National Pastimes: Foot Volleyball Serves Up Twist On Classic Sport
While many are watching Olympic volleyball, some Asian and South American immigrants are playing it with a different spin. NY1’s Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
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Everyone knows volleyball. But how many have seen it played with feet?
Kicking it up a notch, players of foot volleyball use no hands, only feet and heads. It's extremely popular in some South American countries, such as Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.
Most New Yorkers have never heard of the highly competitive sport but every summer, immigrants head to the beach volleyball court, sometimes after a game of soccer, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“We play every day all summer,” says one participant.
“Every week for 25 years,” says another.
“You have to come on Friday. You see a lot of people here,” says a third.
They say Brazilian soccer players invented the game in 1965, using everything but their arms and hands to get the ball over the net.
There are variations of the game, name and rules all over the world. Southeast Asians call it Sepak Takraw and players use a small rattan ball. For Koreans, it is Jogku and the ball is much bigger.
First-generation American soccer players from Brazil and other parts of the world are raising the game's profile in the city's playgrounds and parks.
“It's definitely keeping who I am always with me,” says a player.
“I'm glad that they brought it here because it's a new way to play the sport and it's actually really fun,” says a second player.
“I picked it up at the park and really liked it so I started playing,” says a third.
Foot tennis anyone? It's an even lesser-known sport but some foot volleyball players and soccer-loving New Yorkers are slowly jumping in on the action.
“I'm a little jealous that I can't do a bicycle kick like six feet high but we still have fun, even at my age, playing the sport," says Keith Miller of Metrosoccer NY. "I'm impressed with the different level of skill they have over there for the sport.”
It's a sport that appears to be growing leaps and bounds with each passing summer in the city.