Title:
Soccer Goal With Improved Stability
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is directed to a soccer goal having improved stability.



Inventors:
Ferrone, Christopher W. (Glenview, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/938530
Publication Date:
05/14/2009
Filing Date:
11/12/2007
Assignee:
Zachary Tran Memorial Fund (Vernon Hills, IL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BGL (P.O. BOX 10395, CHICAGO, IL, 60610, US)
Claims:
1. A soccer goal having a balance point angle greater than about 25 degrees.

2. The soccer goal of claim 1 wherein the balance point angle is greater than about 50 degrees.

3. The soccer goal of claim 1 wherein the balance point angle is greater than about 60 degrees.

4. A soccer goal having a pull-over force at a 45 degree angle to the horizontal at a mid-point of a front crossbar of greater than about 100 pounds.

5. The soccer goal of claim 4 wherein the pull-over force is greater than about 125 pounds.

6. The soccer goal of claim 5 wherein the pull-over force is greater than about 150 pounds.

7. A soccer goal having a static load as measured at a mid-point of a front crossbar at 12 inches above a level surface of less than about 60 pounds.

8. The soccer goal of claim 7 wherein the static load is less than about 50 pounds.

9. A soccer goal having improved stability comprising: first and second bottom side bars, each of the first and second bottom side bars comprising steel and having a forward section and a rearward section; first and second front uprights comprising aluminum, each of the first and second front uprights having a lower and upper section, the lower section of the first front upright connected to a forward section of the first bottom side bar and the lower section of the second front upright connected to a forward section of the second bottom side bar; a front cross bar comprising aluminum, the front crossbar connected at one end portion to an upper section of the first front upright and an opposite end portion connected to an upper section of the second front upright; and first and second rearward stability bars comprising steel, each of the first and second rearward stability bars having a forward section and a rearward section, the first rearward stability bar connected at its rearward section to a rearward section of the first bottom side bar and the forward section of the first rearward bar connected to an upper section of the first front upright, the second rearward stability bar connected at is rearward section to a rearward section of the second bottom side bar and the forward section of the second rearward bar connected to an upper section of the second front upright.

10. The soccer goal of claim 9 further having a balance point angle is greater than 25 degrees.

11. The soccer goal of claim 9 further having a pull-over force at a 45 degree angle to the horizontal at a mid-point of the front crossbar of greater than about 100 pounds.

12. The soccer goal of claim 9 further having a static load as measured at a mid-point of a front crossbar at 12 inches above a level surface of less than about 60 pounds.

13. A soccer goal having a balance point angle of greater than about 25 degrees, a pull-over force at a 45 degree angle to the horizontal at a mid-point of a front crossbar of greater than about 100 pounds, and a static load as measured at a mid-point of a front crossbar at 12 inches above a level surface of less than about 60 pounds.

14. The soccer goal of claim 13 wherein the balance point angle is greater than about 50 degrees, the pull-over force is greater than about 125 pounds and the static load is less than about 50 pounds.

15. The soccer goal of claim 14 wherein the balance point angle is greater than about 60 degrees and the pull-over force is greater than about 150 pounds.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Soccer is an international sport played by people of all ages, both in this country and elsewhere in the world. Youth and high school soccer leagues are especially prevalent in this country, involving the participation of children ranging from 5 to 18 years of age. Soccer goals are an integral part of the game. In many instances, the soccer goal is located in a public park or school. Typically, the soccer goals need to be anchored or otherwise secured so that they are not easily tipped over.

Unfortunately, too often soccer goals are not properly anchored or stabilized. Some of the reasons why the soccer goals are not properly anchored are because the anchoring stakes are missing, are not used or improperly installed because of carelessness, and/or the ground is too hard for driving the anchors into the earth. If improperly anchored or otherwise unrestrained, the soccer goals currently manufactured are not sufficiently stable and can too easily tip over. Unstable soccer goals can also tip over when they are not placed on level ground, in windy conditions, when children hang or climb on them, or any combination of these or other factors. Unfortunately, because of the manner of their construction, there have been numerous instances of soccer goals tipping over onto adults and children. Because these soccer goals are wholly constructed from heavy materials such as steel, the soccer goal can deliver a blow having substantial force resulting in serious and sometimes fatal injury to the victim. Accordingly, current soccer goals pose a dangerous risk.

