If the games of soccer and bumper cars had a weird lovechild, it would be bubble soccer. Bubble soccer is a Norwegian-born sport that involves players encasing themselves into a giant inflatable plastic ball and playing soccer. Only, the extra padding turns an otherwise skill-based game into something akin to a crash-test derby. (But, like, incredibly safer.)
The premise behind bubble soccer is super simple. Games have a similar start to dodgeball, in that the ball is placed in the centre of the field and players are required to dash towards it. After a quick clash of the two teams’ bubble balls, the ball is then in play.
Just like in traditional soccer games, your objective as a bubbleballer (yep, that’s a real word) is to win the most points by scoring the most goals. Goals are scored by hitting a ball into the net (duh) – however, in bubble soccer there is no goal keeper, so you must bounce your plastic hide into the player with the ball to defend your net.
There are, of course, a few finer regulations, but the overall simplicity of these rules means bubble soccer is a great sport for novices (like us!). Oh, and don’t worry if the thought of being trapped in a ball for too long freaks you the frick out – games are split into two 15-minute halves, so you have ample break time to stretch your arms.
Bubble soccer games can be played in a ton of cities around the world. Some of our favourite places include:
- New York, the United States. New York gets that there’s something satisfying about bowling over your friends. So, they’ve maximized the number of places where you can achieve this. Most of New York’s bubble soccer companies offer both indoor and outdoor venues where you can vault onto your friends and fam. Plus, they’re available across a bunch of tri-state areas, including Brooklyn, Manhattan and Hempstead.
- Paris, France. There’s no doubt about it – the French are bubble soccer mad. On the outskirts of Paris alone lies no less than six separate bubble soccer arenas where you can unleash your inner Zinedine Zidane. Then, afterwards, you can kiss and make up over a toasted cream cheese baguette.
- Sydney, Australia. As one of the cities to popularize the sport, Sydney sure has some bragging rights. It has more diverse bubble soccer arenas than anywhere else – including a mobile bubble soccer pitch and an arena where you can play bubble soccer on ice! Now that’s something to add to your bucket list.
The cost of playing bubble soccer differs according to where you want to play it, who you want to play it with (groups cost less) and if you’re purchasing rentals.
If you want to buy your own bubble ball (and frankly, considering the amount of sweaty people who hopped into the bubble ball before you, who wouldn’t?), you can purchase one at the world’s most quality-driven suppliers of bubble soccer balls, Inflatable Zone. There, a single bubble ball will set you back around US$159. However, you do score a complementary 1-year warranty and a free repair kit, so the cost is definitely worthwhile. Oh… and did we mention you can also nab yourself a huge, inflatable soccer ball or a netted, inflatable goal? Score! Nice!