PHOENIX (KSAZ) – Some people say soccer is a young person’s game, and once a player hits 35 or so, it’s time to hang it up.
Don’t tell that, however, to a talented goalkeeper who is 68 years old, and is still a formidable force on the soccer field!
As one watches John Norberciak warm up, the first thing you should know is this goaltender is waiting for an operation.
“I am waiting for my knee replacement right now,” said Norberciak.
Then the game gets underway at Arizona Sports Complex in Glendale, and Norberciak springs into action. He moves with catlike quickness, knocking balls away and rushing out to take on attackers. Sometimes, he gets thrown back into his goal making a save.
“I think it is devotion to soccer,” said Norberciak. “I started playing pro at 16 years old.”
He played in Poland and Austria. Came to America in 1982 and calls Cave Creek his home. He loves soccer, loves to compete, and has no intention of slowing down.
“Oh it is awesome,” said Norberciak’s daughter, Kasia. “I hear guys 19 years old complimenting him on his saves and frustrated they can’t score on him. Just a great feeling.”
In the heat of battle, some opposing players might call him grandpa, or worse. Just not to his face.
“I don’t know, they call me behind my back I guess,” said Norberciak. “After a save, I don’t want to repeat it. So after a save, they are saying something but you can’t say it on TV.”