Please read our "about us" before answering any questions. Q1: Who, what, and how *exactly* caused you to first find out about this group? (If someone asked you to join, give names.)
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Some players need rides. Roughly, where do you live? Where did you grow up?
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Once in a while we meet after soccer. Do you have a nearby restaurant you like? What's your favorite food?
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What else do you do for work and/or play?
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So far, we’re unique. The foam balls sold in stores are too small for real soccer. But things could change. Excluding us, do you know of any other games, past or present, with adults using a foam ball (kid’s or full size) for soccer?
This is the safer soccer subgroup of the regular Washington, DC Pick-up Soccer group. This subgroup is used to communicate about the safer soccer foam ball games. All members subscribed to organizer messages will receive a weekly email from an organizer (usually Jason Taylor) about safer soccer. However, anyone is welcome to view the past three of seven years of emails archived here.
All games in this subgroup use a special full-sized very soft foam ball. We play in Silver Spring, Maryland, north of the beltway by about 5 minutes. We have slots for more players, so feel free to apply to join us. However, we are picky! To date, only about ~35% of applicants have been accepted! No soccer experience is required, but do not join if you are injured.
COSTS: We charge $20/year for men, and $10/year for women, which comes to 38 or 16 cents per game if you do all five things listed below. This isn't much (indoor games are around $10/game!!!), but it's enough to keep out most of the riff raff. Meetup uses trial memberships, but we normally won't let you actually play (or even keep your RSVP) until you pay electronically. If you just want to play once, you can hit the "chip in" button at meetup.com/dcsoccer and rsvp there, where all games are also listed, since that is cheaper in that case. You can save a lot by paying here, but only if you want to enjoy exercising/playing every week.
Our foam ball is different. It is harder to dribble in hot weather. Also, it doesn't feel the same as a 5. If you are an older soccer player, it takes a game to get used to. (We once played against a very good soccer team. We beat them partly because they were not used to our foam ball. ) So, why do we use this ball? One reason is to prevent pain, but a more important reason is because of a link between non-concussive heading and growth of a protein called tau. Tau probably strengthens brain tissue, which is good, and probably why this occurs, but in doing so there is probably a permanent loss of mental ability. If you'd like to know more about this, you can read here:
If you say "OK, good to know. No problem, I just won't head," realize that your reaction time is ~215 ms but it takes only ~60 ms for a ball to hit you. So all soccer players get hit in the head by the ball occasionally. For reasons we can't discuss here, be skeptical of what you read about this topic. (Heck, be skeptical of everything!) But for similar reasons, you are either for our group, or you are against our group (and, by default, for the majority/status quo).
Things you can do to help our group: (1) upload a picture so we can call you by your name instead of by "yellow shoes," (2) use your real first and last names, (3) rsvp for any games you might want to attend, (4) also rsvp at http://meetup.com/dcsoccer (where the safer soccer games are again listed among traditional games), and (5) be worthy of being passed to the entire game. If you want more privacy or can't do those 5 things, that's perfectly 100% OK, but your annual fee will be an extra $5/item not completed. You can pay the extra by clicking the "chip in" button either here or at the parent dcsoccer group.
Payment example: you have a picture of a flower for your group-specific picture (you can change it just for this group) and a fake alias instead of your actual first and last name. You'll need to pay $20+2x$5+=$30 to get in. You could pay upon joining, but if you didn't, and your application is still pending, on the lower right of meetup.com/safersoccer you will see a red "pay dues" button you can use to pay the $20. Then go to dcsoccer to pay the $10.
We ref throw ins, corner kicks, kick offs, fouls, yellow cards, etc. We do not allow any player to use their hands for strategic purposes (like a goalie), but some handballs may be legal and desirable, especially if the intent was to protect your face or body from the ball. "Intense fouls", even if "unintentional", especially those "face kicks" resulting in a player's head getting a non-soft hit by anything award 1/2 point to the innocent team, even if it was a same-team foul. Note that this yields counter-intuitive play: the fouling ("guilty") team kicks off on the kickoff line after such a foul because the "innocent" team just scored. If you spot a call, like an out of bounds or a foul, calling it also helps the group, and makes it easier for the ref so long as you wait for her to back your initial call.
Next point wins: to make the game fun all the way to the end, if one team is “senior” by 2 or more points when there are 10 minutes left, the “next point wins” rule may begin in which:
If someone scores, their team wins.
If nobody scores, the senior team wins.
If you are on the senior team you may wish to play keep away to run out the clock. The captain of the senior team can contest “next point wins” by trying to pick two coin tosses in a row correctly. If they get both correct (25% chance), the game is played out normally.
P.S. I respond to all communications made using meetup.com within 48 hours, including applications; if you messaged me for any reason and I didn't respond, I didn't actually get your meetup.com message.