Sports

Jim Green defying age on soccer pitch

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - There's no pros on the soccer field at Holston River Park. Just a group that loves the game. But none of his teammates have loved it as long as Jim Green.

"They say a body in motion tends to stay in motion, so I guess he's putting that to the test," says his grandson, Jesse Sanjurjo.

"My first soccer ball was a pig's bladder," Green recounts. "And I was about five years old."
Now 82 years young, Green's still going, even after his children have called it quits.

"My goal was to not retire until he had, but I gave that up two years ago," says his son Steven, the president of the Knoxville Metro League.

"I still enjoy the fact that I can get out there and run around, not as fast as I used too," laughs Jim. "But I can still run around. I suppose a lot of people envy me that I can still do it. But as I say, it's in the mind, everything's in the mind."

His mind is always on soccer. When he's not playing, he's watching, or looking after the youth soccer fields in Seymour. 

"People say you're mad. And they're quite right. I'm mad about soccer. I love soccer, and I'll probably be playing it until the day I die."

"It's always been 'this will be my last set of cleats, these will see me out,'" says Steven. "That was probably about fifteen years ago."

Nothing keeps him from the game for long, not even the two total knee replacements he had nine years ago.

"I had them both done at the same time, so I didn't have to miss much soccer." 

A year later, he was back on the pitch. 

It's not only a way of life for Jim. You might also call it a religion.

"He missed my baptism," says his daughter Jenni. "He had a soccer game to go to. It was the church or soccer and the church didn't win."

"After a game in London, you go to the pub," Steven adds. "You lose track of time."
He's always had time for soccer. Now, in an ages 30 and older recreational league, it means time shared with his grandson, too.

"He turned 70, and 75 and 80, and I thought, maybe this will happen," says Jesse. "It's something to aspire to, to never quit doing what you love."

That sure looks like his goal.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm gonna continuing doing it. I don't see any reason I should give up. They might bury me on the pitch someday," Jim laughs. "Who knows?"


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