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Bubble Football / Soccer - What You Should Know

Updated on January 13, 2014

For those who are tempted to wrap family members in cotton wool or bubble wrap before allowing them on the sports field, here's a perfect sport for you!

Bubble Soccer loosely follows the rules of traditional football where two teams compete to kick goals - without ever being allowed to touch the ball with their hands.


Bubble Soccer Suits in Team Colours

Until recently, bubble suits were made clear and the only way to spot a team member was to look for their team jersey. Trying to identify team mates through two bubble suits (yours and theirs) is difficult. Now there's team colours on the bubbles!
Until recently, bubble suits were made clear and the only way to spot a team member was to look for their team jersey. Trying to identify team mates through two bubble suits (yours and theirs) is difficult. Now there's team colours on the bubbles! | Source

Bubble Soccer or Bubble Football?

Do you call this game soccer or football in your part of the world?

See results

The Difference Between Soccer and Football in a Bubble

In this context, Bubble Soccer and Bubble Football are one and the same.

In the UK and Europe, football is what Australians and Americans tend to call soccer. David Beckham plays it ... so whatever you call the game Beckham plays. put the word bubble before it and people will know what you mean.


Hands free!

The role of a referee or umpire in bubble soccer is very different to a regular football game. It helps to have two refs on the field during a bubble soccer game. Bright vests make it easier for players to see and avoid them.
The role of a referee or umpire in bubble soccer is very different to a regular football game. It helps to have two refs on the field during a bubble soccer game. Bright vests make it easier for players to see and avoid them. | Source

The Role of the Referee/Umpire in Bubble Soccer

Any soccer umpire has to be fit. There's lots of running as the ball makes its way from one end of the soccer field to the other, but bubble soccer demands much more from the referee than the average football game.

As the only person on the field with free hands, the role of the ref includes retrieving the ball. When the ball is kicked off the field, the ref chases it and reintroduces it into play.

As bubble soccer becomes more widely known and attracts crowds of observers along the sidelines, there may be less leg work involved in ball retrieval but in its infancy when there's nobody around to stop the ball, bubble soccer is hard work for the referee.

Note: It helps to have two refs on the field during any game. In addition to retrieving the ball, sometimes players need a helping hand to get back up on their feet. :)


Bubble Football in the UK

Lee Moseley from Bracknell in Berkshire is credited as the brain behind the bubble - in the UK, at least. Apparently Lee worked as an asbestos surveyor but left his job to set up a bubble business.

His company makes sports bubbles available throughout the UK and he is currently setting up competitions and events throughout Britain.

Lee and his wife deserve every success. After being turned down by potential investors, they financed the new business themselves.

Their financial bubble shows no sign of popping! :)


You don't have to come pelting at full speed to knock another bubble football player to the ground.  It can be quite difficult to retain your footing when being jostled.
You don't have to come pelting at full speed to knock another bubble football player to the ground. It can be quite difficult to retain your footing when being jostled. | Source

Where Bubble Football Began

Bubble soccer - or bubble football - is currently played around the world including Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Britain and the USA.

Credit for the craze goes to a Norwegian television sports show clip that was featured on YouTube in 2011 and has attracted more than 3 million hits.


Bubble Soccer on a Full Size Football Field

Who Shouldn't Try Bubble Football?

  • If you are overweight, there is a possibility you might get 'stuck' in the bubble.
  • If you are unfit, be careful not to exhaust yourself.
  • The ball is quite heavy so you will need strength and stamina.
  • Those who suffer vertigo. Balls roll.
  • Think twice before joining a team if you suffer from claustrophobia.


Bubble Soccer in the USA

The Chicago Bubble Soccer League was quick to tap into the fun and has proven extremely popular in the US. Other states including Florida have begun their own competitions.

I am told that American bubble soccer sticks quite closely to the traditional rules of soccer and has seven players on each team with two subs.

Like most countries, the US offers events for co-ed teams plus male-only competitions.


Entering the Bubble

Bubble soccer players need to be comfortably positioned within the bubble and firmly holding the handles before the game begins. There's not much room for readjustment once the player is upright.
Bubble soccer players need to be comfortably positioned within the bubble and firmly holding the handles before the game begins. There's not much room for readjustment once the player is upright. | Source

How and Why to Adapt Soccer Rules to Bubble Play

For adults playing traditional soccer, the length of the playing field should be between 100 and 130 yards. FIFA rules also stipulate the width should be between 50 and 100 yards.

Each 'half' is expected to last 45 minutes without interruption ... and the half-time interval should not be longer than 15 minutes.

To be allowed to play traditional soccer, teams must consist of between seven and eleven players.

