Five red drones are competing against five blue drones in a thrilling drone soccer match. Controlling the drones from outside the playing field ensures safety for all. The game lasts for three action-packed minutes, with the drones protected by globe-like shields, zooming around, colliding with each other, and bouncing off the green field. Their mission: to score goals by maneuvering a drone through the opposing team’s “donut,” a hoop suspended 3.5 meters in the air that lights up when a goal is achieved.

Sean Greenhalgh, a professional drone soccer player and former Trader Joe’s employee, reveals that he discovered this emerging sport during a drone photography course about a year ago. Now, he serves as the captain and main striker for Team USA, alongside teaching children aged four and older the sport. While it may be a niche profession, Greenhalgh appears to be doing well and enjoying his role.

Jasmine Lee, the match commentator, explains that an engineer, who happened to be a massive Harry Potter fan, created the game inspired by quidditch, the magical sport featured in the popular book series. “Scoring is challenging. Keeping the drone stationary requires significant experience,” shares creative engineer Lee.

The sports’ development is closely tied to South Korean tech company Camtic, where CEO Ro Sang-heub also serves as the president of the Federation of International DroneSoccer Association (FIDA). Since its inception, the sport has gained a foothold in 20 countries, but it is particularly popular in South Korea, boasting over 2,000 teams.

In the United States, although there are only three teams, more than 5,000 young people have learned the sport’s fundamentals. Greenhalgh acknowledges, “They learn everything, including drone maintenance.”

Last year, the first professional league was established, and soon, the inaugural Drone Soccer World Cup is set to take place in October 2025 in South Korea, according to Ro. His aspiration is to see the sport achieve the same level of popularity as regular football, with FIFA attracting three billion fans. He even dreams of drone soccer one day becoming an Olympic event.

In the exhibition match held in Las Vegas, the red team is currently leading 6-4, and the excitement continues to build. Only the main attacker of each team can score a goal. When a goal is scored, the “donut” lights up in red for a brief period. The attacker must then retreat near their own goal before launching a new assault aided by another striker.

If a technical issue forces the main attacker to leave the match, one of their teammates takes over as the scorer. Greenhalgh shares that there are 25 professional players from the United States alone affiliated with FIDA.

To ensure fair play, FIDA has established a set of rules that includes a weight limit for the drones. Before each game, all drones are checked, and they must not exceed 1.2 kilos, including the battery pack.

During a competition, each game consists of three three-minute periods, separated by five-minute breaks. This allows players to make any necessary repairs and recalibrate their drones.

The exhibition match concludes with an exciting 11-11 draw. Just 30 minutes later, the players start over, captivating the attention of new onlookers.