If you’ve ever run laps, you’ve probably bemoaned the fact that soccer fields are so large. Luckily, we have air supported domes to create indoor spaces large enough to house a soccer field, but why do they need to be so big? Who decided that a soccer field should be the size of, well, a soccer field?
It might surprise you that soccer actually started out on a much larger scale. Somewhere around the 9th Century in England, the game would span an entire town as everyone would try and kick a pig’s bladder from one landmark to another.
But the modern field as we know it today began to take shape in the late 16th and early 17th centuries when soccer goals were first described.
In 1863, a group of English schools and clubs met up to decide on official rules for the game of soccer (or football as it was known). They published the original 14 laws of the game, one of which standardized the field of play.
In the original laws, the field (or grounds as it was then called) could be up to 100 yards wide and 200 yards long. After that, the modern shape of the soccer pitch took shape, with lines being added in for the boundaries, middle, and penalty box. The modern goal was standardized to 8 feet high and 8 yards long.
Did you know, though, that there isn’t one standard size for a soccer pitch? You’d think that since the first laws were set, someone at some point would have defined a single standard field size, but you’d be wrong.
The FIFA regulations for a soccer field states that there are acceptable ranges for the width and length of the field. The field should be rectangular in shape and be between 100 yards and 130 yards in length (90m to 120m) and 50 to 100 yards in width (45m to 90m). Fields for international matches are a little bit more restrictive and need to be 100 to 110 meters in length and 64 to 75 meters in width.
Interestingly, this means that most soccer fields are wider than standard American or Canadian football fields. An American football field has a standard width of 53 1/3 yards, and Canadian football fields are slightly wider at 65 yards.
So, while a football field does fit within the parameters of a soccer field, a pitch that’s created for soccer would most likely be larger than a football field.
Because two different soccer fields might have different dimensions, it creates an added challenge for dome building. One soccer dome might need to be slightly larger than another soccer dome, simply because the field itself is a little bit larger. It’s a good thing that each dome is custom designed and planned out to make sure that there’s enough room to cover your field, however big it is!
Winding Down For The Season: How To Keep Active Over The Winter For Soccer Players
As the months get colder, the outdoor soccer season winds down. Not surprisingly, the weather makes it more difficult to play a sport like soccer in the open air. However, serious soccer players know they cannot just stop playing and sit on the couch all winter: they have to stay active in order to keep their performance up when the season resumes. So what can they do? Here are three major ways for soccer players to keep active over the winter:
Walk It Off
Perhaps the simplest all-around fitness tip, regardless of season, is to simply walk everywhere you can. This includes taking the stairs at work and school, walking around the mall (just avoid the food court), and even walking outside when the weather permits.
In terms of walking outside during the winter, you just need the proper outdoor clothing and footwear to combat the cold and snow on the ground. So long as there isn’t a blizzard, it’s still possible to walk many places in the winter. Just try not to slip on any ice.
Outdoor Winter Sports
Even though the summer sports might wind down, there are still a whole host of other winter activities to help you remain active as a soccer player during the off-season. Perhaps the most popular of these is hockey. You can also try skiing, snowboarding, or even snowshoeing, if the conditions permit it.
Even though these sports are not the same as soccer, they still help players maintain their physical ability and condition other muscles, which means a smooth transition back to playing soccer.
You can maintain a good level of physicality indoors, whether you go to a local gym or watch workout DVDs within the comfort of your own home. Some basic things, such as running on a treadmill, are also perfect activities for soccer players to remain active during the winter, particularly because a soccer player needs to maintain their cardio fitness.
Apart from treadmill exercise, most other forms of indoor training would work well for soccer players, particularly those involving a high level of hand-eye coordination.
Play in a Dome
Of course, just because you cannot play soccer outdoors on a nice, grassy field during the winter does not mean you need to stop! You can easily stay active during the winter by playing soccer in an air-supported structure. Domes make ideal spaces in which people can play during any season or weather, since they can protect you from both the harsh temperatures of winter and the blowing snow it often brings. This means that you can focus on the game (or practice) instead of the conditions surrounding you. Air-supported structures also boast quality playing surfaces that will always be well-maintained. Keep up your skills as a soccer player during the winter by doing the best thing: playing soccer!
