Emily Earl/ Contributing Photographer Students participate in a game of bubble soccer in the West Gym on Thursday evening. The sport was introduced this year as the latest intramural sport following its popularity at Rec Fest.

Bubble Soccer bounced into the spotlight as Binghamton University’s newest intramural sport on Tuesday.

In this game, each player enters a plastic bubble which covers everything but his/her legs. Both teams start on opposite sides of the gym and run towards each other on the ref’s whistle in an attempt to kick a soccer ball into their opponent’s goal.

Upon arriving at the West Gym for a Thursday night encounter, teams named United FC and the Brewskis strapped themselves into the bubbles and prepared for battle.

“The name got me excited, I’ve played soccer since I was a kid so I was excited to try another type of soccer,” said Leshatho Moshakga, a graduate student studying geography and player for the United FC.

Students poured into the West Gym on Thursday to watch their friends play and see what Bubble Soccer was all about.

As the competitors fought to a 0-0 tie, John Shadwick, an undeclared sophomore on the Brewskis, said there were other things other than scoring on his mind.

“You forget you’re even playing soccer, everyone’s just running around with big bubbles on them,” he said.

Bumping into teammates took place of the traditional celebratory high five.

“It’s like bumper cars,” said Evan Rubin, a junior majoring in biology. “Except with people in bubbles.”

But according to some, the falling was the best and only part of the game.

“It’s hard to do everything, all you can do is really hit your opponents,” Moshakga said. “It’s hard to kick, harder than regular soccer but it’s fun to see everyone knocked down.”

Dona Tungyuz, a graduate student studying computer science, said that the bubbles posed difficulties beyond mobility.

“It was so hot inside. I feel like I’ve already lost two pounds,” said Tungyuz, a player for United FC.

Intramural coordinator Ben Wagner got the idea to introduce Bubble Soccer as an intramural sport here at Binghamton after seeing videos of it online and speaking to a friend at another university. After bouncing the idea around for a while, Wagner decided to debut Bubble Soccer at Rec Fest.

“It was a huge hit,” Wagner said. “After we opened registration for Bubble Soccer leagues all three leagues filled within 24 hours.”

The Bubble Soccer league attracted both students of all ages and genders, some of whom have been playing soccer for years and some who have never played at all. According to Wagner, there are already 24 teams registered for the league and 12 on the waiting list. Each team has anywhere from five to eight players.

“Bubble Soccer’s a lot of fun, it’s nothing like I was expecting but it was a good time,” said Emily Paye, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies and playing for the Brewskis. “It’s a competitive game for some, but the best part is running into your friends and making them topple over.”

“I think it’s a cool game to bring everyone together,” said Catherine Holden, a sophomore majoring in nursing. “It’s fun to watch my friends make a fool out of themselves and push each other around.”