Maryland State Youth Soccer recommends use of these guidelines regarding the installation, use, and storage of soccer goals by all of its members. As advocates for the healthy development of children, we need to be concerned with soccer goal post safety. MSYSA urges all of its organizations to review their policies and procedures and to implement and enforce a program of goal post safety.
We urge you all to have a soccer goal safety strategy in place, with good reason. From 1998-2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received reports of at least eight deaths and an estimated 2,000 emergency room visits by children under 16 years of age that were related to soccer goal tip-overs and structural failures.
As we progress further into the new soccer season, please remind your coaches and referees to inspect, BEFORE EVERY PRACTICE, TRAINING ACTIVITY, AND GAME:
(1) All goal posts and nets for safety, that they are properly anchored and secured.
(2) The field and areas around the field that are being used.
While these guidelines should be effective in reducing the risk of goal-related injuries, they should not be construed as the only methods for minimizing injuries associated with soccer goals.
Injuries and Deaths
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), most soccer goal post related deaths and injuries involved either unsecured or homemade goals. Injuries frequently occurred during horseplay such as climbing on the goal or attempting to do chin-ups, thereby tipping the goal over. All goals, whether homemade or manufactured, should be properly secured to the ground to avoid injuries or deaths associated with tip-over.
There are several different ways to properly anchor soccer goals. The number and type of anchors used will depend on factors such as soil type and goal weight. Anchor types include:
- Auger-style anchors that are screwed into the ground.
- Semi-permanent anchors, which require a permanently secured base buried underground with tethers or bolts to secure the goal.
- Peg, stake or j-hook style anchors that are driven into the ground.
Sandbags or counterweights for indoor facilities.
The CPSC reports that most accidents occurred when the goal was unattended. When goals are not being used, always take appropriate steps to secure goals such as:
- Place the goal frames face to face and secure them at each goalpost with a lock and chain.
- Lock and chain to suitable fixed structure such as a permanent fence.
- Lock unused portable goals in a secured storage room after each use.
- Fully disassemble the goals for seasonal storage.
- Remove the net.
- Securely anchor or counter-weight portable goals at all times.
- Store movable soccer goals in a place where children can not access them.
- Never permit anyone to climb on the net or goal framework.
- Remove nets when goals are not in use.
- Check all connecting hardware before every use and replace damaged or missing anchors immediately.
- Ensure safety/warning labels are clearly visible.
- Fully disassemble goals for seasonal storage.
- Always exercise extreme caution when moving goals and allow adequate manpower to move goals of varied sizes and weights. Movable soccer goals should only be moved by authorized adults.
- Movable soccer goals should only be used on level (flat) fields.
- Instruct players to avoid unsafe use of goals.
Consumer Product Safety Commission - Guidelines for Movable Soccer Goal Safety
Additional resources are available at Anchored for Safety and through KwikGoal.
Some manufacturers, such as our partner Bownet, have designed goals around minimizing risk of injury through using lightweight materials that have give.