Futsal - What It Is and Why We Play It

This January we’ll be begin play in our futsal league. Unfamiliar to many, futsal is an indoor adaptation of the game that is growing in popularity globally. The game’s greatest players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Pele all credit their experience playing futsal as a young player as being critically important to their development.


What is Futsal?

Futsal originated in South America in the 1930’s when people in large crowded cities faced a shortage of soccer fields. To adjust to the small availability of grass and reduced space, players in Brazil and Uruguay were forced into playing small sided games.


Futsal is played indoors, which informs the name. Combining the Spanish words for ‘hall’ (‘sala') and soccer (‘futbol’) the term futsal was coined.


Playing 5v5, the game is played indoors on hard floors with a smaller ball that is weighted in order to reduce bounce. Much like the outdoor game, boundaries are marked by lines instead of walls.


Why we play futsal

Futsal improves all the fundamental skills young players need to develop. The smaller space and smaller numbers mean that each player will get more time on the ball in each game. Individuals playing football receive the ball six times more than they do in the larger game outdoors.


Improved time on the ball means that each players’ confidence to perform skill with the ball under pressure will improve and grow as a result. Improved confidence will lead to better decision making and ball retention under pressure. 


A side-by-side look at futsal versus "indoor soccer"

Playing indoors with lines marked as the boundaries allows us to maintain consistency as we transition from outdoors to indoors and back outdoors again. The presence of boards brings bad habits that are unrealistic to the game such as bunching along the boards and kicking mindlessly to free the ball and players kicking the ball off of the wall without a plan. Eliminating the temptation of these bad habits better prepares players for the spring season.


Overall, we play futsal because it is the best way to give our players the best opportunity to continue developing into players that are comfortable on the ball and have a good understanding of the decisions that the game requires them to make.


At Elkhorn Soccer Club, we are committed to working at creating the best environment for our players to grow and reach their potential. We believe that futsal is the best way to do this throughout the winter months.


About Our League

League play will begn January 7th with games being played at Grandview Middle School. Hive players will play on Sunday afternoons. United Select players will play on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. 

Each game will have 2x20 minute halves with a running clock. There will be a 5 minute half time in lieu of "time outs." When the ball goes out of bounds, it will be restarted with a kick-in. No punting of the ball by goalkeepers will be permitted. 


Player testimonials

“Futsal is an extremely important way for kids to develop their skills and understanding of the game. My touch and my dribbling have come from playing Futsal.”  - Ronaldinho, FIFA World Player of the Year, 2004 & 2005


“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.”  - Lionel Messi, FIFA World Player of the Year 2009-2012, 2015


Futsal was important in helping to develop my ball control, quick thinking, passing…also for dribbling, balance, concentration…Futsal was very, very important, no doubt.”  - Pele


During my childhood in Portugal, all we played was futsal. The small playing area helped me improve my close control, and whenever i played futsal i felt free. If it wasn’t for futsal, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.”  - Cristiano Ronaldo, FIFA World Player of the Year 2008, 2013-14