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Bubble Soccer Pops Up In Portland

Monday, September 01, 2014


Bubble Soccer

Who needs World Cup when all you really need to do is wrap yourself in a big plastic wad of bubble wrap and roll yourself down a grassy knoll?

Bubble soccer—also known as bubble ball and bubble football—has hit the sporting fields of Portland.

Earlier this summer The National Association of Bubble Soccer (NABS, and yes, there is such an organization) launched the first-ever bubble soccer league in Oregon and the first league of its kind on the West Coast.  

So what is “bubble soccer,” other than a new way for junior to play his favorite game and for moms to worry just a wee bit less about their children being on the receiving end of injuries to the head, back and groin?

The best way to think of bubble soccer is as a live, interactive video game big enough for a human to fit inside. 

Take one part of the fat-suited, faux sumo wrestlers you see on those weird Japanese game shows, mix it liberally with the semi-clear plastic balls you find in hamster cages and then add in one rule from soccer (get the ball in the goal). That’s when you’ll start to get the idea behind this fun and fascinating sport. 

Bubble soccer has an interesting history. Some say it originated in the United States and then swept across Europe. Others say it supposedly originated in the fjords of Norway but didn’t find its footing until it arrived several thousand miles away in Australia.  Whereever it kicked off, it now seems poised to take on both the East and West coasts and everywhere in between.

NABS provides bubble soccer equipment to new league administrators, offers league support, bubble soccer equipment rentals, player referrals, and league scheduling. Dedicated to teamwork, fun, and great memories, NABS has toured its way to Portland in its desire to light a fire across the nation about this unique sport, in which you will likely find yourself upside down as much as right side up. 

Bubble soccer is a bit similar to football (hence the no-goalies thing), but instead of butting helmets players are butting bubbles, resulting in people flying every which way in the air.  It is played both indoors or outdoors on Astroturf or any open grassy field. It is also considered a very safe sport because you are nearly entirely engulfed in plastic wrap. The NABS also uphold very stringent rules about their product and ensure that all their plastic bubbles have been tested for safety. Bubble soccer is a godsend for moms who worry too much.

That said, waivers are required in any organized sport that is played; bubble soccer is no different than regular soccer leagues, blow-up rentals or other physical activity. You play at your own risk.

The Portland branch of NABS is working to develop leagues across the city that will eventually compete on a national level. But for now they are just trying to get the word out about this highly addictive sport.  

So what does that mean? Because there are no “official” teams yet in Portland, the folks behind the local bubble soccer bubble are going to make several appearances across the region to show off their skills.

Heck, if you ask nicely and have a big enough space, they might even come to you. 

PDX Bubble Soccer

To see bubble soccer for yourself you can call 503-482-8395 or check out NABS's website at pdxbubblesoccer.com for a full listing of events at which they will be appearing for the rest of this year. 

Bubble Soccer Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the age limit and size?

Children as young as 6 years old have played. The suits are protective and the children at that age can barely build up enough momentum to remotely be of any harm. Recommended size for adults is under 6 feet five inches and 250 pounds, but if you can fit into the bubble you are welcome to play. Participants must be similar in size and no rough play is allowed. Larger participants can play with younger or smaller participants as long as the impacts are appropriate. This is why they provide referees for all events--anyone not following the rules will be asked to step out of the game.

Do you need to already know how to play soccer to participate? 

Definitely not, the rules of bubble soccer are far simpler, the only objective is to get the ball in the goals. All other rules are thrown out the window,

It is really all about having fun. 

Do you have liability insurance? 

They have insurance and can add any facility or organization as an additionally insured.  Safety is top priority. They have safety checks before and after each bubble is rented.  Working with the NABS means they have the safest bubbles that are made, meeting not only their safety standards but the NABS safety standards as well.

photo credits: 

Bubble Soccer from Bubble Soccer USA

PDX Bubble Soccer from the Portland Bubble Soccer website


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