Is Foosball Still Alive?

As we are firmly in the winter season and forced to stay indoors, people often look for games to play while being confined indoors. One of the games I have always loved is foosball.

So what exactly is foosball?

Foosball is also known as table soccer. It is a table top version of soccer which is played with rods with attached players to move a ball to score goals on opponents. The origin of the game goes back to the late 1890s in England.

I was first introduced to the game of foosball in 1983-84 while stationed at Thule Air Base in Greenland. Obviously there were many opportunities to do anything outside in sub-zero temperatures so entertainment had to be found inside. In the dayroom on my floor of the barracks was a foosball table. My co-worker invited me to play and he was good. He beat me in every game until I got better and eventually began to beat him. Since then I have always been drawn to a foosball table.

Foosball tables can often be found in bars, pubs, workplaces, schools and recreational centers. Each team of one or two human players controls four rows of foos men, one row each for the goalkeeper, defenders, midfield and strikers. Players manipulate the rods to control the figures, using them to hold up, pass or ‘kick’ the ball. The winner is determined when one team scores a predetermined number of goals, typically five, ten or eleven in competition. The professional players can move the ball up to 35 mph.

The International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) is the international governing organization for the sport. They have organized tournaments all over the world including a World Cup tournament. The next World Cup tournament was scheduled for June 22-27 in Nantes, France but has been postponed to 2022 due to the pandemic. Yannick Correia of Luxemburg is the current top foosball player in the world. Tony Spredeman of the United States was the top player in 2020.

ITSF Foosball World Cup 2017

There is also the United States Table Soccer Organization (USTSO) which sponsors tournaments in the United States.

You won’t get rich playing professional foosball. The average salary made playing foosball is about $74,000 a year.

Foosball grew in popularity in the 1970s with the sell of foosball tables and pretty reasonable professional tour. The game was nearly made extinct with the rise of arcade games in the 80s along with the Pacman craze. The game survived and has steadily grown more in recent years. Foosball has even made an appearance in TV shows such as Friends, 90210 as well as the movies “Longshot” and “Underdogs”.

Over the years there have been talks about forming team leagues but nothing has materialized into a legitimate professional team-based league. In researching this area of foosball I have thought that it would help the sport if Major League Soccer (MLS) would sponsor a tournament especially in cities with an MLS team.

If you don’t own a foosball table or have access to one, there are a couple of good video games that I have found. The best is Foosball World Cup game available on iTunes. Another good one is the Foosball Arcade on Oculus Go. I have played both and they are pretty responsive and very realistic in game play.

I don’t get to play foosball as much anymore and my reflexes have slowed down since I first started playing on that foosball table in Thule, Greenland but I still love the game. I hope that the sport will grow and regain its popularity from the 70s.

Dude Wants To Play Human Foosball

I love foosball. I learned to play the game when I was stationed at Thule Air Base in Greenland in the early 80s. Since then, when a foosball table was spotted, I usually ended up there playing anyone that would challenge me. My reflexes aren’t as good now and a bulged disc in my neck has virtually ended my playing days.

I still love foosball and stories about the game. So, it got my attention to see some guys in Argentina come up with a version of human foosball during the pandemic. I have seen versions of human foosball before but they have been nothing more than cheesy ripoffs of the sport but these guys came up with a way to play their game of soccer (futbol) that made sense.

You can read the story and watch a video clip here.

It is a clever way to play soccer without physical contact and risk spreading COVID-19. Could this possibly be a new normal in sports? Contactless sports?

This human foosball game features a field with zones for each player to avoid physical contact. The game, known locally as “metegol humano” divides the field into rectangular zones with while lines limiting where a player can move – helping to enforce social distancing, though limiting slide tackles or pitch-length dribbles with the ball.

This a creative version of human foosball. Other versions have players attached to poles which is a bit much and has been nothing more than an office team building event.

