Matt Ames, who brought paintball to the Twin Cities about fifteen years ago, wants to introduce you to a new, even zanier sport: Bubble soccer.
In the game, players wear 4-foot-wide plastic bubbles that cover their heads to their knees. Once the two teams take the field, a regular game of soccer ensues—except full contact is allowed, causing players to fly across the field like pinballs. It’s also legal to touch the ball with your hands, but this is difficult to do when wrapped up like mail-order crystalware.
Ames started his new business, Knocker Squad, with Colin Mihm and Stuart Lombardo. The three friends discovered bubble soccer while vacationing in Australia (the sport originated in Norway) and wanted to bring it back to Minnesota because they share a love of novel sports (Ames is also founder of MN Pro Paintball and co-founder of Escape MSP).
All summer, groups have been playing bubble soccer outside at a field in St. Louis Park, but in the winter months Knocker Squad will move the game indoors to different Twin Cities gymnasiums.
Games are booked in groups of six bubbles for $240 or a group of 12 bubbles for $420, recommended for groups of about 10 or 20 people, respectively. Teammates will want to swap positions on and off the field every few minutes because the workout is worthy enough to replace the day’s gym session.
The extreme collisions looks dangerous, but Mihm says the bubbles “are very safe and can withstand some huge hits.” Knocker Squad launched last February, and since then, there has only been a single injury—a sprained ankle.
Meanwhile, the response has been “outrageous,” according to Mihm. A quick glance at Knocker Squad’s bookings calendar proves its growing popularity. Mihm says they host a variety of groups, including 10 year-olds’ birthday parties, sports teams, corporate events, church groups and more. Nothing says “team building” quite like pummeling into a friend or coworker while wearing a giant bubble suit.