At the age of 53, Rita Brooks could never have predicted to fall in love with the round-ball game.
The Bulli mum had spent years taking her kids to football games and cheering them on from the sidelines, however, she never considered actually taking to the field herself.
But that's exactly what has happened in 2023, with the mother-of-three joining Football South Coast's inaugural women's over-40s summer competition.
Twelve teams are playing in the 10-week social competition, which takes place at Ian McLennan Park each Wednesday night. The concept came following FSC running a six-week pilot program earlier this year which proved a huge success.
Across the board, 70 per cent of the competition's players have never played football before. This includes Brooks, who represents the 'Like a Fine Wine' side.
"I've been a soccer mum for 13 years and this is the first time that I've played soccer," she told the Mercury.
"It's a lot harder than telling the kids what to do. But I've really enjoyed it, it's a lot of fun. It's very social, we don't point score and there's no finals at the end, but it's a great way to meet new woman, make new friendships and have a bit of a giggle. I was drawn to it being a social comp, and it's on smaller fields with less of a run around.
"I enjoy the team environment of it. You get to run, get some fitness up and have fun."
The launch of the over-40s league comes as FSC has seen record numbers taking part in their summer football competition, with 2700 juniors and seniors taking to the field.
"What is becoming very clear is that non-traditional forms of football is a growth area for the sport," FSC chief executive officer Ann-Marie Balliana said.
"Small sided games in particular are hugely popular and especially for women, who may not have time to dedicate to training and games during the year."