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What we’re about

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 lighter 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 ~10 years of emails archived here.  If you are rsvping for a game, you need to be subscribed to organizer messages, since those messages may contain information about last-minute changes.

All games in this subgroup use a special full-sized very light ball. We play in Silver Spring, Maryland, north of the beltway by about 5 minutes. No soccer experience is required, but do not join if you are injured.


● Light ball. The ball we use is ~1/8th as heavy as a regulation ball.  It is the same size. It is harder to pass and dribble, especially 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 ball. ) So, why do we use this ball? It prevents pain, but the main 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: (2 minutes) minutes 1:24-1:29 (6 minutes)

To join the group you are required to read this.  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). If you don't care at all about head injuries in the sports you play, you are not welcome here.  There are about 300 other soccer games in the DC area that you should play at instead.

● Injury-based foul system**.**  The ref does not care if you were going for the ball or if it was intentional or not. If you end up injuring anyone, even your own teammate, you will get a yellow card and will have to sit out for 2 minutes. Do it a few times and expect a red card and a ban.  This way it is to your advantage to look first.  Knowing where nearby players are increases safety.  Hands are always allowed to protect yourself from anything, but not if it was for an advantage.

Next point wins. The traditional method of re-balancing lopsided teams is to have the best player on the senior team switch players with the worse player on the junior team. This is horrible for several reasons. It makes the worst player, usually a woman, feel horrible. We may as well make her wear the scarlet letter. It also means all the points the great player just got now count against him. It confuses people like me because the teams just got spaghetied up. Imagine watching the super bowl and having the quarterback switch sides at halftime. It's stupid. Indeed, there's no teams at all if the teams changed, IMO.

So what we do to make the game fun all the way to the end is different. Let's call the “senior” team that with the most point. If they have 2 or more points more than the "junior" team 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 a coin toss. If he/she gets it correct (50% chance), the game is played out normally.
All American football players new to soccer are encouraged to view this educational video before playing.

● No out of bounds. This makes it more interesting and easier to ref.

● No offsides.

● No goalies for the senior team. (The senior team is the one that is ahead in points.) This rule is used in place of an offsides rule, since it implies you cannot win by sticking some fat player who stands in front of their relatively small Pugg goal all day long.

● Goal resizing. Sometimes a strong player comes on mid-game after teams were picked by the two captains. If someone like Ronaldo joins a team and/or both captains agree to goal resizing to make the game more balanced the game will be stopped and the goal sizes altered to make it more even. This rule should be invoked quickly once an imbalance is suspected, if at all, not when it is too late or just before the 10-minute warning when next point wins can solve the problem a different way.

Jason Arthur Taylor, Organizer of Safer Soccer and Washington, DC Pick-up Soccer

P.S.  I respond to all communications made using within 48 hours, including applications; if you messaged me for any reason and I didn't respond, I didn't actually get your message.

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