What is futsal?
Futsal is a pared-down version of outdoor soccer played indoors, on a smaller field and with fewer players (five-a-side). The term ‘futsal’ stems from the Spanish or Portuguese word for “soccer” and the French or Spanish word for “room”—fútbol de salón and futebol de salão emerged as the trademark name futsal. Soccer players around the world use the game to refine their technique and control year-round, making it the perfect skill-builder during harsh Minnesota winters. As FIFA’s official indoor soccer game, futsal is well established as the supreme form of indoor soccer.
How did futsal start?
Although futsal recently gained steam the United States, the game carries a history dating back to 1930. Juan Carlos Ceriani, a teacher in Montevideo, Uruguay, created the alternative five-a-side model of indoor soccer for young players to compete in YMCAs. Almost immediately, futsal proliferated throughout South America due to its availability throughout the year and in any weather condition.
Originally developed to be played on basketball courts, the game tweaks some of the rules in traditional football to suit the smaller area of play. Although the game is heavily grounded in the principles of football, Ceriani drew inspiration from basketball and other team sports’ rules when writing the futsal rulebook: the standard five players per team, 40-minute game time and rules around accumulated penalties echoes basketball’s regulations. The traditional goalkeeper rules resemble that of water polo, and the size of the court takes after handball.
Futsal earned its reputation for building great players with its smaller fields and heightened intensity. Less surface area reduces players’ reaction time and accelerates their decision making. Moreover, players develop flawless ball control while navigating around other players and out-of-play boundaries. Fewer players on the field and bench leads to more quality touches and increased 1v1 encounters. Overall, everyone on the field has an elevated responsibility to attack, defend, score and save goals. As such, players must truly support their teammates.
Where can I play?
The National Sports Center is hosting Futsal Freeze this January for 8U to 19U athletes. The tournament will follow a 3v3 format rather than futsal’s standard 5v5, encouraging even more ball touches per player.