Speedaway (pronounced speed-‘a’-way ball) is a sport with 11 players on each team that combines soccer, football, and basketball. Originally created by physical education teacher Marjorie A. Larson. Although there is no official league, Speedaway is played worldwide in physical education classes 6th–12th grades . When players are proficient in the game, indoor or outdoor there is a constant movement of the ball between the feet and the hands-on a vast pitch. Only a soccer ball is required to play the game, ensuring that anyone can pick up and play the game without the need for expensive equipment. The sport is fast, challenging and should contribute significantly to the physical fitness of any athlete.
The object of the speedaway is to move the ball from one side of the field to the other in order to score points. Active players must apply a soft touch rule to make play fair between different sizes and ages. No rough play is allowed during the gameplay.
Speedway was started in California by Marjorie Larson as a game for girls and the first rule book was published in 1950. It is a field team game and is a combination of football, basketball, and field hockey with the opportunity to run with the ball. At its peak, Speedaway has grown in popularity throughout the United States, Canada, England, and India and is now being played by both boys and girls, with thousands of school children playing the game. Speedway was developed from the need for field hockey to be a lead-up sport and for a sport that could bring joy and satisfaction to participants without spending too much time learning complex rules and specialized techniques.
The game begins with a coin toss. When a team is kicking they should be on their side of the midline, the opposing team should be on the opposite side of the midline and outside the circle. Whichever team wins the toss will start with the ball in the middle of the field. Speedaway uses a soccer ball that can be carried down the field on the ground like a football, or through the air like a football. When an offensive player has the ball and opponent tags or simply touches it, the player must immediately release the ball and give possession to the defending team. The team in possession must now kick the ball from where it was dropped. To pass the ball to a teammate, one can accordingly kick, throw or bounce passes. When the bounce passes to another teammate, the ball may hit the ground only once.
If the ball is bounced more than once, the possession team cannot pick up the ball back. When the ball is kicked or thrown out of bounds, the team that last touched the ball loses possession and the opposing team may throw or kick the ball into the field. Only the goalkeeper can pick up the ball with his hands at any time. All players except the goalkeeper must kick the ball off the ground to run with the ball or make an air pass. Each team has three time-outs that they can use during the game. Any player in possession of the ball may call a time-out if the ball is dead or if someone is injured.
The game is divided into four quarters and each quarter consists of two halves ten minutes long, making the game forty minutes. The speedaway ball is operated by two referees, each official responsible for each half of the field. His responsibilities included: stopping the game after each quarter, committing a foul, and playing out of bounds. Officials must keep the ball before kickoff and in their decision have the right to remove players who are too aggressive.
Each team has 11 players like in soccer. They are further broken down into 5 forwards, 3 midfielders, 2 defenders, and 1 goalkeeper. The job of a forward is mainly to score points, the job of a midfielder is to assist the forward and defenders. The goalkeeper’s job is to keep the goal from scoring, while the defender defends their respective side as well as assists the goalkeeper to defend the home side.
There are three different ways to score in Speedaway Ball. The first is a 3-point field goal, which occurs when a player kicks the ball two uprights from the opponent. Another way a player can score is by kicking the ball into the goal under the crossbar, which is worth 2 points. The final way to score is when a player drives the ball through the opponent’s goal line, akin to a touchdown, which costs 1 point.