Archive for July, 2011

In response to recent soccer goal accidents and deaths several states have initiated new laws that further mandate or encourage the following of the recommendations of CPSC that were put in place in 1999.  In Arkansas the law requires that all soccer goals on public and school fields be anchored to the ground. Illinois and Wisconsin have also passed similar laws in their states to help solve this long term soccer industry atrocity. We hope that these new laws (which carries a $500 fine in one state) will have some impact on the industry and prevent accidental tip overs and eliminate any and all injuries and deaths. We have hope but reality may get in the way.

Europe, of course, has been far ahead of the US in everything involving soccer. In truth, most soccer or football goals in Europe are permanently installed in the ground and the football fields are used only for soccer and usually owned by the local soccer clubs and not associated with the schools. Many years ago European laws mandated that portable goals that are free standing must be weighted in such a way that each goal must resist a tip-over when 500 lbs of horizontal force is applied to the crossbar of the goal. In addition, the law requires that the goal must also resist an equal downward force from the crossbar and not tip over.  Soccer managers who fail to adhere to these mandates, with a resulting accident, face serious prison time.

In truth, accidental tip overs are not subject to, nor will the results be influenced by any federal recommendation or state law. Like it or not, accidental soccer goal accidents are caused by very lightweight goals that can blow over in the wind or very heavyweight goals that are unbalanced and will tip over with or without ground stakes. This is about physics and not legislation. Taking a page from the European playbook – soccer goals can be made perfectly safe by weighting the rear of each goal with the appropriate weight as determined by a simple physics formula that calculates the weight of the goal, the set back of the rear weight, and the appropriate weight assigned to each roller. Following the laws of physics, SafeSoccer Goals offers superb safety and yet is easily and safely moved by lifting the front of the goal.

Another tragic soccer goal death was reported in Bentonville,  AR in January 2011 when 9 -year-old Jonathan Nelson died when a portable soccer goal fell on him at the Elm Tree Elementary School. The fourth grader was playing with other school children when the unanchored goal tipped over. Officials were uncertain about how the accident occurred.

Earlier, in January 2007,  Corey Hawk, then an 18 year old soccer player died when he was attempting to adjust the net on a goal at a city park in Lake Wales, FL. City officials reported that they had moved the goals to allow new grass to grow in the worn goal mouth area. The city reported using permanent anchors but had moved the goals to implement their maintenance program. In addition, the city said that this was an ongoing problem with people moving the goals. “Padlocking the goals to the anchors didn’t work, reported CJ Torrance, City Manager. People would simply unscrew the anchors to move the goals. The staff is trying to figure out a way to permanently keep them on the ground.”

Speaking of ground anchors, Gary Mysorski, Recreation Director in Port Aransas, TX recently opined that their barrier island soil was all sand and that anchors and stakes are totally ineffective and needs to find a more realistic and effective anchoring system that insures the safety of the soccer players and allows the staff to easily and safely move their portable goals. And, of course the same could be said for goals that are used on artificial turf surfaces which are more and more common at all levels of play. There is really only one way to guarantee the safety of players and staff members – anchor the rear of the goal with sand filled polyethylene rollers that provide ballast and allow the goal to be easily and safely moved.