walking football craze kicks on

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

See the video: walking football craze kicks on


If you can walk, you can play: why the Coast's latest sporting craze has everyone on their feet

Do you have a news tip? Click here to send to our news team.

Student’s unique solution to two massive issues

Warm, daily showers, hot meals and a comfy, safe place to sleep are the basics for most, but these are luxuries that are hard More

Ian Moss is ‘just another guy’ but he’s experienced a wild musical ride 

Hearing new music today is easier than it has ever been. A quick search for a song on your phone or computer can have More

Wave of success: how Coast club toppled the giants

One of the Sunshine Coast's less heralded surf life saving clubs has shone brighter than any other in the state - and for a More

When Allen Gotts “lost” his left leg after a bunion operation 11 years ago, he could have been forgiven thinking his football days were over.

He’d played for more than 50 years – starting as a youngster and developing a deep love of what’s considered the world over as “the beautiful game”.

But for the past two weeks, he has been warming up his prosthetic left leg and his good right one with a few well-placed kicks before taking the Kawana Football Club main field for the Sunshine Coast’s latest sporting craze.

The club in Milieu Place, Warana, has been hosting free walking football come-and-try- events on Thursdays from 6.30pm.

Fully affiliated through Football Queensland, the shorter matches on smaller fields with modified rules and no contact put a new spin on the sport.

Men, women, novices and experienced football players come together in teams of five, six or seven a side, depending on numbers.

The matches are so much more than just a walk in the park.

Participants such as Allen are finding their feet in the new format that allows many to become active once again, show the kids they’ve still got the moves and enjoy mixing with like-minded, newfound friends.

“This was good fun last week,” Allen said as he arrived early for another round.

“I can’t play any other sort of sport so I may as well give it a go. Have a bit of fun.”

And while Allen’s experience may give him an unfair advantage in being able to kick and defend both feet, he lets slip to the opposing team that he can be “wrong-footed” because sometimes he can’t turn his prosthetic leg as fast as he’d like.

A game for all ages. Picture: Shirley Sinclair

Kawana FC director of coaching and University of the Sunshine Coast academic Dr Scott McLean applauds Allen’s enthusiasm and the example he set by turning up and giving walking football a go on the first come-and-try night.

“He just absolutely  loved it and he ran around and got stuck right into it,” Scott said.

“He had a ball.”

Scott said the long-term goal of walking football was to keep people active, playing sport and connected to their favourite clubs for as long as possible.

He said the non-contact sport was ideal for those who felt they could no longer be competitive on the sporting field because of past or current physical problems, age or lack of experience. As long as you can walk, you can play.

Walking styles vary widely. Picture: Shirley Sinclair

While rules are flexible, the main difference to the bigger game is that players must walk “heel to toe” to the ball or while moving around the field, with one foot touching the ground at all times.

That’s harder than it sounds.

The walking rule is frequently broken when players get excited and inadvertently break into a jog.

Then the whistle blows, resulting in a free kick to the other team.

Walking Football helps with short passing skills. Picture: Shirley Sinclair

The field size is much smaller – about an eighth of a senior field – and can be adjusted, depending on numbers of players per side.

Passing accuracy to another player’s feet is critical, otherwise the ball often just sails past.

Goals can only be kicked inside the small semi-circle around the flags marking the goal posts.

“We only play with a few minor rules, but official competitions are a bit stricter,” Scott said.

“For us at Kawana, it’s more about having fun.

Like stories about Sunshine Coast people doing great things? Help us deliver more by registering for our free daily news feed. All it requires is your name and email. See SUBSCRIBE at the top of this article. 

“There’s no contact. Kicking above the 2m high goals is not allowed. There’s no tackling.

“You can put a bit of pressure on and that type of thing.

“Walking football is quite flexible to suit the participants you’ve got and obviously the facilities you’ve got as well.

“Because it’s affiliated with Football Queensland, when people sign up to play, they’re fully insured by Football Queensland.

“For the next couple of weeks, it’s just a come and try. No cost, and the bar is open so you can tell a few stories of former glories.”

