Bubble soccer benefits childrens activities

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COLUMBIA — The Bubble Soccer Tournament Saturday is fundraising to help Columbia’s children participate in extracurricular activities.

"I know how important it is for kids to be able to participate in extracurricular activities, it gives them something to do, something to strive for," participant Dan Pearce said.

During bubble soccer, players wear a plastic bubble that covers their head to their thighs, leaving most of their legs and feet free to run and kick the ball.

Day Dreams Foundation President Joe Bradley said he wants people to come out and have a good time and learn more about the foundation.

“The thing I’m looking forward to the most is one, raising a lot of money for the foundation, that’s the most important thing,” Bradley said. “But, secondly bubble soccer is just, even if you can’t play, it’s one of the most fun things to watch. As soon as that first game starts and you see them set the ball down in the middle, and three on three people just running full force at each other and go flying, it’s a pretty entertaining time.”

Participant Elise Henn said it is cool that the foundation provides opportunities to so many kids. 

She said this is her first time playing bubble soccer.

"I'm most looking forward to watching other people and the knocking into each other and falling down," Henn said.  

The host of the event, the Day Dreams Foundation, provides scholarships that pay for the fees associated with extracurricular activities.

Children who qualify for free or reduced lunch at Columbia Public Schools can apply for scholarships from the Foundation.

Day Dreams Foundation Vice President Mark Kirchhoff said it’s important for kids to have opportunities to branch out and try new things.

“We make available up to $500 a year for scholarships for extracurriculars, and that can include, we’ve funded everything from football to basketball to ballet, swimming lessons, robotics clubs, things like that so it really runs, really what the youth enjoys doing,” Kirchhoff said.

The minimum cost to participate was $30 per player, and there were prizes for the winning teams and the top fundraisers.

Teams were guaranteed at least three games, and players received t-shirts, lunch and drinks.

Check-in started at 9 a.m. and games kicked off at 10 a.m. at the Missouri Athletic Center.

Bradley said so far the foundation has awarded more than $25,000 and 108 scholarships.

Players must be at least 18 years old to participate.