The newest and most innovative form of interactive football has landed at the O2 Arena. TOCA Social is the new entertainment concept transforming how we meet and play. Built around accessible and interactive football-based games, the stylish venues give guests of all kinds a place to come together and put their name in lights.
If you haven't heard of TOCA Social, prepare yourself for a one-of-a-kind experience that combines football with amazing hospitality, which creates and unbelievably unique atmosphere and fun for football fans and anyone who just wants to have a go.
The cutting-edge technology of TOCA Social was first developed by TOCA Football, founded by former USA international Eddie Lewis. Lewis' playing resume includes the English Premier League, English Championship, Major League Soccer and 12 years with the US national team.
The former left back knows the significance of football around the world and wanted to bring a new idea to the table that would be inclusive for all. Speaking exclusively to Tribal Football, Lewis explains how he and the team at TOCA first birthed the idea and put it into motion.
"As player I bloomed a bit later to the game, so I always looked for little ways to improve my skills, started off with a tennis ball and machine. Eventually I moved on from a tennis ball, I wanted something a bit bigger so I can apply it to my game but still small enough to be challenging."
"After my playing days I was part of a coaching course with a few other colleagues when we decided to set up an interactive solution to training that was based on a gaming system. We integrated targets and we started doing sessions of 400 reps for decision making, first touch, finishing."
The humble beginnings of TOCA Football blossomed brilliantly, subsequently setting up 15 training centres across North America to help develop the next generation of footballers in the United States and Canada. It was during this time that Lewis and the team realised the potential of their system and opted to open it up to the world.
"It was so popular we'd have long lines wrapped around convention waiting to give it a shot. We said to ourselves that we must harness this and bring it to football fans all over the planet. Our team in the UK took the concept and evolved it to make it social and give it new elements like dining and entertaining. It brings together elements of friendly competition, friends, and a few drinks. It's a simplified footballing experience for all."
While TOCA's training centres are primarily based in the United States, they opted to launch their first TOCA Social venue at the heart of footballing folklore: London. The history and significance of football in London made it an unparalleled choice for TOCA Social's first launch at the O2 Arena.
"It's undoubtedly the first of its kind worldwide. We chose the O2 Arena in London because it's such an iconic location. We get all kinds of people from EPL stars, YouTube celebrities, bankers, to parents and kids from the area. It has a format to live anywhere in the world, the concept translates anywhere. We wanted to drive deep into the idea and create more experiences for every football fan.
"It's everything from a nostalgia to having fun while showing off. We wanted it to be as welcoming as possible, you don't need any football background to join. And often, it's usually the least experienced that have the most fun."