Full contact mayhem: Bubble soccer


A player gets bowled over by two players from another team. – Photo by Justin Mitchell

Last Saturday, hours before one of the most intense hockey games of the season, the Memorial Union Building Board crew set up one of the most fun events I’ve witnessed since being at Tech. It’s called Bubble Soccer, and the actual sport is much more intense than it sounds. Bubble Soccer starts with two teams of five, who are placed in an arena, that’s half the size of the SDC main gymnasium.

Once inside the arena, each person must get inside a plastic bubble, which basically is an engorged donut, with only a small portion of the top and bottom that’s flat. The donut hole is where the person goes, with two vertical straps for them to hold on to, and a suspender that hooks the bubble onto them. Each team then lines up, five people across, facing the other team.

A regular soccer ball is placed in the middle, and the two teams are set to go. The first moments after the referee seems perfectly normal. People run towards the ball, hoping to kick it out for their team. But, as soon as the teams get close enough to touch, people go bounding off of one another, and most times, the ball doesn’t go far, because the teams are too busy knocking one another over to worry about the ball. This phenomenon seems to happen on the first ball drop of every game, until people get the initial aggressiveness out of their system, and start to play the game.

Afterwards, they take off towards the ball. As soon as one person gets control and turns to start towards the opposing team’s goal, one or two of the defending team would ram the ball handler, sending them bouncing backwards. The goals in these games were few enough, like regular soccer, but the aggression was akin to rugby or American football.

Each game lasted a brief ten minutes, which flew by even as a bystander, and as each team removed their bubbles, every person seemed like they had a workout during their game. I had the chance to talk to a lot of the players after they were done playing, and the general opinion was that they would play it again in a heartbeat.

Several people liked it so much they said they would play it as an intramural sport here at Michigan Tech. Which seems like an entirely feasible thing to do, if enough people became interested. Bubble soccer is like good ol’ American gridiron football meets a Mad Max version of the rest of the world’s football. It was a refreshing change of pace from the winter sports that we’ve had for the past couple of months, and was a prelude for the warm months to come.

Bubble soccer is a great, safe way to play a full contact sport, and get out your day’s aggression at the same time.  I recommend that the next time this sport comes around, gather up four friends, or nine if you can find them, and spend some time knocking one another around in the Bubbledome.