Touch football: Team spirit above all

Touch football: Team spirit above all

SINGAPORE - Men, women of all ages train, bond over touch football.

Instead of tackling like in rugby, players in touch football only need to touch the opposing team.

This makes it accessible for anyone, regardless of age or build, to play without fear of major injury.

The rules of the sport are similar to rugby and follow international sporting guidelines.

Each team has 14 players - six on the field and the rest on the bench.

There can be infinite substitutions at any one time.

A point is awarded to the team which puts the ball over the other team's scoreline, called a touchdown.

Teams can be mixed too, with three males and three females allowed on the field.

xplosive speed, agility, stamina and tactical acumen.

If you want to be a good touch football player, you are going to need these traits.

But to be a great player, there is one thing more important than all of the above - team spirit.

It is why every Saturday morning, a group of men and women of all ages and sizes gather at a football field at Harding Road in dry-fit singlets and shorts.

They are not there just for the physical training. It is a two-hour bonding session.

Says committee member of Monsoon Touch Football Club (MTFC) Chris Mead, 48: "We build our team spirit by sweating on the same field.

"It doesn't matter if you have the best player in your team. Without team spirit, you won't win."

The club was the first of its kind when it was founded in 2008, after it split from the Wanderers Rugby Football Club.

Today, there are more than 100 active players in the team and the numbers keep growing, says Mr Mead, a sales director.

It is a fiercely competitive team, often bagging touch football trophies in international competitions.

Mr Mead says: "We're the team that everyone wants to beat."

BONDING

But they are not only out for prizes and accolades. When it is not the tournament season, team building becomes the priority.

For the 30-odd expatriate members in the team, the club is "an extended family away from home".

"Monsoon has been a very big part of my life. It helped me settle down here and appreciate what living here means," says Mr Mead, who moved here from Hong Kong in 2007.

The Australian had originally wanted a reason to keep fit. He found MTFC on the Internet, but when he joined, he quickly learnt that it was more than just a group of fitness enthusiasts. Besides fitness training on Tuesdays and field training on Saturdays, they also have "the social stuff", he says.

Barbecues, team lunches and dinners are common. "It's just nice, you know, to have friends whom you can enjoy a beer with," he says. Another Australian member, Mr Andrew Kendall, 39, recalls a time when someone in the club had back injuries.

"Everyone banded together to pay for his medical bills, to help the guy out. It was a great thing to see," says the chief operating officer of a tech company.

FOODIES

The Singaporeans in the group play the role of tour guides too, often suggesting food places.

Says Singaporean Valery Chua Hui Ru, 21, a special-needs teacher: "A good place we always go to is Adam Road Food Centre. The food there is so good, especially after training!"

She has been in the team for three years and attests to the strong friendships forged during arduous tournament seasons and overseas competitions.

"Whether you are a local or a foreigner, inexperienced or skilled, young or old, everybody knows everybody here," she says. ngjunsen@sph.com.sg

It doesn't matter if you have the best player in your team. Without team spirit, you won't win.

- Committee member of Monsoon Touch Football Club Chris Mead

ABOUT TOUCH FOOTBALL

Instead of tackling like in rugby, players in touch football only need to touch the opposing team.

This makes it accessible for anyone, regardless of age or build, to play without fear of major injury.

The rules of the sport are similar to rugby and follow international sporting guidelines.

Each team has 14 players - six on the field and the rest on the bench.

There can be infinite substitutions at any one time.

A point is awarded to the team which puts the ball over the other team's scoreline, called a touchdown.

Teams can be mixed too, with three males and three females allowed on the field.


This article was first published on Feb 08, 2015.
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