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.
Soccer players are known to play through the rain, but thunder and lightning is a different story.
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.