Accordingly, there is a need for a soccer goal with improved stability. Such a soccer goal would be relatively stable even if not properly anchored. In addition, the soccer goal would be constructed such that, in the event the goal were to turn over, the force of the blow that the goal delivers to a person struck would be substantially less than current goals.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the soccer goal according to one aspect of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates the manner in which the soccer goal connector tube attaches the rearward stability bar to the front cross bar and a front upright of the soccer goal according to one aspect of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates the soccer goal gusset plate according to one aspect of the invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates the manner in which the soccer goal connector tube attaches the rearward stability bar to the rear cross bar and a bottom side bar according to one aspect of the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates the manner in which the static load of a soccer goal is determined.

FIG. 6 illustrates the manner in which the pull over force of a soccer goal is determined.

FIG. 7 illustrates the manner in which the balance point angle is determined.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to FIGS. 1-4, the current invention is generally directed to a portable, light weight soccer goal 2 having improved stability. The soccer goal is constructed so that heavier material (for example, steel) is placed at the base and rearward sections of the goal and the lighter weight material (for example, aluminum) is placed at the forward or front section of the goal. This design makes the front of the goal as light as possible while adding weight to the rear as a counterbalance.

The soccer goal 2 preferably comprises a forward section 4 and a rearward section 6 wherein the rearward section 6 is heavier than the forward section 4. The rearward section 6 is preferably constructed from a material that is heavier than the material for construction of the forward section 4. Preferably, the rearward section 6 is constructed from a material comprising steel and the forward section 4 is constructed from a material comprising aluminum.

More preferably, the soccer goal 2 comprises first and second bottom side bars 8 and 10, respectively. The first and second bottom side bars are preferably constructed from steel. The first bottom side bar comprises a forward section and a rearward section. The second bottom side bar 10 comprises a forward section and a rearward section. The soccer goal 2 also comprises a rear cross bar 36. The rear cross bar is also preferably constructed from steel. The soccer goal also preferably comprises first and second front uprights 12 and 14, respectively. The first and second uprights are preferably constructed from aluminum. First front upright comprises a lower section and an upper section. Second front upright comprises a lower section and an upper section. The lower section of the first front upright 12 is connected to a forward section of the first bottom side bar 8 and the lower section of the second front upright 14 is connected to a forward section of the second bottom side bar 10. The soccer goal 2 further comprises a front cross bar 16. The front cross bar 16 is preferably constructed from aluminum. The front cross bar 16 is connected at one end section to an upper section of the first front upright 12 and the other end section of cross bar 16 is connected to an upper section of the second front upright 14. The soccer goal 2 also preferably comprises first and second rearward stability bars 20 and 22, respectively. The first and second rearward stability bars 20 and 22 are preferably constructed from light gauge steel. The first rearward stability bar 20 is connected at its rearward section to a rearward section of the first bottom side bar 8. A forward section of the first rearward stability bar 20 is connected to an upper section of the first front upright 12. The second rearward stability bar 22 is connected at its rearward section to a rearward section of the second bottom side bar 10. A forward section of the second rearward bar stability bar 22 is connected to an upper section of the second front upright 14.

Preferably, the combined weight of the first and second uprights 12 and 14 and the front cross bar 16 is less than the combined weight of the first and second bottom side bars 8 and 10, first and second rearward stability bars 20 and 22 and rear cross bar 36.

The first and second front uprights, 12 and 14, and the rearward stability bars 20 and 22, are connected to the front cross bar 16 by first and second L-shaped connector tubes 30 and 32, respectively. The connector tubes are bolted to upper ends of front uprights 12 and 14, respectively. Forward ends of rearward stability bars 20 and 22 are received and bolted within female section of the L-shaped connector tubes 30 and 32. Similarly, third and fourth L-shaped connector tubes 60 and 62 are provided for connecting rearward sections of rearward stability bars 20 and 22 to first and second bottom side bars 8 and 10 and rear cross bar 36. The first, second, third and fourth connector tubes 30, 32, 60 and 62 are preferably similarly constructed from light gauge steel. With reference to the first L-shaped connector tube 30, the connector tube comprises an L-shaped section 40 and a hollow tubular section 41. The hollow tubular section 41 has openings 42 and 43 (not shown) that are aligned with openings 44 and 45 (not shown) in rearward stability bar 20. The rearward stability bar 20 is secured to the first connector tube via bolt 46. The first connector tube also has openings 47-50 for receiving bolts 51-54. Openings 47-50 are aligned with openings 55-58 in the first upright 12 and cross bar 16, respectively. The second, third and fourth connector tube 32, 60 and 62 are similarly constructed and positioned to connect second upright 14 to second rearward stability bar 22 and front cross bar 16, second bottom side bar 10 to second rearward stability bar 22 and rear cross bar 36, and first bottom side bar 8 to first rearward stability bar 20 and rear cross bar 36, respectively.