Soccer in the Rain: When to Take Your Game Inside a Dome
Nobody wants to be the one to call off a soccer match due to weather. Call it too early and the weather might clear up, leaving players and spectators upset. But if the call comes too late, someone could get hurt.
When it comes to deciding whether the game should go on, player safety comes first. There are times when it’s simply not safe to continue playing.
Here are signs to watch for when deciding to take it indoors.
Too Much Rain
In most cases, a referee won’t call off a soccer match on rain alone. Soccer players don’t mind getting a bit wet, and the game can go on despite slippery and soggy conditions.
However, excessive rainfall can drastically change the playing field. The ball may skip or glide across the wet grass with ease, but it can also become stuck in the mud. Passing and dribbling the ball becomes much more difficult.
Players need to focus almost as much on keeping their balance as the game itself.
If the rain doesn’t stop, these conditions can become a safety concern. Muddy grounds and pools of water are a tripping hazard. Players can hurt themselves from slipping on the wet grass.
Playing in soaking wet uniforms makes it harder for players to keep warm, especially when they stop moving at half-time. Not only is playing in the cold uncomfortable, but it decreases the players’ performance and increases the risk of injury.
This is a tough call to make, as rain is more subjective than the other conditions on this list. Safety is the main priority. If players are hurting themselves, it’s time to take shelter.
An open field, like a soccer pitch, is one of the most dangerous places to be during a lightning storm. Soccer players have been struck, and even killed, by lightning. Referees should cancel the game or move it indoors at the first sign of lightning.
Many people think clear skies mean they’re safe from lightning. This isn’t necessarily true. Storms can move in quickly, and lightning can strike as far as 16km away from any rainfall.
If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be at risk. Dark clouds and increasingly high winds are also signs of danger. It’s best to stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after the last time you hear thunder.
Heat and Humidity
Since the soccer season runs from the early spring until the fall, referees must also be mindful of hot summer temperatures and humidity.
Like any rigorous exercise, playing soccer in the heat can be dangerous. Players can experience heat-related illnesses caused by overheating and dehydration. Since not all soccer leagues let players take breaks between halves, some players are at greater risk of becoming dehydrated.
In determining whether it’s safe to play outdoors, pay attention to the heat index. The heat index tells you what the temperature feels like to your body based on the air temperature and humidity. Generally, a heat index above 32 degrees Celsius creates the risk of heat cramps or heat exhaustion, while anything above 40 degrees is dangerous.
Extreme heat also has an impact on air quality. People are more sensitive to air pollution during physical activity, and it tends to increase during high heat and humidity. Be sure to check the air quality health index before you hit the field.
If heat or air quality is a concern, and you can’t move the match indoors, it’s best to reschedule or postpone it until later in the day.
When the weather becomes a safety issue, somebody has to make the call. The game can’t go on when players are at risk. Regardless, it’s a stressful decision to make when everyone’s prepped and ready to play.
And, of course, the ultimate solution to staying safe from the weather is to move your game inside a soccer dome. Air-supported domes can accommodate a full-size soccer field that’s always safe, dry, and comfortable.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world—about 250 million people play the sport. That’s the equivalent of about 5/6ths the entire population of the United States of America. Because the sport spreads so far, not everyone plays the game in the same way. For example, millions of people play soccer indoors in air domes to protect them from poor playing conditions.
There are a lot more variations on the sport than you may realize though. If you’re getting tired of traditional soccer, here are a few soccer-related (perhaps distantly related) sports that might be worth a try…
Voccer is simple. Picture soccer crossed with volleyball and you’ve got the gist. Using a volleyball, this game allows you to use your hands. You must volley the ball into the air just like in volleyball, but the only way to pass the ball to a teammate is with your feet.
The aim is to get the ball into your opponents goal using either your hands or feet.
This game is a little bit more dangerous than typical soccer because it involves strapping a couple blades to your feet!
The game is played similar to indoor soccer, but the difference is that it’s played on a sheet of ice, and the players need to skate around the arena. Using a smaller size soccer ball and smaller nets, the game looks a bit more like ice hockey than soccer but it’s definitely a cool way to spend an afternoon.
