He can still trap a ball coming at him any speed. His passes are crisp and accurate and he can run well in short spurts all night. And he can often be heard shouting strategy all over the field.
At 80, Fred Molzahn is still making things happen on the soccer field. He’s in Vernon with the Okanagan 65+ Oldtimers for yet another B.C. 55+ (formerly Seniors) Games.
“This is about my 15th Games,” said Molzahn, a Kelowna window company sales rep. “I think my first one was in Penticton. I’ve got two gold medals and a few silver and bronze, six medals. Soccer is my passion and I’ve met lots of great guys at these Games.”
Molzahn emigrated to Kelowna from Germany at age 14. He and his wife, Frankie, have four children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Frankie says Fred has a huge scrapbook of soccer articles from the Kelowna Daily Courier.
”He loves the game and I thought the old man would quit a few times but now I have no idea when he’ll stop playing. He’s still working full-time.”
Molzahn, who cheers for Bayern Munich, was a stalwart with the powerhouse Okanagan Valley Men’s League Willow Inn Kickers of the ’70s. He now plays regularly with the Brandt’s Creek Pub 55+s Thursday nights.
“Brandt’s Creek did a nice testimonial (day) for me and we had two full teams. It was a great day.”
Andy Miller, in Vernon with the Okanagan 60s, has played decades alongside Molzahn.
“In 1976 when I met him, I couldn’t believe he was 40,” said Miller, who helps run the Brandt’s Creek 55+ club. “Now, in 2017, he’s 80 and we still need him.”
Miller and friends from Brandt’s Creek held the testimonial game in Molzahn’s honour in late August at Beasley Park in Lake Country.
“It was a fantastic day with 60 or 70 people,” said Miller. “we divvied up the teams and Fred got on the scoreboard after a dubious penalty call. We told stories, some of them embellished. Four of five of the old Kickers like Dennis Zahara, Clare Patton and Rick Moore were there.”
Miller said the Pubbers have been trying to give Molzahn a soccer ball for his retirement for some time.
“Peter Butler bought an old Mitre ball three or four years ago that was supposed to be for Fred’s last year and the last ball has turned yellow,” laughed Miller.
Molzahn and the Okanagan Oldtimers shaded North Island (Zone 5) 2-1 and battled South Island to a scoreless draw in opening-day play at Marshall Field #5.
Gord McLaren of Kelowna took a nifty through ball from Vernon’s Denis Chabot and buried a 20-yarder for the winner with six minutes to play.
Ken Rath of Vernon and Willem Jonkman of North Island swapped first-half goals.
Fullback Harry Higginson of Summerland headed a dangerous cross off the line for the Okanagan seconds before the final whistle.
In 60s men’s play Wednesday, the Okanagan bowed 3-0 to the Victoria Strikers at Marshall Field#3.
Mike Walters (winner), Brian Porter and Peter Cavin scored for the Strikers, who had Kelowna’s JC Buratti in net.
The Okanagan 55s, a Kelowna entry, stuffed North Island 4-0 on two goals from Will Kruiper.