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Futsal is FIFA’s official indoor soccer game which is, essentially, a scaled down version of outdoor soccer played indoors. It is a small-sided game played in a 5 v 5 format (including the goalie) on a court with boundaries (like a basketball court) with a smaller (size 3-4)  ball. Futsal is the only “Official form of Indoor Soccer” as approved by FIFA. It is played in all the continents of the world by over 170 countries with 30 million players.  24 countries participated in the Futsal World Cup last year. It is the fastest growing indoor sport in the world.


Countless organizations such as FIFA, CONCACAF and UEFA agree that futsal is a brilliant game for teaching the skills that are required to succeed in the outdoor game.  All of the major heads of national associations and confederations have declared that Futsal “is the way to go… Once you experience Futsal you will see the reasons.”

The surface, ball and rules together favour ball control and passing in small spaces. The game’s “emphasis is on improvisation, creativity and technique”. In countries like Brazil, Argentina, Portugal and Spain, it is normal for young players to grow up playing futsal, and even those that switch to football credit their skills to the small-sided game.

They all believed that Futsal aided their talent and taught them how to pass and interchange more effectively, which are ultimately the techniques needed for the chance to score.


The sport is a great skill developer as it demands quick reflexes, fast thinking, pin-point passing and handling high-pressure situations.  Great soccer superstars such as Pele, Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Ronaldinho and many others credit futsal with developing their skills.  




Compared to soccer, futsal players touch the ball 210% more often.


With smaller nets and smaller spaces, futsal players need to shoot quickly with accuracy and pace on the ball.


Futsal is endorsed by the greatest players in the past and current and that it was Futsal that made them become who they are today.


With limited space and constant pressure, futsal requires players to have improved ball control skills.


Futsal players must always be aware of their space due to the smaller court sizes and the constant movement of the game.


Futsal has more of everything that kids love. More shooting, more goals, more action! Players rotate positions throughout the game, so every player is 100% involved in every game.


With more touches and in smaller settings, the game is much faster and requires futsal players to play with quickness and think much faster.


On average a player has to make 60 decisions in 40 minutes compared to 20 to 40 times in a 90-minute soccer game.


Futsal can be played anywhere – in a gym, court, and even outside.


With limited space and time, futsal players must be more creative with fakes and dribbles – more Jinga!

More 1 v 1 play due to lack of space and quickness.


Futsal rules encourage technical play and do not permit the aggressive physical play that soccer allows.


The game is different, the court is different, the ball is different.  Players get a break from outdoor soccer, while still enhancing their soccer skills

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  • More 1 v 1’s builds individual skill

  • Goalkeeper more active

  • Movement and rotation of players – requires more Team Balance

  • Combination play – requires more team involvement

  • Short accurate passing and faster transitions

  • More passing, receiving and shooting

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  • Higher level of agility, balance, coordination and speed

  • Constant and increased non-stop movement and patterns

  • Increased tempo and intensity of movement



  • Increased awareness and concentration

  • Builds quick decision making

  • Laser Focus required throughout the game

  • Better understanding of the game and tactics required



  • 5 v 5 and rolling subs allow for more player involvement and participation

  • Everyone can play in all positions

  • Better understanding of roles within the team

  • Emphasis on team shape with every player equally important



Pele, Brazil

“In Futsal you need to think and play quick.  It makes it easier for you when move to normal football. 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.”

Ronaldinho, Brazil

“Futsal is extremely important for kids developing skills and understanding.  My touch and dribbling come from playing Futsal. A lot of the moves I make originate from Futsal. It’s played in a very small space, and the ball control is different in Futsal. And to this day, my ball control is pretty similar to a Futsal player’s control. Futsal is an extremely important way for kids to develop their skills and understanding of the game.” 


Lionel Messi, Argentina

“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.”

“My time in Futsal was incredible, decisive in my life.  All players should learn to play soccer by playing Futsal.  I play soccer, but Futsal will always be what I enjoy most. During my childhood in Portugal, all we played growing up was Futsal.  The smaller court helped my footwork skills, the nature of the game made me feel so free when I played.  If it wasn’t for Futsal, I would definitely not be the player I am today.”

