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What is Futsal and who plays?

Updated on August 21, 2014
 Futsal Fun For Everyone
Futsal Fun For Everyone

Futsal v indoor five-a-side football

Futsal can be played to refine the skills of both adults and children. An hour of Futsal training develops the skills and ball control that would take much longer to acquire with traditional football (soccer). Girls, who had previously been reluctant to participate in five-a-side football, enjoy Futsal and have become skillful footballers by participating Futsal training.

Ronaldinho (Child/Superstar) on Futsal

What is futsal?

The name futsal was created by FIFA,(French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association) for the only version of 5-a-side football that it supports. The name simply combines the Spanish words for ‘Hall’ – Sala and ‘Football’ – Futbol into Futsal.

Futsal is much like a game of five-a-side football, but what makes it stand out is the skill and expertise of the players show with the ball. It is played with a reduced size ball and goals. The goals are less wide but higher than five-a-side football goal.  The ball is also designed to have a reduced bounce so that it is easier for players to be more skillful with the ball and so this promotes quality touches. 

Futsal is played to touch-lines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head-height. As a small sided game, players are constantly placed in situations where they must receive or play whilst under pressure or in a confined spaces. As a game, it places considerable demand on technique, movement, tactical awareness and fitness. The difference between Futsal and five-a-side football is that in Futsal there are no rebound-boards and there are slight amendments in the laws that favour skilful, creative play above the physical contact.

The main differences between five-a side football and Futsal are summarised below:


  1. Five players on court- rolling substitutions
  2. Played to lines, ball is returned to play with a “Kick-In
  3. Use of wider and longer pitch
  4. All the players allowed to enter penalty areas
  5. No height restriction on ball
  6. Use of Square Goals (3m x 2m)
  7. Use of Futsal ball (30 per cent reduced bounce)
  8. 5 Foul Limit – No wall for Direct free Kick from ten meters after fifth foul


  1. Five players on court-limited substitutions
  2. No By or End lines – use of rebound boards. Ball constantly in play
  3. Standard length of pitch
  4. Only Goalkeepers permitted to enter penalty areas
  5. Use of restriction on height of the ball
  6. Use of rectangular goals  (4.8m X 1.2m)
  7. Use of Football – size 5 for adults
  8. Unlimited Fouls

Futsal New Indoor Football

Do you think Futsal will be the new indoor Football, or is there a place for both?

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Ronaldinho freestyle

Tips on a Futsal game for children

You don't have to be a coach to organise a Futsal session with children. All you need to play Futsal are a few Futsal balls, book an indoor court, gather yourself about 8 to 10 children and there you have it. You need to take into consideration a range of factors including the age of the players, their needs, abilities, equipment and playing area.Here you can download Futsal rules.

Tips on a fun Futsal session:

From age 6 to 11 - half an hour. Ten minutes of skill training and 20 minutes of a game/ kick around.

Book an indoor court in advance for one hour.

The session:

  1. Explain the basic rules to the children.
  2. Give each child a ball. This is very important as one of the key aspect of Futsal is that children always have a ball when training, so do get enough balls. This allows them to get comfortable and have many more touches with the ball.
  3. Teach two drills per session. For example, teach them to kick with their left foot for three weeks then teach them to kick with their left foot for three week, gradually building up. Do this for about ten minutes a session. You can do lots of fun activities around this, it does not have be just kicking a ball up-and-down the pitch, get creative.
  4.  Don't stick too rigidly to the rules of Futsal - let them show off their new skills, touches.
  5.  Forget the negative, be encouraging of their efforts and let them have fun.

Health and safety for kids

-Make sure they are wearing trainers - rubber soles, and their laces are tied well.

- If they have asma, make sure they have their pump.

-Make sure they bring water - have spare bottles available

- If possible,  children can wear shin pads to protect their shin

- Check the playing area. Make sure it is safe and there are no hazards around.

- Check goals - to make sure they are mounted well, so they do not fall over.

Equipment Needed:

Futsal balls - size 4

Net - if you can

Water, Futsal is thirsty work !

Bibs - if possible

A whistle - to save your voice

... just have fun.


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    • zanin profile image

      zanin 6 years ago from London, England

      Hi Denise, thanks for your comment. Yes, the US does have a team and they play to a high standard.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      This sounds great! I have never heard of it before. Is it being introduced in the United States?