The soccer goal also preferably comprises first and second steel gusset plates 70 and 80, respectively. The first and second steel gusset plates are similarly constructed and provide for bolt thru fastening of first and second front uprights 12 and 14 to first bottom side bar 8 and second bottom side bar 10, respectively.

With reference to FIG. 3, the first gusset plate 70 comprises L-shaped piece 72 and piece 71 that are secured to front upright 12 by bots 73 and 74 through openings on plate 71, front upright 12 and L-shaped piece 72. The second gusset plate 80 is similarly constructed and bolted to second upright 14.

The use of connector tubes 30, 32, 60 and 62, and the use of gusset plates 70 and 80, allows for the secure attachment of the dissimilar materials from which the soccer goal is constructed. In addition, nylock nuts and/or tamper-proof bolts may be used in connection with the connector tube and gusset plates so that only personnel with the appropriate tool would be in a position to dissemble the soccer 10 goal. The bolt together construction aids in assembly, maintenance and seasonable disassembly of the soccer goal 2.

In an alternative embodiment, the leading edges of the first and second bottom side bars 8 and 10 are angled at 45 degrees (not shown). This design eliminates most of the “trip” that the soccer goal must experience in order to tip over when pulled on. Handles may also be incorporated into the soccer goal to facilitate carrying of the goal. The handles are preferably placed on the bottom side bars 8 and 10 so that they bias the weight of the goal rearward to minimize tip-over during transportation.

The sections of the soccer goal constructed from steel are preferably coated with Imron exterior paint. Coatings such as, for example, SIKALASTOMER 95 available from SIKA, Inc. or Quick Dry Zinc Chromate Primer zinc rich coating available from Pettit Paint are preferably used at the interface of the dissimilar materials (for example, steel and aluminum) to prevent galvanic reactions.

Another advantage of the soccer goal of the present invention is the material of construction for the front cross bar 16 and the first and second uprights 12 and 14, respectively. In the event the soccer goal of the current invention were to tip over and strike a player, the front cross bar 16 and/or the uprights 12 and 14 are the parts of the soccer goal that are likely to strike the player. Because these components of the soccer goal are preferably made from a light weight, flexible material such as aluminum, the soccer goal will absorb some of the energy of the blow and thereby reduce the risk of serious injury as compared to traditional soccer goals made completely from heavy materials such as steel.

As discussed in the examples, there are several measures of a soccer goal's stability. These are the static load, pull-over force, and the balance point angle. The static load is the load exerted at a mid-point of the front cross bar at a distance of 12 inches above a level surface. The soccer goal of the current invention preferably has a static load less than 60 pounds and more preferably less than 50 pounds. The pull-over force is the force applied to a specified location on the soccer goal necessary to tip over the soccer goal. Preferably, the soccer goal of the current invention has a pull-over force when applied at a 45 degree angle to the horizontal at a mid-point of the front cross bar of greater than 100 pounds, more preferably greater than 125 pounds and most preferably greater than 150 pounds. The balance point angle is the angle to the surface just beyond which the goal will tip over due to the distribution of the goal's weight. The greater the balance point angle, the less susceptible the goal is to tipping over. The soccer goal of the current invention preferably has a balance point angle greater than 25 degrees, more preferably greater than 50 degrees, and most preferably greater than 60 degrees.

EXAMPLES

In each of the examples below, a soccer goal according to a preferred embodiment of the current invention was constructed (“Preferred Goal”) and compared to similarly sized soccer goals A and B, which were not constructed according to preferred embodiments of the current invention (“Goal A” and “Goal B”). The goals were generally dimensioned according to design criteria set forth in The Guidelines for Movable Soccer Goals as set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which are incorporated herein by reference herein.

