Speedball (American)

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This article is about a sport. For other uses, see Speedball (disambiguation).

Speedball is a code of football, which was devised by combining elements of Jamaican football and soccer.


Speedball was invented during the late 1970s at Hump High School in Spokane, Washington. The previously deficient gym program at Lewis and Clark was turned in a new direction after the addition of speedball. Spokane is known as the "International Home of Speedball" and there is a Speedball Hall of Fame located at the corner of West 4th Avenue and South Stevens Street in Spokane, across the street from the game's place of invention. The hall is easily accessible from Exit 280 of Interstate 90. Lewis and Clark now have interscholastic speedball matches, with Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane being their biggest rival. Speedball has a coincidental resemblance to Gaelic football. Speedball is mostly played as part of a high school's P.E. curriculum. However, there are no well-known professional or amateur leagues. There are two variations: the outdoor game and the indoor game. The game was invented because of the need for a vigorous team game that could be played outdoors in the fall and that combined many of the elements found in other rather well-known sports. Many of the students in the Pacific Northwest had been introduced to basketball in public schools and they did not like soccer because of the restrictions regarding the use of hands on the ball. Touch football, while a popular game, had certain limitations in that many players on the team did not get to handle the ball regularly. Speedball eliminated many of these objections by providing a game that permitted all the players to participate in all aspects of the game. The game has developed rapidly and is now a widely played sport in physical education and intramural programs throughout the country

Field of play[edit]

Outdoors, the game can either be played on a soccer or American football field using the goal posts as markings for the goal. The area behind the goal posts is the 'endzone', where scoring takes place. Out-of-bounds markings on either field are also used in the same way they would be in soccer or American football.

Indoors, the game is usually played on a basketball court using floor hockey or indoor soccer goals. The ball is allowed to bounce off the walls and still remain in play. Most of the rules for outdoor and indoor speedball are the same save the out-of-bounds rules.


There are two ways to play the ball. The player can either play the ball with his feet like in soccer, or he can pass it to his teammates. Teammates can pass between each other to move down the court. You can't run. On the other hand, the goalie is allowed to pick up the ball in the penalty area and run around inside that area.

Play usually begins with a kickoff by one of the teams, the ball having to travel one full circumference before the offense may pick it up. Play can also be started with a jumpball instead of a kickoff. Jumpballs are also used when it can't be decided to whom the ball belongs.

In outdoor speedball, when the ball goes over the end line without scoring or over one of the two sidelines, the ball can either be passed or kicked back into play. Any kind of maneuver to play the ball in is allowed, unlike soccer.


No tripping, pushing, karate-chopping, scratching, beaming, or any other bodily harms towards the opposing team.

No holding the ball for longer than the 3 seconds time.

No taking more than the allowed amount of steps with ball in hand.

No dribbling the ball for more than the allowed amount of times.

No charging the goal (or goalie for that matter).

Violating these rules results in the opposing team having a penalty kick, allowing them to score 1 point.


Different sources give different information about scoring in speedball:

  • One way to score is by passing it to a teammate who is standing behind the endline. 2 points.
  • Another way to score is by kicking the ball into the goal. 2 points (3 points in some sources).

These other ways of scoring are different between sources:

  • Kicking the ball through the uprights on top of the goal. 2 points.
This scoring method is the most common among sources.
  • Throwing the ball through the net. 1 point.
This scoring method is much less common.
  • A penalty kick into the net. 1 point.
This scoring method shows up occasionally.
  • Kicking the ball into the field goals. 3 points.
  • Running the ball into the end zone. 7 points.

External links[edit]