Soccer, but make it socially distanced.

By Cailey Rizzo
July 13, 2020

Nothing can stop Argentinians from playing soccer. Not even mandatory social distancing rules.

In order to continue playing their beloved sport, soccer fans in the city of Pergamino have invented a “human foosball” version of the game that eliminates any close contact.

“It’s intended for two teams of five players who can run around maintaining distance and without the possibility of touching,” Gustavo Cuiffo, a creator of the project, told Reuters. “Limits are set by the rectangles each team occupies.”

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The game is known as “metegol humano” and is bringing locals back out to the soccer fields for the first time in months.

"Now I feel free and happy, getting together again with friends and playing soccer," Martín Rodríguez, a defender from Vende Humo FC, told the Buenos Aires Times. "If it were up to me, I would do this from Monday to Monday."

Lines on the grass divide the field into individual sections that each player is limited to. They are put in fixed positions like goalie, defender, midfielder or forward and can dribble inside their own areas or pass the ball between rectangles. The new style of playing is prioritizing new techniques over traditional soccer forcing players to focus on shooting accuracy, not speed dribbling.

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The new game is perfect for Argentina’s COVID-19 guidelines, which allow outdoor games of up to 10 people, retaining national spirit in a time of crisis.

Argentina has reported more than 100,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and about 1,845 deaths linked to the virus. While restrictions in much of the country have eased, the capital of Buenos Aires went back into lockdown on July 1 when a second wave of the virus had cases increasing, The Buenos Aires Times also reported. Only essential services and some industrial zones will be operational until July 17.