Players just need to be careful not to slice other players or the ball with their sharp skates!
Footby is another cross sport and mixes elements from soccer, football (the American one), and rugby.
If you’ve got a couple full teams that don’t mind a little jostling, check this game out for a fun afternoon on the field.
Hungerball is a soccer variant that seems to be catching on, especially as a party game. It does require more specialized equipment than a traditional game of soccer, though.
Using an inflatable arena, six players enter, each with a net that they must protect. Players lose when they allow too many goals. Alliances form, strategies are decided on the fly, and everyone has a great time.
Like bubble soccer, we think this is a perfect party sport to have in any multisport dome!
Looking for more sports to keep your soccer team busy? Or to offer patrons of your multisport dome? Check out any of the above new soccer games to spice up your indoor soccer play! And if you have suggestions on other soccer type games that are new and up-and-coming, let us know in the comments!
Hi there, my name is Andu I am the founder and CEO of Hungerball Ltd in New Zealand. thanks for featuring Hungerball on your website, which looks really cool btw. We're actually in the process of setting up an operation in Canada near Toronto - maybe we can find ways to cooperate if this may be of interest to you, let us know, best wishes, Andu
Professional Indoor Soccer: The World Indoor Soccer League
Think indoor soccer is just a game played by kids and weekend warriors in soccer domes? No way—even pros play indoor soccer.
The MLS, North America’s premier soccer league, has grown steadily since inception, but have you ever wondered why there isn’t a professional indoor soccer league? Well you might be surprised to learn that it does (or rather, did) exist! It was called the World Indoor Soccer League. But where did it come from? Where did it go? This week we’ll look back on the WISL and what happened to it.
Indoor soccer has been around for longer than you might have imagined. After all, in countries like Canada and the US, the weather doesn’t always cooperate for playing outside. Especially in the winter. A sport as popular and universally enjoyed as soccer isn’t easy to put down, so why not play inside?
The World Indoor Soccer League was actually born from the failure of a predecessor, the Continental Indoor Soccer League. When the CISL flopped, the World Indoor Soccer League was born from its ashes. Four CISL teams created a new league called the Premier Soccer Alliance.
There were high hopes for this new league and a merger was in the works between the Premier Soccer Alliance and another league from England. This was to create a European division and North American division. The league changed its name to the World Indoor Soccer League to reflect this merger.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions, the merger never actually happened.
A soccer league that spanned the globe would have been an amazing thing. But unfortunately, it was never meant to be.
Despite the setback, the WISL kept running and grew to nine teams. Eight based out of US cities, and one team from Mexico.
The league existed from 1998 and continued for four seasons, but because of the failure to grow the league and merge it with a European division, the league folded in 2001. Several of the teams decided to abandon ship to a newly organized indoor soccer league, the Major Indoor Soccer League. The MISL itself would operate from 2001 to 2008, when all the teams went on to several other newer indoor leagues.
It’s obvious that professional indoor soccer has had a bit of a rocky start. In North America alone, over a dozen different leagues came and went since the sport’s inception.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a popular sport though. The fact that players, teams, and facilities kept creating new leagues showed die-hard support for the game. Presently there are three active leagues: Major Arena Soccer League, Premier Arena Soccer League, and the Western Indoor Soccer League.
We’ve seen first-hand just how popular of a sport indoor soccer has become in North America. Every year we create more soccer domes across Canada and the US. If you’d like to learn more about indoor soccer and what it takes to have a dome for your team or community, get in touch with us today!
Do you love soccer or do you know someone who loves soccer? If this is the case, why not put some soccer-related toys and other items on your wish list this holiday season? You can use the gifts to play with loved ones, train to improve your own skills, and simply see smiles all around this season.
Below is a list detailing some of the ideas for soccer toys and related items you can ask for this season:
SKLZ Star Kick Solo Soccer Trainer
Sometimes when you want to practice your skills, you may not have a game or a soccer practice coming up. So what are you to do? With a toy such as the SKLZ Star Kick Solo Soccer Trainer, there is still a way to keep your skills up.
All you need is to add your own soccer ball and you are good to go! This toy helps you practice your kicks and endurance, while ensuring you do not lose your soccer ball.
