By: Skye Strasman
Goals Sheffield is one of the most popular five-a-side venues in the city.
They have over three hundred teams playing at their venue per week, which is situated at 95 Norfolk Park Road Sheffield.
Goals Soccer Centre, which has been running for eight years hosts organised football matches and tournaments for a variety of five-a-side leagues, including a student league, business league, main league and under 18s league.
To join Goals, it would cost students a registration fee of £10 and £30 for the team to play each game, those in the main league would have to pay a £20 registration fee each season, arguably a fairly expensive way to play football.
In Speaking to Try Sheffield, General Manager Gaynor Wand, who has worked for Goals for eight years, admitted that Goals is not the cheapest venue for people to come and play football at, though she insists that they provide a good service.
She said: “We know how to run our leagues, we always make sure our games go ahead, we’ve got referees there and we have the organisation to make sure people can come, have a game and go without any hassle, that’s what we’re providing, what we’re good at.”
“We have more teams playing here than anywhere else”
Gaynor added that, those teams who do pay to play for a certain week are entitled to free training on the weekend following. Goals also runs incentives which benefit teams who have a high turnout, i.e. attend every scheduled game, or do well in the tournaments. This can include a £20 drinks voucher for a bar inside the venue, trophies, medals or even sporting equipment.
Signing up to goals as a student can be very easy, for example Goals enthusiast, Greg Able signed up to Goals after hearing about it from a representative at the Hallam Union Sports Fair. Within a few weeks they called him back, telling him there was a slot available on Wednesdays.
From there he set up the Vicky Halls Legends, with friends from his first year accommodation and carried on playing there for the following two years. Greg said he loves playing with them: “It’s a great chance to see my mates every week, and there’s nothing like it; the adrenaline of it, gaining some fitness and having a good time”.
Like in any grassroots football league, Goals is no stranger to bad behaviour such as fighting, foul play, and bad language.
Fred Hague, Head Referee for Goals Soccer Center said: “Two Christmases ago, two players were running down the pitch to get a shot at the ball, one just punched the other lad, and by the time he’d hit the floor he hit him three times”.
Goals are affiliated with the Sheffield and Hallamshire Football Association, which allows them to stamp out extreme bad behaviour such as assault from certain players. Bad behaviour is either dealt with in house, or if the behaviour is extreme enough, the perpetrator will be sent to the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA, where fines or even life time bans from organised football clubs altogether can be imposed. Gaynor said: “it’s something that’s taken absolutely seriously”.
She added: “It’s difficult for referees you know, I think it takes a certain type of person to be a referee, most jobs, you don’t go to having to deal with people in your face. I don’t think the national game, the stuff that’s on the telly helps local referees, when guys see it on telly and think that they can behave like that here and it’s not the case.”
Fred said it was something which would never stop happening in football, and it’s up to the refs to deal with it when it happens.
To become a referee at Goals, applicants need to complete a small sided course to qualify; this involves three days of training, and an exam at the end the end of the third day.
Fred said: “we prefer our refs to take the course, so we can say to our customers; all of our referees are small sided qualified.”
Those who play in five a side football should be aware that it carries a set of rules which are different to the normal game. For example, where slide tackling is normally a widely adopted tactic in general football, it is a foul to slide tackle in a five a side game. There is also a head high rule, which disallows players from kicking the ball over 8ft.
All in all its a fun game, as proved by the amount of teams that are playing each week