FUTSAL - IT'S NOT JUST SOCCER
Smaller Game - Bigger Action
The nature of this game places a large emphasis on technical ability and agility, and is consequently an excellent breeding ground for football skills that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game. The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces, leading to a fast-paced game full of excitement and liveliness.
While football usually features 11 players per side, futsal teams have five. It's not just the teams that are smaller – the pitch is also only about a third of the size of those used for outdoor football, measuring around 20m x 40m, which makes it roughly the same size as a handball court. The matches are also much shorter, consisting of two periods of 20 minutes. The ball itself is heavier than traditional footballs and has far less bounce.
Kicking off legendary careers
Many of the world’s best football players grew up playing futsal, with the limited space and constant opponent pressure helping to improve their ball control skills and technique. Among those to have started out playing futsal was Argentinian football legend Lionel Messi. “As a little boy in Argentina, I played futsal on the streets and for my club. It was tremendous fun, and it really helped me become who I am today,” says the Olympic gold medallist and five-time World Player of the Year. Other stars of the game who have hailed futsal’s role in their careers are, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and another Olympic champion, Neymar.
As of 2018 Futsal has been introduced as a new event in the the Youth Olympics. To find out more about it being introduced as an olympic sport click here