Sports Bag or Backpack
If you love soccer, you will have soccer cleats, perhaps your own soccer ball, and lots of other gear to help you be prepared for soccer practice and your games. But is there somewhere to put it all when you have to carry it around with you? There are many soccer bags and backpacks out there to choose from. If you are certain of your tastes or needs, you can do the research beforehand. If not, you may also leave it in the hands of the potential gift-giver.
Though bags and backpacks are not toys, they will still fuel your passion for soccer and make everything easier for you.
Quick Set up Soccer Net
What happens if you want to play a game of soccer in your backyard, but do not have the same soccer nets as the regular fields? While you may not be able to get the full-size official nets, putting a quick set-up soccer net, like this one, on your wish list can still do the trick. The set-up is a snap and provides an excellent way to practice your goal-scoring abilities.
Soccer Training Ball
Of course, no list of soccer toys to add to your holiday wish list would be complete without soccer balls. You can, of course, ask for the same kind of soccer ball you would normally use in a game or practice. However, consider a training ball that will boost your practice drill up another level. While they are likely to come in the standard soccer ball size, many of the training balls can transition to different surfaces (indoors and outdoors) providing a wider range of opportunities for practice.
Soccer Set For Young Ones
Does your young one show any interest in soccer? Perhaps a soccer set designed for them would make a nice addition to the presents they receive over the holiday season or on their birthday? Many soccer sets for young children, such as this one from Little Tikes, offer an adjustable net as well as a soccer ball. Your young one can now run around kicking the ball and attempt to score in a small net of his or her own!
Do you need new cleats? What about shin pads? Maybe the soccer ball you use for practicing is worn out. Despite the fact that these are not toys, if you love soccer, they are essential for keeping your skills at a high level. Don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for these basic but essential gifts over the holiday season!
The Farley Group are a bunch of die-hard Toronto FC fans so it was a huge deal to see that our team had made it into the finals of the MLS Cup. While the team is still young to the bourgeoning soccer league, after nine years the TFC found a good deal of success in 2016. Despite a tough loss in the playoffs, the team should be proud of all that they’ve accomplished this season.
Today we’ll recap Toronto FC’s journey to this year, their end of season performance and the nail-biting playoff final match.
It’s been a difficult road for TFC.
For the club’s first season in 2007, TFC quickly make a presence in the league. Not because they did well—they didn’t, and finished the season at the bottom of the rankings—but because of the massive fan support. Toronto loves its sport teams, and Toronto FC would be no exception.
Despite a strong fan-base, the early days didn’t see much success for the team as they struggled to move up in the league and never managed to secure a position in the playoffs. They’re 2012 season ended on a dreadful note as the team went on a losing streak of 14 games to close out the season in dead last. Luckily, this would be the team’s low point.
The 2013 and 2014 seasons saw plenty of change up for the team as they attempted to figure out what would work best. Notably, the team signed Jermain Defoe, an English player of international acclaim. His fee of 6 million GBP would make him the highest paid player in the MLS. While his addition helped a little, the team still failed to make it into the playoffs. That would mark eight consecutive seasons of failing to reach the playoffs.
But this year the team finally found its footing.
A strong end to the season saw the team having lost only two games out of 15. After a few tough games, TFC managed to secure a place in the playoffs.
The next series of games went in favour of TFC and to Toronto’s surprise, the team secured a spot in the MLS Cup final and would face the Seattle Sounders.
The final match took place December 10th and by all appearances, it was Toronto FC’s match. The game itself went scoreless as the two teams battled back and forth. Toronto’s attacks were stronger, but the Sounder’s defence was too tough to crack.
After 108 minutes of play, Toronto had a devastating chance to take the Cup, but the Sounder’s goalkeeper made a miraculous save. By the end of 120 minutes, Toronto had made 19 goal attempts while Seattle had a measly three shots that missed the target. By all accounts, Toronto were the better team.
Unfortunately, as per the rules, after 120 minutes the game went into penalty kicks. Toronto missed two shots and Seattle were able to sneak off with the cup. A tough way to lose for Toronto FC.
On the bright side though, TFC dominated in their performance, which sheds some positivity towards next year’s chances. Perhaps training under a Farley soccer dome is starting to pay off for the young, but impressive team. Best of luck next year, TFC! The Farley Group will be rooting for a repeat performance.