Ronaldo, Portugal


Neymar Jr, Brazil

“It definitely helped me to develop a fast game and the Brazilian Smartness.  Futsal had a massive influence on me when I was growing up.  It really helped me develop my technique, speed of thought, and the ability to perform moves in tight spaces.”

Robinho, Brazil

“I started playing Futsal when I was 4 years old and most of the moves I use come from playing Fustal.  I played Futsal until 13 or 14 years of age before I began playing regular football. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and myself all started our careers in Futsal. The majority of players who dribble, who have the ability to play quickly, come from Futsal.”

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Ronaldo, Brazil

"Futsal is how I really got started. This is my love, the thing that I enjoyed most. I needed extremely good feet, because you’re always attempting to beat opponents in the minimum of space. I loved the challenge of playing on such a small pitch.”


Rivelino, Brazil

“When you come to play normal football it’s easier if you’ve come from a Futsal background.”

Zidane, France

“The technique of playing Futsal is different. There are spectacular things you can attempt that wouldn’t dare try in football.”

Xavi, Spain

“In Futsal, you see whether a player is really talented…You notice the small details in quality, class and tactical understanding.”


Zico, Player, Brazil

“Everything I am as a Brazilian player I owe to Futsal”




“Futsal is a game on it’s own.  It may share some similarities to Soccer and even prepare players to play better soccer, the game is different and has established FIFA rules accepted globally:”

  • Each team will have 5 Players on the court at a time

  • Rolling and Unlimited Substitutions

  • Played with a Size 4 Ball that is heavier with a reduced bouncing

  • Court is marked by lines. No walls or boards. (Increasing the needs for skillful passing)

  • Two Referees officiating the game and a Third as a timekeeper

  • Games are 40 minutes long and split in to two 20-minute halves

  • Goalkeepers do not have a goal kick – instead throw in within 4 seconds.

  • Unlike Football/Soccer – the clock is stopped each time the ball goes out of play and restarted (time wasting is not possible)

  • No throw-ins – instead the ball is put back into play with a kick-in and has to be taken with 4 seconds of the player taking possession of the ball to ensure the game moves

  • Goals/Nets are smaller

  • If a team commits 5 fouls during a half, subsequent fouls are given penalty kicks 10m away from the goal




During the sport’s second world championships held in Madrid in 1985, the Spanish name fútbol sala was used. Since then, all other names have been officially and internationally changed to futsal. The naming was due to a dispute between FIFUSA (the predecessor to the AMF) and FIFA over the name of fútbol, FIFUSA has registered the word fut-sal in 1985 (Madrid, Spain). Since then FIFA has also started using the term futsal. (Wikipedia)

Developed in Uruguay, by a teacher named Juan Carlos Ceriani in the 1930s, the game was to be played on a basketball court.  Ceriani took the five-a-side team sizes and 40-minute match duration from basketball, pitch and goal dimensions from handball, and goalkeeper rules from water polo.

The game soon spread throughout South America, where the rules were standardized and the first international confederation was formed in 1965. In 1989, FIFA took over as the sport’s governing body, holding the first edition of its World Cup that January in the Netherlands, Brazil beating the hosts in the final.

The first UEFA tournament came in 1996, won by hosts Spain, and there followed a full UEFA European Futsal Championship in 1999, Russia victorious. Eight teams were involved in those finals; by 2022, there will be a 16-team competition in the Netherlands with 50 of UEFA’s 55 members entering qualifying. A club UEFA Futsal Cup began in 2001/02 and is now the UEFA Futsal Champions League, dovetailing with professional competitions in much of the continent.

Futsal is making waves here in North America. However, as is often the case, Canada is just catching on to what the world already knows. Superior soccer skills are built by simulating the outdoor game indoors, with small sided games and a smaller ball. World famous clubs such as Ajax have used this approach for years.

Futsal has been around for decades but Canadian interest in soccer skill development has only recently focused attention on the training techniques used in successful soccer powerhouses such as Brazil, Holland, Germany, France and Italy. So, Futsal has been around for many years, but interest is just beginning to explode here.