Photo courtesy of Ahmed Abbas.

There are only a handful of adult soccer leagues in New Jersey, and now there’s a new one bringing soccer enthusiasts together.

Galacticos Footy is a non-profit adult soccer organization located in North Jersey dedicated to organizing diverse, structured competitive matches that are both fun and at an advanced level. And it’s free of charge.

Galacticos was founded by Ahmed Abbas, who has had a connection to soccer from a young age. He started playing the sport at the age of eight in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1992, he emigrated to the U.S., settling down in Jersey City. 

Abbas, founder of Galacticos Footy (Courtesy of Ahmed Abbas)

He noticed that the soccer scene lacked structure in addition to struggling to find pickup games. With this in mind, Abbas was motivated to start the organization.

“My background as a product manager in the tech industry, with roles at companies like Grubhub, NBCU, and Fiserv, honed my ability to solve problems through technology and enhance user experiences. This expertise was instrumental in founding Galacticos FC, aimed at fellow soccer enthusiasts seeking quality play,” he stated.

He has organized over 1,100 games in Jersey City, and also utilized the MeetUp app to secure professional equipment for his members.

When asked about his goals for the organization, Abbas stated that he wants to create an organization for players who are passionate about the sport.

“By using soccer as a means to build stronger connections and a stronger community, we strive to create a vibrant and supportive network of players who share our passion for the game,” he told Slice of Culture.

“We hope to be able to expand to other cities throughout New Jersey and build competitive organized pick-up games as some of the groups in NYC.”

He has seen a dramatic impact on his members, creating a safe space for those who want to play their favorite sport. It has created and fostered strong bonds, including a couple meeting and getting married.

Galacticos Footy’s game format includes:

  • 9-vs-8 or 11-vs-11 competitive
  • 90 minutes
  • Offside rules apply
  • No slide tackles
  • Call your own foul
  • Goalkeepers rotate
  • Play rain or shine

To join the free league, you must be over 18 years old and live in the New Jersey/New York tri-state area. Players will go through a registration and survey to understand their soccer background. All members must review and sign a release form.

Games are played in North Jersey and members can get all details on the meetup page.

Playing the sport also hones discipline, communication, and teamwork. In addition, it has many physical benefits, leading to a more active lifestyle due to the rigors of the sport.

Soccer is arguably the most popular sport in the world and in New Jersey, thousands participate in soccer leagues. However, soccer fields in New Jersey aren’t nearly as common as other playing fields like basketball courts. In addition, it is more difficult to find pickup games for soccer.

For Abbas, the biggest challenge thus far has been obtaining field permits, with city councils preferring to emphasize youth programs. In Hudson County there are many youth soccer leagues, with hardly any adult soccer programs, let alone non-profit programs such as Galacticos Footy.

However, Abbas was able to overcome this by showing the value that his organization brings to others. 

”Encouraging adult participation not only enriches the soccer landscape but also serves as inspiration for younger players, fostering a continuous love for the game across generations.”

 

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