With spring approaching (hopefully), another season of soccer is on the horizon. Now is a good time to remind park districts, schools, and municipalities that Illinois passed the Moveable Soccer Goal Safety Act in 2011, nicknamed “Zach’s Law.” The nickname derives from six-year-old Zachary Tran of Vernon Hills who was struck in the head by an improperly secured 184-pound metal soccer goal. The incident later resulted in his death. Zach’s death was the 27th death reported in the United States from a falling goal post since 1979.
Zach’s law bans the manufacture or sale of new soccer goals that are not tip resistant, and provides that older goals must be properly anchored to the field. Zach’s Law also requires organizations that own moveable soccer goals to create soccer goal safety and education policies.
Specifically, Zach’s Law requires that soccer goals with inside measurements from 6.5 to 8 feet in height and 18 to 24 feet in width to conform to tip resistant standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. The concern is to prevent goals from toppling on children like Zach.
If your local government (or any other organization) has soccer goals that are not tip resistant, it is imperative that it properly utilize anchors. Avoiding the tragedy of a young person is reason enough to ensure compliance, but it is separately worth noting that the park district in Zach’s case was held jointly liable with other defendants for about $3 million.
Author: Jonathan M. Feinstein