Pele. Diego Maradona. Mia Hamm. Marta. These are names that are synonymous with soccer greatness.
You may not be at the level of these soccer great, but you have an appreciation of the sport. You might play recreational soccer in your spare time.
In 2011, the world of soccer changed forever. That’s when two Norwegian TV show hosts invented a game called bubble soccer.
It was a ridiculous stunt, but it looked so fun that people started to play all over the world. A new sport emerged. It’s now all over the United States, and it was featured as a product on Shark Tank in Season 7.
Do you want to know more about bubble soccer and how to play it? Keep reading to learn what the sport it, and how you can get started.
What Is Bubble Soccer?
Do you remember that Charlie Brown joke where he tries to kick the football, and Lucy pulls it away at the last second? Poor Charlie Brown falls on his backside.
Believe it or not, bubble soccer is kind of like that and sumo wrestling. What?
OK, imagine playing soccer carrying a huge inflatable bubble that covers your head and torso. Your body suddenly takes up more space, so your spatial awareness is way different than normal.
Not only that, but you’re competing against people who are also in a giant inflatable bubble. Now, imagine trying to go after a loose ball. The opponent chases the ball down, too.
You get to the ball at the same time, and CRASH! Actually, it’s more like BOUNCE! You bounce off of each other and fall back to the ground. Now you have to figure out how to roll over and get back up.
Bubble soccer has a few different names. It’s called Bubbleball, Zorb Ball, Bubble Futbol, and Bubble Football. Regardless of the name, the concept is the same. You try to play soccer wearing an inflatable bubble.
How did a couple of Norwegian guys come up with the concept? Its roots are actually in soccer and zorbing. Zorbing is where you roll downhill inside a giant bubble.
Is Bubble Soccer Safe?
The idea of falling on your backside a lot may not sound appealing. Even if you’re in the security of a huge bubble, you might have some safety concerns.
Yes, bubble soccer is safe. It might take a bit of time to adjust to the bubble, but you’ll learn how to manage the size and weight of the bubble.
At the same time, you or other players on the field might get a false sense of security and throw your body all over the place. Just because you wear a bubble doesn’t mean that you’re a superhero. That’s how injuries happen.
How to Play Bubble Soccer
The object of bubble soccer is pretty simple. You play on a team, and the object is to kick the ball in the opponent’s goal more than they score on your goal.
If you can run and kick while wearing a giant bubble, then you can play bubble soccer.
The Rules of Bubble Soccer
The great thing about bubble soccer is that it’s a pretty unorganized sport. There’s not a governing body like FIFA that organizes tournaments and makes the rules for everyone to follow.
It’s up to each league to determine the rules of the sport. They determine playing lengths and how many players are on the field, the size of the field, and so on.
Generally speaking, these are the most common rules of bubble soccer.
Games are 5-on-5. There are no goalkeepers, just 5 players per team on the field at a time. Each player has to have a fully inflated bubble that is securely worn.
Most leagues won’t allow you to wear jewelry, because you could get injured or pop the bubble.
It’s also up to the league to allow you to wear soccer cleats or turf shoes. Some leagues only allow tennis shoes.
The leagues also dictate how long matches are. Some leagues have halves about 10-15 minutes long with a 5-minute break. Other leagues play 5-8 minute quarters with short breaks in between.
Each league has its own rules about contact with other players, such as you can’t contact another player that’s on the ground.
The best thing you can do to learn the rules before you start to play is to check your league’s rulebook and check with the referee.
Find a Place to Play
Once you know the rules, you need to find people to play with. Most large cities offer bubble soccer. There are leagues just like with regular adult soccer leagues.
If you want to try it out, contact one of the bubble soccer facilities. You can sign up as an individual looking for a team. It’s a great way to get introduced to a new sport and new people.
That’s a good thing because they provide the equipment, you just need to pay the playing fees. Bubbles can be a little pricey, around a couple of hundred dollars apiece.
If you have a group that’s interested in playing, bubble soccer rentals are an option. You rent the equipment and you have fun playing.
Have Fun with Bubble Soccer
Did you learn how you can take your soccer skills to the next level? That’s not what this article was about! This was about a new way to enjoy the sport.
Bubble soccer made waves over the last 10 years and you can take part in this fun sport. The basics are easy to understand, plus it’s a great way to get introduced to the sport of soccer.
Check out the Sports section of this site for more athletic news and tips.