Goal post safety has been a focus of youth soccer risk management for many years. Since 1979, nearly 40 young people have died from soccer goal accidents. Wrongful death lawsuits resulting from unanchored goals have resulted in multimillion dollar settlements. Consumer warnings are now included with goal, and governing bodies have created inspection policies. But are they enforced?
In a recent Massachusetts investigation, a Boston television news team inspected soccer goals in nine communities. In six of the communities they found unanchored goals. In many cases, sandbags were laying next to or near the goals, but not being used to anchor them. During the visits, the news team saw a child swinging from the crossbar of an unanchored goal! (Read the full story here.)
If you were to inspect your fields today, what would the results show? Annual goal post inspections may be a mandated procedure, but club’s should have policies developed for more regular inspection, and procedures to follow anytime a goal is moved. Lightweight training goals should be the preferred “mobile” goal, with the heavier goals left only for game use and securely anchored.