What is Gaelic Football, and how does it differ from other sports? Is it soccer, American football, or basketball? How about combining all three sports into one, each adopting various characteristics from the other to create a unique and entertaining sport all in one? This club sport, known as Gaelic Football, takes the dribbling aspect of basketball, the kicking and scoring system of soccer and football. With the limited number of steps you get to take, you can also play ultimate frisbee.

Photo Credits: Laura Flores

The team’s members range from freshmen to seniors at Saint Joseph’s University (SJU). They practice at Sweeney Field and travel on occasions. There are 13 players on both teams making the game played by 26 total people. With the ball in your hands, you can only take four to five steps. You can also reset your step count by dribbling or kicking the ball back up to yourself. In a volleyball-style pass/set, you can also pass the ball to another player by hitting it to them. A field goal post, similar to that used in American football and rugby, is used to score. Put the ball in the soccer goal below the posts and you get three points; put the ball through the goal post above it’s one point. These are the key rules of Gaelic Football, a weird but ultimately enjoyable game. 

After speaking with a handful of the players about the sport, they only had positive things to say. They could talk only about how much fun they were having and how much they enjoyed playing. According to Joey Tal, a freshman on the team, loves many aspects of the game.

“The competitiveness of the sport. It’s a strategical sport you can’t win off of pure talent. You need to use your head to make good decisions. Teamwork is so important because your step count resets so you can’t just plow down the field like a one man wrecking ball.”

Joey Tal

Many others have expressed the same thing. For instance, Dan Ros, another freshman player, said he finds it fun for many reasons. “The older guys make you feel a part of the squad, they basically take you under their wing.” The chemistry and friendships formed on that team seem to be everlasting.

Photo Credits: Saint Joesph’s University Gaelic football club

Regardless of your previous sporting experience, Gaelic Football can be the sport for you. It will bring out your competitive side while also allowing you to form lifelong connections. You can sign up at the start of the next fall semester in 2022. Sign-ups are available on the team’s official Instagram and during next year’s Club Day.

Teammates Joey and Dan encourage you to check out the team’s Instagram page, @sjugaelic, for official team updates, as well as game days. Give it a try and you to experience the fun of this crazy sport.