Soccer Goal Safety
|According to a survey done way back in 1994, more than 12 million soccer players across the United States are under 18 years of age (obviously this number is even larger today). It is therefore important that utmost precaution and safety measures be observed on the playing field, particularly with soccer equipment, such as the goal.
A full-size soccer goal can weight as much as 500 lbs. Serious goal-related injuries involves a goal tipping over onto the victim. Just imagine the damage a 500 lb piece of metal tipping over on a small child. On a positive note, such scenarios can be prevented with proper goal safety measures.
The most important measure in keeping your goal (and players) safe, is to make sure that it is anchored properly. One of the most common myths about soccer goals,
particularly the heavier ones, is that they don't need to be anchored, because it's already too heavy to be moved easily. The fact is, ANY unanchored goal can be tipped over, often with catastrophic result. Nature is stronger than any number of man, and a heavy gust of wind can tip over an unanchored soccer goal.
How to anchor a goal
Securing your movable soccer goal properly lessens the chance of it tipping over. Remember: ALL movable soccer goals must always be anchored properly, whether in use or not. There are different ways to anchor your goal, and it depends on factors such as soil type, soils moisture and content and total goal weight.
There are different anchor types:
· Auger style - this is a helical shaped anchor, which looks like a corkscrew. A flange is positioned over the ground bar to secure them to the ground. A minimum of two auger-style anchors (one on each side of the goal) are recommended.
· Semi-permanent - this is usually comprised of two or more functional components. he main support requires a permanently secured base that is buried underground. One type of semi-permanent anchor connects the underground base to the soccer goal by means of 2 tethers. Another design utilizes a buried anchor tube with a threaded opening at ground level. The goal is positioned over the buried tube and the bolt is passed through the goal ground bar and rear ground bar and screwed into the threaded hole of the buried tube.
· Peg or stake style - typically, two to four pegs or stakes are used per goal (more for heavier goals). Pegs or stakes usually measures about 10 inches. They are driven into the ground with a sledge-hammer as far as possible at an angle if possible, through available holes in the ground bar and rear ground bar to secure them to the ground. If the peg or stake is not flush with the ground, it should be clearly visible to persons playing near the soccer goal.
· J-hook shaped stake style - when there are no pre-drilled holes into the ground bars or rear ground bar of the goal, this style of anchoring is used. They are hammered at an angle directly into the earth. The curved top portion of this anchor fits over the goal member to secure it firmly to the ground. Typically, two to four of these stakes are recommended per goal.
· Sandbags/Counterweights - these can be an effective alternative on hard surfaces, such as artifical turf or when playing indoors, where the surface can not be penetrated by a conventional anchor. The number of bags or weight needed varies and must be adequate for the size and total weight of the goal being supported.
· Net pegs - these tapered, metal stakes is only used to secure the NET to the ground, NOT the goal itself.
Anchoring styles and options may vary from goal to goal, depending on the manufacturer. Consult the manufacturer on the best way to anchor their goal.
Studies of goal-related incidents shows that almost all of the goals involved were "home-made" by high-school shop classes, custodial members or local welders. No matter how closely they try to copy the design and dimensions of professionally made goals, the quality is usually not duplicated. While it is more economical to build your own soccer goal or repair your current professionally manufactured goal yourself, it is still wise to invest on the quality you get from the professionally manufactured goals.
Other safety tips and reminders in keeping your goal (and players) safe:
· Secure anchor or counterweight movable soccer goals at all times
· Never climb on the soccer net or goal framework.
· Always instruct soccer players on the safe handling of and potential dangers associated with movable soccer goals.
· Use movable soccer goals only on level (flat) fields.
· Check all connecting hardware before every use. Replace damaged or missing fasteners immediately.
· Ensure safety labels are clearly visible.
· Remove nets when goals are not in use.
· Anchor or chain goals to nearby fence posts, dugouts, or similar sturdy fixtures when not in use.
· Fully disassemble goals for seasonal storage.