Human Foosball rules are very similar to the game of Foosball and do not have much in common with the soccer game. As mentioned the players are connected to rods so they can only move in one direction, instead of anywhere they like as in real soccer. The ball is served between the two teams in the middle of the pitch.

The players must then try to pass the ball to their teammates and try to score goals. The match is either played up to a certain number of goals, usually 5 or 10. Otherwise, the game can be played for a fixed amount of time, for example, 10 minutes. The team with the most goal is declared the winning team.

I think the Argentine’s have come up with a legit version of human foosball. I like it. If I were younger, I would want to play. Since there is no contact, maybe I could.

There are no plans at this time to form any professional leagues but if the pandemic lingers, there could be more of an opening for this type of sport.

Obscure Sports Report


Atlanta’s Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team won their first game on Sunday when they blasted Minnesota 6-1 in a snow flurry in front of over 35,000 fans.  Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez scored a rare hat-trick while Miguel Almiron scored twice and Jacob Peterson scored once.  Atlanta dropped a 2-1 home opener to the New York Red Bulls a week ago in front of 55,000 fans.

The New England Black Wolves (5-6) became the first team in the Eastern Division to defeat the Georgia Swarm (7-3) on Sunday in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).   Shawn Evans and Kyle Buchanan each had three goals and four assists in a 13-8 win.  It was the fourth hat trick of the season for Evans.

Tony Spredeman of the United States is at the top of the World Foosball Player rankings.   He is first in Open Combined and Open Singles rankings.  He is also second in Open Doubles.   Spredeman is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has won several World Championships.

The Baltimore Blast are looking at elimination from the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) playoffs.  They were upset by the Harrisburg Heat 5-4 on Saturday in Baltimore.  The Milwaukee Wave edged the Kansas City Comets 3-2 when Marcio Leite scored the series winner 2:26 into overtime of the mini-game to win their series 2 games to 1 and advance to the MASL semifinals.   Sonora blasted Baja 17-3 in game two on Saturday to complete their sweep of the Southwest Division final.  In the Pacific Division, the San Diego Sockers beat Ontario 9-4 in the first game of their series, Ontario evened the series with an 8-4 win to force a mini-game.  The Sockers scored nine seconds into the tie-breaker and held on to advance to the league semifinals.

The Boston Pride finished the regular season in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) with the best record at 16-1.  New York finished second at 8-7-3, Buffalo Beauts third (6-10-1) and the Connecticut Whale (5-12-1).  All four teams qualify for the Isobel Cup Playoffs which begins on Thursday and Friday.   Winners will advance to the final on Sunday, March 19th.

The DMV Warriors, based out of Woodlawn, Maryland, leads the American Basketball Association (ABA) power rankings with a record of 18-0.   The Jacksonville Giants (20-2), Orlando Waves (17-2), Austin Bats (15-1) and Mobile Bay Tornados (14-1) finish out the top five.   The league was founded in 1999 as a nationwide semi-pro basketball league.  The Jacksonville Giants are the defending league champions.

The Wichita Falls Nighthawks defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans this weekend, 42-23, to remain undefeated in the Indoor Football League (IFL).  Quarterback Charles McCullum finished the game completing 20 of 30 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.  The Nighthawks will have the week off before they face the six-time defending United Bowl Champions, Sioux Falls Storm.

In the second week of playoffs in the Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League, the stakes were huge as teams battled to advance to the quarterfinals.  Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Wesley So (St. Louis) and Fabiano Caruana (Montreal) were all in tight battles by lesser-known opponents.  Hikaru Nakamura (Miami) had one of the worst chess days of his life, scoring 1.5/4 and losing in a do-or-die final round.   In this week’s quarterfinal round:  Norway Gnomes vs. Gorky Stormbringers, Montclair Sopranos vs. Miami Champions, Marseille Migraines vs. Stockholm Snowballs and Webster Windmills vs. St. Louis Arch Bishops.

Have a sport you’d like me to write about next week?  Leave me a comment and I will post it next Wednesday.