Title:
Portable soccer goal apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable soccer goal includes a net portion suspended within a flexible spring frame which stretches the net across its area to form a back portion as a suitable goal surface. A base portion is attached to the back portion, and a pair of side panels extend between the back portion and base portion. The expanded frame, with the net portion, base portion, and side panels extended therebetween, is stabilized by support rods inserted into sleeves extending between the upper portion of the back and the front portion of the base. Upper and lower sleeves cover the ends of the rods to prevent exposure to the players. Stakes and/or sand pockets may be used to secure the apparatus to the ground.



Inventors:
Tulipani, Victor (San Rafael, CA, US)
Mendick, Marty (Ventner, NJ, US)
Application Number:
09/782647
Publication Date:
10/25/2001
Filing Date:
02/12/2001
Assignee:
TULIPANI VICTOR
MENDICK MARTY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00; F41J1/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOHNSON & STAINBROOK, LLP (SANTA ROSA, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed as invention is:



1. A portable soccer goal apparatus comprising: a net portion suspended within a flexible spring frame adapted to stretch said net portion across its area to form a back portion goal surface, said back portion having a lower edge; a base portion extending from said lower edge of said back portion; a pair of side panels extending between said back portion and said base portion, said side panels bearing sleeves along a front edge thereof; and support rods adapted for insertion into said sleeves, said support rods terminating in a pair of ends, said ends adapted for releasable attachment to said back portion and said base portion.

2. The portable soccer goal of claim 1 wherein said sleeves bear upper and lower portions to cover the ends of said support rods.

3. The portable soccer goal of claim 2 wherein said lower portions of said sleeves include zippers.

4. The portable soccer goal of claim 1 wherein said side panels include sand pockets.

5. The portable soccer goal of claim 1 further including stakes to secure the apparatus to the ground.

6. The portable soccer goal of claim 1 wherein said frame comprises a coated, flexible spring steel frame covered with a protective material.

7. The portable soccer goal of claim 1 wherein said support rods are inserted into said sleeves through openings in the sleeves.

8. The portable soccer goal of claim 1 wherein said support rods are releasably fastened to said back portion and base portion by ring pins.

9. The portable soccer goal of claim 1 wherein said support rods comprise collapsible, segmented fiberglass poles.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to sporting goods and accessories, and more specifically to an improved goal or net apparatus for use with the play and practice of soccer, football, field hockey, lacrosse, and other sports utilizing a net.

[0003] 2. Discussion of Related Art

[0004] Many sports such as soccer (football) utilize a goal or net structure for play. Typically, these soccer nets are large, bulky, permanent or semi-permanent articles that are not readily disassembled for storage or transport. It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a simple, inexpensive, lightweight, portable soccer/football net that can be easily disassembled and re-assembled for personal or temporary use at a variety of locations such as home, school, beach, or park.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The portable soccer goal of this invention includes a net portion suspended within a flexible spring frame which effectively stretches the net across its area to form a suitable goal surface, including a back portion slightly inclined from the vertical, a generally horizontal base portion, and a pair of side panels which extend between the back portion and base portion. The expanded frame, with the back portion, base portion, and side panels extended therebetween, is generally self-supporting due to the spring tension of the frame, but is further supported and stabilized by incorporation of support rods inserted into sleeves extending between the back portion and base portion. Upper and lower sleeve sections cover the ends of the support rods to prevent exposure to the players. Stakes and/or sand pockets may be used to secure the apparatus to the ground.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portable soccer goal apparatus of this invention as erected for use as a practice goal; and

[0007] FIGS. 2a-2d are a series of pictorial views illustrating the disassembly for transportation and storage of the portable soccer goal apparatus of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the portable soccer goal apparatus 10 of this invention as erected for use as a practice goal. Soccer goal 10 includes a net portion 12 (e.g. 70D×190T nylon or similar material) suspended within a frame 14, which is preferably a coated, flexible spring steel frame (e.g., 5 mm. by 2 mm.) covered with a protective material (e.g., 210D×110T oxford or similar material). The flexible and collapsible frame 14 effectively stretches the net 12 across its area to form a suitable back goal surface 15 (e.g., four feet by four feet), in the manner of a “pop-up” tent or similar structure. A base portion 16, also suspended within the frame 14, extends forward from the lower edge of the back portion 15, and a pair of side panels 18a, 18b extend between the upper part of the back portion 15 and the front part of the base portion 16. The expanded frame, with the back portion, base portion, and side panels extended therebetween, is further supported and stabilized by incorporation of support rods 20a, 20b inserted into sleeves 22a, 22b, respectively, extending between the upper portion of the back 15 and the front portion of the base 16 at the front edge of the side panels 18a, 18b. These support rods 20a, 20b may be inserted into the sleeves 22a, 22b through openings 24a, 24b in the sleeves, then fed down into the sleeves to a point where they can be pulled back up into the upper sleeve 26a, 26b, then down into lower sleeve 28a, 28b, the latter which has a zipper 29a, 29b running lengthwise along the lower sleeve to facilitate the insertion and removal of the support rods. The support rods are preferably releasably fastened to the frame (at the top) and base (at the bottom) by aluminum ring pins insertable into ferrules at the ends of the support rods, in the manner of well-known tent poles. Indeed, the support rods themselves are preferably collapsible, segmented fiberglass poles connected together by shock cord, again in the manner of well-known tent poles. Upper sleeves 26a, 26b and lower sleeves 28a, 28b cover and shield the ends of the support rods to prevent exposure to the players using the apparatus. One or more (e.g., four) stakes 30 may be used to secure the comers of the apparatus to the ground, especially for lawn use. In addition, one or more sewn-in sand pockets 32 in the bottom of the back and side panels may be used to be filled with sand to provide additional stability, especially for use at the beach.

[0009] FIGS. 2a-2d are a series of pictorial views illustrating the disassembly for transportation and storage of the soccer/football net 10 of this invention. FIG. 2a illustrates removal of the ring pins 34 from the top and bottom ends of the support rods, so that the rods can be removed from their respective sleeves. The frame 14 and net 12 can then be dropped to the ground, and the side panel 18a, 18b fabric tucked in. FIG. 2b illustrates the flattened net and frame being stood on one end. FIG. 2c illustrates the folding of opposite ends of the flattened net and frame together. FIG. 2d illustrates the opposing ends of the folded net and frame being tucked and rolled inwardly, where the collapsed apparatus is finally flattened for storage, preferably in a carrying case (e.g., a nylon carry bag with zipper and shoulder strap). The break-down support rods and the stakes can similarly be carried together in the case.

[0010] Assembly/erection of the inventive goal is even easier, indeed, the user should exercise caution when removing the goal from the carrying bag, holding the goal away from the body and releasing the frame slowly, as the spring frame causes the goal to pop up instantly. Then, the support rods are inserted and secured, and the goal further stabilized with stakes and/or filling of the sand pockets, as described supra.

[0011] Thus, the inventive portable soccer/football net provides a quick practice goal that instantly unfolds itself from a small and lightweight configuration (approximately eighteen inches in diameter, less than five pounds in weight) in a flat round carrying bag, to form a usable net surface approximately four feet across and four feet high. With easy carry and set up, it can be used on the beach, at the park, or in a small backyard.

[0012] While this invention has been described in connection with preferred embodiments thereof, it is obvious that modifications and changes therein may be made by those skilled in the art to which it pertains without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of this invention is to be limited only by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.