Now let's assess how the three basic rules outlined above apply to Bubble Soccer.

Spending 45 minutes trying to cover a playing field of such large dimensions will exhaust even the most fit player who dons a bubble to play. And 22 bubble-wearing players on one field trying to keep track of one small ball sounds like a recipe for disaster. You might as well remove the ball and just have a competition to drop as many of your opponents as possible. lol.

In theory, respecting the 17 Laws of Soccer sounds great. In reality, however, it is too big an expectation.

A smaller number of players on a smaller field for a shorter time makes better sense. More fun and less risk of physical discomfort and health issues.


A Different Kind of Goal

I've not yet seen a ball fall through the hole at the top of a bubble, but I am sure it is only a matter of time. :)
I've not yet seen a ball fall through the hole at the top of a bubble, but I am sure it is only a matter of time. :) | Source

What is Bubble Football Really Like?

Okay, based on feedback from actual players, here's the good news ...

  • You'll laugh yourself silly.
  • It doesn't hurt when you hit the ground.
  • Most of the time you can get back on your feet without help.
  • It is extraordinarily fulfilling when you manage to kick the ball.
  • By the end of a game, you know you've had a good workout.
  • Being immersed within a plastic bubble is something you could never have dreamed about as a child - so it is absolutely novel and exciting.
  • Did I mention that you'll laugh yourself silly?


Bubble Soccer Player Going Nowhere

One of the tactics for slowing the opposition in a bubble soccer game is to strategically bump a player so they roll and get stuck upside down. lol.
One of the tactics for slowing the opposition in a bubble soccer game is to strategically bump a player so they roll and get stuck upside down. lol. | Source

Before deciding to get into that bubble ...

To be fair, I should also offer you the negative feedback.

  • The bubble is hot.
  • The bubble is smelly.
  • It is tempting to wash the last player's sweat out with a hose before climbing in.
  • Despite looking as light as a, well, bubble, it is heavier than one would expect.
  • Claustrophobia is definitely an issue for some.

And then there's more laughing and the warning that you'll laugh yourself silly. :)


What a bubble hug looks like ...

The blue team scored a goal. Instead of jumping, slapping and hugging each other, the best they could manage was a plastic 'shoulder rub' while other team members took a celebratory roll. :)
The blue team scored a goal. Instead of jumping, slapping and hugging each other, the best they could manage was a plastic 'shoulder rub' while other team members took a celebratory roll. :) | Source


Yes, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, and the bright new look of bubbles makes the game even more interesting for spectators.

I could happily watch bubble soccer for hours. It's much more fun than watching cricket or tennis. lol. .


How do you feel about Bubble Soccer?

Would you put yourself inside a big plastic bubble and try to kick a ball?

See results

© 2014 LongTimeMother

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This looks fun, although I'm sure I'd be like the fella in your photo who is stuck upside down with his feet in the air. I bet it reduces the risks normally associated with the game. The thought of coating myself in the previous player's sweat is nasty, so I'm glad you gave both pros and cons.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hello FA. It could feel like a very long time waiting for one of your team mates to spot you and bump you over. I'm not a fan of being suspended upside down and the bubble is too heavy at my age and stage in life. However I do love watching bubble sports. Sometimes a good laugh is just what the doctor ordered. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I am not good at sports in general, but this looks like fun for those who like challenges and perhaps it would be safe for me to at least try. Looks like the people in the video are really into the novelty. It's in a foreign language, but I could still understand the video flow.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      lol. I'd love to hear about it if you do have a try, teaches12345. The bubble suits they use here come further down than the bubbles in the video. Seems to offer a bit more protection for the knees.

      As far as sports go, however, being wrapped in a big plastic bubble would have to offer some level of protection. I'd try it if I was a bit younger. :)

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I've never heart of this sport before but it looks like so much fun! Where do you buy the bubbles?

    • profile image

      Peter 3 years ago

      How can I find out about running a league?

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hello Writer Fox and Peter. I can see I'll need to spend some time answering your questions.

      Where on the planet do you live, Peter?

    • profile image

      Michael Lansley 3 years ago

      In the US, www.nationalbubblesoccer.com

      They sell all necessary equipment and anything else you may need to start a league such as liability insurance. They also refer players to your league, offer league support, and get your league ranked on Google

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the tip, Michael. That will be useful to readers in the US. :)

    • profile image

      geeserabbit 3 years ago

      Great article!

      In response to Peter's question, if you're from Canada, I am currently selling these suits and would love to help you get started on your league.

    • profile image

      Where can I buy these suits? 10 or more? 3 years ago

      Answer to mviessman@ gmail.com

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