split image of Carol Askew

A person is only as old as they feel, and 75-year-old Carol Askew (Australia) is feeling as good as she ever has.

Not only is she still a practising solicitor, but Carol is officially the world’s oldest competitive female football player.

Carol plays for Gymea United FC in a league for women aged over 40, run by the Sutherland Shire Football Association.

According to Carol, most of the women she plays with and against are aged 43-64, meaning she’s over 10 years older than anyone else in the league.

Her record title differs slightly from the oldest female football player (set by 65-year-old Australian Lorraine Peel in 2017), which is for players in non-amateur, non-age-restricted competition.

Carol Askew smiling

Carol began playing football in 1984, aged 37, for Sydney-based club Sylvania Heights FC.

She started out as right forward, but she can play all over the pitch, having played as a sweeper, full-back, and goalkeeper. “I play wherever they put me; hopefully on the right,” she said.

Carol played for Sylvania for 10 years until 1994, when she moved to Broken Hill, a small desert city in outback New South Wales, where Mad Max: Fury Road was filmed. Upon her return to Sydney in 2005, Carol rejoined Sylvania Heights and enjoyed 16 more years playing for them.

Carol has scored “a couple of goals” over the years, and she helped Sylvania win the league title in 2010.

After 25 years in total at the club, she became the first woman to achieve life member status.

Sylvania were sadly unable to field a full over-40 women’s team in 2022, so Carol joined Gymea United, where she enjoys playing with her “fabulous” new teammates.

Carol playing for Gymea United FC in July 2023

Carol loves playing football because it helps her forget any worries or issues in her life. “It keeps me sane,” she explained.

“The friendships I have made over the years have been incredible,” Carol added.

“It keeps you young and can be challenging, but you know you’re alive and you keep coming back each week.”

Carol says she’s been fortunate to not suffer any major injuries in all her playing years, although she’s had a few minor ones such as “a full-on kick” to her ankle, and some bruises where the ball has hit her. “No complaints,” she said.

To maintain her fitness, Carol goes on walks at least three times per week, in addition to attending her team’s weekly training sessions.

Carol (far left) with some of her Gymea United teammates

Not only does Carol play the whole 18-match winter season with Gymea FC, but she also participates in a shorter summer league, where she plays for the Miranda Magpies. As their goalkeeper, she plays every match in full.

Carol’s favourite football team is, unsurprisingly, the Australian women’s national team, “the Matildas”, who she’ll be passionately supporting in the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Her favourite player is their captain, Sam Kerr. “As a player, on and off the field, she is sensational,” Carol said.

Carol is “thrilled” to have set a world record, and she has no intention of hanging up her boots yet, nor does she plan on retiring from her job.

I am still enjoying what l am doing, so why retire? – Carol Askew

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