A recent match saw Scott and club stalwart Les “Casper” Fleming share playing and refereeing duties for the eight men and women – singles and couples, of all ages and experience – who took the field.

“That’s the beauty of it: everybody is on the same level,” Casper said.

His wife Kayleen also had a run … or, in this case, walk.

Free come-and-try events are being held at Kawana FC. Picture: Shirley Sinclair

“It’s good for people like me who’ve pretty much played soccer their whole life but I just can’t run anymore,” she said.

To the casual observer, this is a game of centimetres. The ball can be so near and yet so far … it simply can’t be reached at walking pace, as hard as the players try.

But the frustration of the ball rolling out of bounds before their eyes or an opposition player beating them by a whisker to the kick only adds to the amusement.

Everyone seems to have a fast-walk style all of their own.

Watching players try to stop themselves as they remember mid-stride not to break into a run is a hoot for spectators.

And the familiar football shout of “man on” – warning a teammate with the ball of an opposing player close behind –  is likely to make the whole field crack up laughing.

Scott hopes walking football will grow into a weekly competition.

“We’ll do a couple of seasons over the year: maybe a 10-week block then have a break,” he said.

“It’s still a bit fluid at the minute but we’ll work it out as we get there.”

Local journalists supporting local people. Help keep independent and fair Sunshine Coast news coming by subscribing to our free daily news feed. All it requires is your name and email. See SUBSCRIBE at the top of this article. 

While competitive walking football matches are held around the world (Walking Football has officially been added to the 12th Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast in November this year),  Scott and Kawana FC want to keep things casual.

“We don’t want the competitive side,” he said.

“We’re just doing it to get more community engagement happening and show that people at any age can come and enjoy football.

“And hopefully, you know, it might turn out that they come down and watch the premier men on a Saturday afternoon and get involved in the club.

“We want to be a community club.”

Just turn up for a 6.30pm game on Thursday nights at Kawana. For more, visit Football Queensland 


Walking Football is a game for all. If you can walk, you can play. Picture: Shutterstock

The first known game of walking football is thought to have taken place in Derby, England, on May 14,, 1932, between Derby Railway Veterans and Crewe Railway Veterans.

The modern-day game was started by Chesterfield Community Football Club coaches about 2011, soon after it appeared in a Barclays Bank advertisement featuring a team from Cove in Hampshire.

Walking football came to Queensland after Alan Templeton saw a news report in June 2017, while watching TV from his couch in North Lakes near Brisbane.

The story was about a group of elderly former professional footballers in England who still wanted to play the game they loved but could no longer run after a ball.

Alan’s efforts to organise walking football in South-East Queensland were realised when the Walking Football Brisbane organisation he founded held its first session of social walking football at what is now Northside Indoor Sport and Fitness on January 7, 2018.

In August 2019, Football Queensland appointed Alan as its first walking football development manager – aiming to roll out more grassroots walking football programs across Queensland.


Football Queensland has developed “Laws of the Game” for walking football “to reflect the ethos and values of this unique sport” and to ensure every participant’s age, gender and ability are taken into consideration.

  1. No running
  2. No tackles from behind.
  3. No tackles from the side.
  4. No contact.
  5. No backing into players.
  6. Respect the referee’s decision.
  7. No shoulder charging, pushing or barging.
  8. Stop play at head height.
  9. No careless, reckless or dangerous play.
  10. Play fair – enjoy the game.


Diamonds sharpen skills at crucial Coast camp

The Australian Diamonds are training in earnest on the Sunshine Coast. Twenty players, including Sunshine Coasters Steph Wood and Cara Koenen, were invited to the More

Sundale residents take a walk on the wild side

Sundale’s Coolum Waters Care Centre took a walk on the wild side when residents welcomed a few furry and scaley visitors. Wildlife HQ Sanctuary visited More

Shark attack survivor buoyed by support

A massive community effort has seen fundraising for Sunshine Coast shark attack survivor Joe Hoffman creep closer to its $70,000 target. The gofundme page fundraising More