What You Might have Missed This Year In the World of Soccer
This past year has certainly been another whirlwind of a year in the soccer world. As huge fans of soccer ourselves, we’ve kept a close eye on the sport, and not just when it’s being played inside one of our soccer bubbles. If you’ve been outside of the soccer news for 2016, here are some of the top news stories.
Blind Soccer Gains Traction in Ontario
At the beginning of 2016, a second-year global studies student—Hillary Scanlon—at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, was diagnosed with Nystagmus. This is a rare condition involving rapid and involuntary eye movements, affecting the sufferer’s vision. The first thing on Scanlon’s mind? How she was going to continue to play soccer.
Luckily for Scanlon, 2016 brought new traction to blind soccer in Ontario. Until quite recently, in fact, blind soccer did not really exist in Ontario, though Canada participated in all others sports at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.
The Ontario Soccer Association has been working in partnership with the Ontario Blind Sport Association to develop an environment for soccer for the visually impaired. At present, they have been able to deliver on this to approximately 300 participants in Windsor, Sudbury, Ottawa, Scarborough, Whitby, and even in Kitchener with the Kitchener Soccer Club, where Hillary Scanlon is now playing. She will be on Ontario’s very first blind soccer team, with the ultimate hope of playing in the Paralympics.
Brazilian Soccer Tragically Lost in Fatal Plane Crash
At the end of November, Brazil experienced a devastating tragedy when the plane carrying the Chapecoense soccer team crashed south of Medellin in Colombia. They were on their way to the first portion of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.
Since the tragedy, which killed 71 people leaving only 6 alive—including 3 members of the soccer team—the Chapecoense team was awarded the Copa Sudamericana championship trophy just a week after the crash, with sports values in mind.
One of the players who survived, Alan Ruschel, is on the road to recovery. He took his first steps since the crash at the Somer Clinic in Colombia, and will be returning to Brazil as soon as he is able.
Players’ Association for Women’s Soccer in Canada
Some members of Canada’s national women’s soccer team voted at the beginning of December to form a players’ association. This will be a first for the sport within Canada. The ultimate purpose of this players’ association is to protect as well as promote the rights of female players in Canada. It will work by addressing conversations about compensation and playing conditions, among other issues.
In a statement, the Team Canada captain, Christine Sinclair, said that the creation of this players’ association is “the culmination of years of work by the nucleus of the current team” who have been seeking to create a better system to protect the rights of female soccer players in Canada.
UEFA Euro 2016
This year, France was the host of the 15th UEFA European Championship. The final was a face-off between France’s team—two-time winners of the championship—and Portugal. Portugal came out on top with a score of 1-0. Another notable event during the championship was the awarding of the UEFA Euro 2016 Player of the Tournament. The award went to France’s forward, Antoine Griezmann, just ahead of France’s European qualifier against Bulgaria.
This year saw its share of ups and downs in the world of soccer, but hopefully 2017 will be a strong one for the sport. While the World Cup is still another year away, many qualifying matches will be taking place over 2017. So keep an eye out for your favourite teams and players, and don’t forget to enjoy the game yourself in one of our many soccer air domes.
Professional Athletes and Teams That Train In Air Domes
Air bubble sport facilities are a great option for everybody because of the relative ease of construction and lower costs, but it shouldn’t be surprising that even top tier athletes train under bubbles. After all, air domes create a perfect environment for indoor training. When it comes to training, air domes just make sense.
Over the years, The Farley Group has helped create structures that are not only used by weekend athletes and young future stars, but professional players as well. Here are a few of the professional teams and athletes that train and perfect their skills underneath Farley air domes.
The Toronto FC
Did you know that Toronto’s Major League Soccer team practices in a bubble? During the winter, the Kia TFC training academy at Downsview Park doesn’t close up and force the players away from home. They bring the indoor facility to the training ground.
The Toronto FC players need somewhere to continue training when the weather starts to get hairy, so a Farley Group dome is inflated over the training field each fall to keep the players warm and dry.
This year the TFC have done particularly well. The team are now preparing for the Eastern Conference final against the Montreal Impact. Hopefully, all the dome training will pay off and bring the team victory!
