Futsal is the only form of indoor soccer endorsed by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). It earned the status of FIFA’s official form of indoor soccer in the 1980s as it was recognized as a scaled down version of outdoor soccer played indoors. It is a 5 v 5 small-sided game played on a hard surfaced, basketball sized court with a smaller, heavier low bounce ball. Futsal is played with touchline boundaries and without walls.
This is the game that outdoor soccer players around the globe play to refine and maintain their control skills and touch. It is superior to walled soccer in terms of developing better skills and technique. In traditional American walled soccer, players regularly whack the ball (and sometimes their bodies) against the boards which promotes improper technique and too often rewards errant play. In futsal, players are constantly reminded to play the same quality control game that is required for success in the outdoor game.
Futsal is played in all the continents of the world by over 100 countries with 12 million players. The sport is a great skill developer as it demands quick reflexes, fast thinking, pin-point passing. The small, heavier futsal ball requires players to hone their ball-striking and ball handling technique. Great soccer superstars such as Pele, Zico, Ronaldo, Messi, Kaka and Katia grew up playing the game and credit futsal with developing their skills.
The priority in Futsal is to motivate players in an environment that is conducive to learning. The more pleasure kids derive from their participation, the more they wish to play and practice on their own. While their instinct to play is natural, their affection and appreciation for soccer must be cultivated. Futsal is the foundation to such goals because it:
- Allows players to frequently touch the one "toy" on the field, namely, the ball.
- Presents many opportunities to score goals and score goals often.
- Encourages regaining possession of the ball as a productive, fun and rewarding part of the game (defending).
- Maximizes active participation and minimizes inactivity and boredom.
- Provides a well organized playing environment with improvised fields.
- Reflects the philosophy of player development expressed in state and national coaching schools.
- Eliminates complicated rules such as off-sides that may hinder youngsters from "playing".
- Reflects the appropriate roll of the coach as a Facilitator.
- Makes the game more "beginning coach" friendly because the game is simpler, thus making it easier to recruit more volunteer "coaches".
- Allows the game to be the teacher!