Professional footballer Ryan Thomas joined the PSV OldStars

11 June 2020

Professional footballer Ryan Thomas joined the PSV OldStars


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all matches and training sessions for the PSV OldStars had to be cancelled. However, this didn’t stop the over 60’s team! Through PSV Foundation’s new initiative, the virtual sports canteen, the OldStars walking football team have been able to stay in touch with each other. Also, This week a special guest took part in the online training: PSV player Ryan Thomas.

As part of our EFDN Interview series, we spoke with Harm Oppers who has been working for the PSV Foundation since 2014, as a Sportcoach.

In his EFDN Interview, Harm shares his reasoning behind launching the Virtual Walking Sports Canteen, for the elderly in the Netherlands. As well as, providing an insight into the sorts of activities they all get up to from home each week! He said, 

“PSV OldStars we started in 2013 with 30 elderly people to play walking football. Now in 2020, we have a whole vision of the responsible movement. As a result, we reach hundreds of elderly people every week in various walking sports, football, hockey and korfball. But we also offer training for Walking Sports trainers.”

“I launched the Virtual Walking Sports canteen in the Netherlands. Contact with each other is very important for the elderly. Every week we now drink coffee together from our own living room and afterwards, we start exercising together. I prepare the exercises with Rene Wormhoudt (staff member from the Dutch National Team). I also invite a special guest to the virtual canteen every week”.

The virtual sports canteen- what it means to OldStars participant Wim

For OldStars participant Wim, the virtual sports canteen is the highlight of the week. The 70-year old citizen of Eindhoven had post-traumatic stress syndrome after forty years of service with the police. Also, Wim suffers from anxiety and he didn’t want to risk being on the streets anymore. Until two years ago, he saw an advertisement for the OldStars team of PSV.

“I like it so much now that I can’t miss it. Sometimes I have very bad thoughts, but on the soccer field I lost them all”, says the Eindhoven resident.

When the COVID-19 outbreak started, Wim’s fears struck out again. The PSV supporter belongs to a high-risk group and is advised to stay indoors as much as possible. Wim was afraid that he would relapse into his lonely and fearful period. But fortunately, the PSV Foundation came up with a new initiative: the virtual sports canteen.

“Every Friday I sit and wait until it’s quarter to ten. Then we train and that is so much fun to do. I just look forward to this all week. I like it so much, I wouldn’t want to miss it anymore,”  Wim said.

Professional footballer Ryan Thomas joined the OldStars

Last week, Wim and his teammates were surprised by the participation of professional footballer Ryan Thomas. The 25-year-old midfielder joined the video call and performed some exercises together with Harm Oppers, the team’s trainer.

The New Zealander was pleased with the great initiative created by the PSV Foundation. “It’s nice that we can give them something to look forward to every week. That we can help them that way. Right now, in times when they have to stay inside, it’s important that we show that we are behind them,” said Ryan Thomas.

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