The world of tennis is full of super stars but one of Canada’s top tennis talents is Daniel Nestor. We’ve mentioned the Daniel Nestor Tennis Centre before when we wrote about the Davis Cup.
If you’re not familiar with his career, Daniel Nestor has had a long and impressive career. As one of the foremost doubles players in tennis history, the Toronto, Ontario player has 91 men’s doubles titles making him the third most successful doubles champion of all time.
The tennis centre named after Daniel is an air supported bubble covering six HarTru clay courts. The Centre focuses on game development for players of all ages and while Daniel himself trains around the world, he does stop in for visits to play and impart his knowledge to young tennis up and comers.
Chicago Fire Soccer Club
There must be something to this idea of soccer in domes. Another MLS team to recently adopt an air dome for their training space is the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club, named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, quickly set the League ablaze with their appearance. In their first season as part of the league, the Fire won the MLS Cup and the US Open Cup.
While the team have faced stiffer challenge as the League grew and matured, the team are continually striving for improvement. One of the strategies for continual improvement is the betterment of the team’s training facility, the PrivateBank Fire Pitch. As of the winter of 2015, the facility includes a 100,000 square foot Farley air dome.
As you can see, it’s not just youngsters and amateur athletes training in domes, it goes all the way up to the pros! For sports and indoor training facilities, a dome just makes sense, regardless of skill level.
Soccer Ball Science: How are Soccer Balls Like Air Domes?
When we explored the history of the soccer ball, it became obvious that a lot of thought went into creating the modern soccer ball. If you look at a soccer ball today and compare it to one from 50 years ago, a lot has changed.
Much of this change is a result of better technology, stronger and lighter materials, and new manufacturing methods.
Like air domes, soccer balls might be more complicated than you realize.
Manufacturing and inflating of air domes for indoor soccer pitches has sparked our curiosity, so here are a few facts about soccer balls you might not have known.
New Soccer Ball Design
The traditional design of soccer balls used pentagons and hexagons, but soccer ball science has been pushing forward the design. The older design helped maintain a round shape for a ball that experiences heavy punishment, and the alternating pattern made it easier for players to read the spin and anticipate the movement of the ball. But there’s always room for improvement.
Newer ball designs such as the Cafusa (made up of 32 panels), Teamgeist 2 (14 panels), and Jabulani (8 panels) have been introduced. The ball used for the most recent World Cup was an Adidas designed ball, called the Brazuca. This ball further developed into the one used at the Euro 2016.
The most recent ball is called the Beau Jeu (French for the beautiful game). The Beau Jeu ball has the same panel design of the Brazuca—six ‘X’ shaped panels. According to Adidas, the six-panel construction creates perfect roundedness and helps ball flight.
If you think that the ball design doesn’t make too much difference, you might be surprised by a the results of a recent study from Nature. Researchers measured the drag forces of several modern soccer ball designs—including the Brazuca design—and found the design actually did affect ball aerodynamics.
Using a wind tunnel and an actual soccer ball-kicking robot, the scientists found the Brazuca ball performed favourably in their tests for drag and consistency in air movement.
Of course, the new design looks cool too!
Soccer Ball Materials
In our earlier soccer ball blog article, we mentioned that soccer balls used to be made from animal sources. While those materials were the best to use at the time, it was hard to maintain consistency. No two pieces of leather are ever the same.
Not surprisingly, soccer ball engineers moved on to synthetic materials that could imitate leather, while maintaining consistency for the ball surface. The Beau Jeu ball is made up a synthetic, leather-like material designed to maintain its shape, feel and weight, and avoid picking up water from rainy pitches.
The Beau Jeu also has no weak points at the seams—they are all thermally bonded. Not unlike the dielectric welding process The Farley Group uses to seal dome material together.
If you haven’t noticed yet, there are a lot of similarities to soccer balls and the air domes in which they are used. Yes, both are inflated with air, but this article should draw more parallels than that. Design and materials are key considerations for modern air supported structure. Air dome shapes maximize strength while resisting wind forces. The newest dome materials are resilient and durable to extend the life of an air structure.
Soccer ball designers and air dome designers have a lot more in common than a love for Soccer!