Yes, it is not uncommon to hear and use jugar + sport without the preposition or the article in Latin America (not in Spain); I imagine it's because of the English language influence, so, for example:
Los niños juegan fútbol en el parque.
The kids play football in the park.
In Spanish when you use verb "jugar" as in playing a sport/ game we use "al", "a la", "a los" or "a las":
"Juego al tenis" (I play tennis)*
"Juego a la pelota" (I play [with] a ball)
"Juego a los dados" (I play darts)
"Juego a las cartas" (I play cards)
*Note that here "al" is a contraction of a + el.
Could there be a situation where we don't use al with the word jugar?
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