The Preferred Goal was constructed according to one aspect of the current invention as follows. The bottom side bars were constructed from steel (11 GA wall, ASTM A-500 Grade B) and were 72.25 inches in length. The rear cross bar was likewise constructed from steel and was 224.25 inches in length. The weight of the steel from which the bottom side bars and the rear cross bar were constructed was 4.48 lbs/ft and was 0.125 inches thick. Rearward stability bars were constructed from light gauge steel weighing 1.32 lbs/ft and a thickness of 0.125 inches. The rearward stability bars were 54 inches in length. The front uprights were made from aluminum (6061-T6) weighing 1.67 lbs/ft and having a thickness of 0.125 inches. The front cross bar was 224.25 inches in length and constructed from aluminum (6061-T6) weighing 1.67 lbs/ft and having a thickness of 0.125 inches.

Goals A and B were constructed from steel and aluminum. The front uprights and the front cross bar of soccer goals A were constructed from steel (wall thickness 0.156″) and the rearward stability bars were constructed from lighter weight aluminum. The Front cross bar and rearward stability bars of soccer goal B were constructed from steel and aluminum. The inner tubes of the bars were steel (wall thickness ⅛″) covered with an outer tube (shell) of aluminum (wall thickness 3/32″). Goals A and B did not include a rear cross bar.

Example 1

The static load of the Preferred Goal was compared to Goals A and B. The static loads were determined by measuring the load exerted by each of the goals when resting forward on the front cross bar at its mid-point at a distance of 12 inches above the ground. See FIG. 5. As illustrated in Table 1, the Preferred Goal exerts a static load that is substantially less than Goals A and B. This demonstrates that the Preferred Goal is less susceptible to tipping over than Goals A and B. This test also demonstrates that the Preferred Goal would tend to deliver less of a force than Goals A and B if it were to tip over and strike a person.

TABLE 1
GOALSTATIC LOAD (lbs.)
Goal A120
Goal B68
Preferred Goal50

Example 2

In this example, the pull-over force required to tip the Preferred Goal was compared to that of Goals A and B. FIG. 6 illustrates the force orientations tested. It should be noted that an average adult can push and pull with a force exceeding 100 lbs. As Table 2 illustrates, the Preferred Goal requires substantially more force to tip over than do the Goals A and B. Moreover, with respect to some of the tests, the Preferred Goal did not tip but instead began to slide forward instead of tipping over.

TABLE 2
FORCEGOAL AGOAL BPreferred Goal
ORIENTATION(lbs.)(lbs.)(lbs.)
A1530
B20156
C22141
D18143
E17100
F15
G52132
H6893
I3357152
J45160
K25152
L35152
M17124
N26125
O3361

Example 3

In this example, the balance point angle of the Preferred Goal was compared to that of Goals A and B. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the balance point angle is the angle to the surface just beyond which the goal will tip over due to the distribution of the goal's weight. The greater the balance point angle, the less susceptible the goal is to tipping over. As illustrated in Table 3, the balance point angle of the Preferred Goal is substantially greater than that of Goals A and B.

TABLE 3
GOALBALANCE POINT
Goal A 7°
Goal B26°
Preferred Goal66°

Example 4

In this example the impact force generated by the Preferred Goal was compared to that of Goals A and B. The impact force is the force with which a goal that has tipped over contacts the ground from various heights. Each goal was positioned at various heights and released. The front crossbar was allowed to impact a device that measured the impact force. The device used in this example was a CHATILLON DFS-0200 remote 200 pound load cell. This test attempts to replicate the force that the crossbar would impart on a person if the goal tipped over and struck them. As illustrated by Table 4, the Preferred Goal impacts the ground with approximately 27% to 36% of the force generated by Goals A and B. As this data illustrates, the aluminum construction for the front crossbar of the inventive goal not only improves stability, but also a secondary benefit is that the more flexible aluminum allows for deflection upon contact thereby allowing for the absorption of energy and a reduction in impact force.

TABLE 4
MEASUREDMEASURED
IMPACTIMPACTMEASURED
DROPFORCEFORCEIMPACT FORCE
HEIGHTGoal AGoal BPreferred Goal
1″ 672 lbs.177 lbs.208 lbs.
2″ 861 lbs.331 lbs.260 lbs.
3″1222 lbs.340 lbs.325 lbs.
4″346 lbs.
5″449 lbs.
6″774 lbs.
7″901 lbs.
35″331 lbs.