80 and still playing: Meet Denton's oldest soccer player – Denton Record Chronicle

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Updated: May 17, 2022 @ 3:36 am
Maylene West holds two photo collages and wears an $80 corsage during Wednesday night’s surprise birthday celebration. West, who turns 80 on May 27, is the oldest player in the Denton’s Women Over 40 soccer league.
Kelli Alexander cuts a cake given to Maylene West during a surprise party for her at halftime on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. West, who turns 80 on May 27, is the oldest player in the Denton’s Women Over 40 league.
Denton’s Women’s Over 40 league players gather around to celebrate Maylene West’s 80th birthday on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. West, who turns 80 on May 27, is the oldest player in the league. 

Maylene West holds two photo collages and wears an $80 corsage during Wednesday night’s surprise birthday celebration. West, who turns 80 on May 27, is the oldest player in the Denton’s Women Over 40 soccer league.
Kelli Alexander cuts a cake given to Maylene West during a surprise party for her at halftime on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. West, who turns 80 on May 27, is the oldest player in the Denton’s Women Over 40 league.
Denton’s Women’s Over 40 league players gather around to celebrate Maylene West’s 80th birthday on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. West, who turns 80 on May 27, is the oldest player in the league. 
Maylene West ran up and down the field during the Women’s Over 40 soccer league game day last week. West tracked down her marker and would clear the ball when it came her way.
West, an Argyle resident, will be 80 years young on May 27 and is the oldest player in the league. While West got subbed in and out during the game, she showed age is just a number.
During halftime, league player Kelli Alexander got players from each of the four teams to gather for a group photo. That’s when Alexander surprised West with a barrage of gifts, photo collages, a cake and a corsage made out of $80 worth of bills.
West was shocked by the surprise party.
“I am so excited,” West said. “I thank God every day for my health, my family and my friends.”
Alexander said the four teams that participate in the league wanted to show they appreciate West for continuing to play with a surprise birthday party during Wednesday’s night game. She also said that because West’s birthday would land after the season concludes, she wanted all the league players to come together and celebrate the occasion in advance.
“She’s amazing,” Alexander said. “She’s always cheerful and a go-getter and she’s not afraid.”
The league, which was founded roughly four years ago, has players of all skill levels who play primarily to stay in shape and have fun.
After the halftime celebration ended on Wednesday, West and her FC Denton teammates got back to playing the second half of the season-ending playoff game. The team would eventually lose in overtime 1-0 to the Laid-Back Ladies.
West has played in several local recreational leagues spanning two decades in the North Texas area. Players from the Denton league call her “All the Way May” since she also has played in recreational leagues around the country.
While she has played on several teams, West said the Denton league in particular is the one she enjoys since she has built friendships with players from each team.
Patty Weber, another league player, has played along with West for over 20 years. Weber said each player from the league is inspired by West.
“I have always said that I want to be Maylene when I grow up,” Weber said. “And what I noticed about her is when she participates is that she never just sits back and says, ‘Well, maybe I don’t feel like doing that,’ and I think that’s what’s kept her so young.”
West, like many players in the league, will either return to play in the summer or fall season of league play.
West will continue to play soccer until her body tells her not to. She also said age is just a number and urges older players to continue to play despite their age.
“Don’t stop because you’re not the best player on the team,” West said. “Don’t stop because you’re the eldest one on the team. People are very understanding and very loving.”
JUAN BETANCOURT can be reached via Twitter at @jbetancourt_15.
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