Futsal has grown into a popular sport worldwide. Juan Carlos Ceriani is credited with the creation of the game in 1930 when he started a 5 on 5 soccer game at a Uruguay YMCA. The sport quickly grew in South America and soon spread to other regions. Many world-renowned soccer stars such as Pele, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo credit the sport for helping develop their technical skills.
U.S. Futsal took off in the early 1980s and has continued to rise in popularity since then. Similar to soccer, there is also a Futsal FIFA World Cup which will be hosted in Colombia this fall.
While many people think of futsal as a miniature version of soccer, it involves much more than that. The game is played as 5 on 5 with one of those players being the goalkeeper for each team. Substitutions are made similar to those in hockey as players may come on and off the court at any given time. Teams have unlimited substitutions for each 20 minute half and the clock runs much like a basketball clock does because it stops on dead balls.
The futsal court itself is also similar to the average basketball court. Futsal is played on a smooth, flat surface with a smaller, hockey-sized goal. When the ball does go out of bounds, it is kicked back into play instead of being thrown over the head as we see in soccer. This is due in part to the smaller court, and also to the unique ball used for futsal.
The game is played with a smaller, size 4 soccer ball that is designed with less bounce. This helps keep the pace of the game faster as the ball stays low to the ground. In addition to keeping a fast pace, the futsal ball helps players develop their footwork and skills. Since futsal is played on a harder surface, slide tackling is prohibited to help prevent player injuries.
While soccer and futsal share the same framework, their differences completely change the style of play. Futsal is continuing to grow in popularity as many facilities are beginning to add the sport to their list of program offerings. It involves very little set up and can be played both indoors and outdoors which has helped it grow across the country and the world.