iCanPlay: Benjamin Andrew Q&A
Tell us about how and why you got involved in playing open-aged football?
Having played within the Rothwell Juniors set-up from mini-soccer upwards, the natural progression into the open-age team was always the plan.
The club has always had a family feel and you would often have exposure to players from different age groups at the club organised events.
Having already met several of the players that were currently playing in the open-age team, it made that step up much less daunting and an obvious choice.
Who have you played open-aged football for and who do you play for now?
I have played open-aged football for Rothwell Juniors and Stanley United.
Currently playing for Rothwell.
Firstly, starting with the Rothwell Reserves at 16, then moving to Stanley United for 2 years before returning home to Rothwell.
What do you enjoy about playing open-aged football?
The main thing I enjoy about open-age football is the break it gives you from your work.
Rarely do we discuss work within the team, it’s a place where people from all backgrounds come to play and enjoy the game that we all love.
I also love the moments it can give you.
Whether it be a big win or a hard-fought result, you experience a lot of memorable moments with some good friends.
What are your greatest achievements in playing open-aged football and why?
I would say the best achievement is to be a part of the current group we have at Rothwell.
I have been lucky enough to play in a group that has formed over the last few seasons, now looking to be in a position to make some steps up the league ladder.
Ask me again is a couple of seasons and hopefully my greatest achievements will be some league titles!
What are your goals for the future?
I hope to continue playing for as long as possible until my legs can’t carry me anymore!
Once that dreaded day comes, you’ll find me in a pair of Copa’s stood on the sidelines trying my hand at coaching.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in playing open-aged football?
I think the biggest obstacle is finding the time to commit on a weekly basis.
Luckily West Yorkshire has a group of well-run leagues across Saturday and Sunday, giving you that option to get a game in whenever it works for you.
Who’s had the biggest influence on you as an open-aged footballer and why?
I would say Paul Walker.
Paul is a Rothwell local and has been a long-time servant of Rothwell Juniors and is the epitome of grassroots football.
I can say with a lot of confidence that the club, especially at open-age, would not be where it is today without him, so he deserves a lot of credit.
Paul initially brought me in to the under 21’s team from the 16’s. I then had a couple of seasons away from Rothwell before he invited me back to the first team.
What advice would you give to people thinking about getting involved in playing open-aged football like you?
Find a club in your area, get involved and commit your time where you can.
From that you will find a whole new community you can relate to and enjoy many great memories.