Are You Ready for Some Futsal?

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Hi to all the SI Kids readers out there. My name is Haley Smilow. I am a co-captain of my school’s JV soccer team. Mostly, I play defense. I also play on an AYSO soccer league on the weekends. AYSO is a youth soccer league that plays in the spring and fall across the country. Most of the time I play goalie for my team, Blue Thunder. Last season we were undefeated. I really love playing soccer, but living in New York, I don’t get to play year round. Luckily, my Blue Thunder coaches know about indoor soccer, better known as Futsal. I couldn’t wait to try it.

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Futsal is a fast-paced version of soccer with a couple of twists. One of the major differences is that Futsal is played indoors. The game is played 5 vs. 5 unlike soccer, which is 11 vs. 11. Another big difference is the size of the ball. In soccer we use a size 5 ball, but in Futsal we use a smaller, size 4 ball. There are many differences in the rules as well.

Since soccer fields are so big, there is the offsides rule. But in Futsal, the playing area is smaller, so there is no offsides. Instead of throwing the ball in when it goes out of bounds, there are kick-ins. The game clock between Futsal and soccer is a huge difference. Futsal has two 20-minute halves and the clock can be stopped, while soccer is two 45-minute halves with no clock stoppage. For me as a goalie, one of the major differences is that a goalie doesn’t actually have a goalie kick, but rather throws the ball in instead. Lastly, in soccer there is no time limit on restarts, but in Futsal you only have four seconds to get the ball back in play.

Futsal helps you improve many basic fundamentals. In the game of Futsal you improve your passing and dribbling because you only have five people per team on the pitch at any given time. Also, since the pitch is smaller, you can work on your kicking skills so you will eventually be able to kick the ball farther with more accuracy. Goalkeepers can work on throwing and rolling the ball to teammates with more accuracy. Players learn to think and react quickly and since it is played much quicker than traditional soccer, players learn to react well under pressure. These are just some of the ways that Futsal can help in sharpening your skills.

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Futsal originated in Uruguay in 1930 and was devised by Juan Carlos Ceriani. Its name comes from a combination of the Spanish and Portuguese word for soccer – FUTebol – and the French word for indoors – SALon. It also contains the initials USA. Futsal is very popular in South America, particularly in Brazil. In fact, many professional soccer players, including Pele, developed their skills by playing Futsal. While Futsal continues to be centered in Brazil, it is becoming increasingly more popular in Europe, the U.S., the Carribean, Asia, and Africa.

If you are used to playing traditional soccer and think that Futsal will be the same let me tell you that there is a definite adjustment. Even though it may take time to learn the game and all of the differences, stick with it because it will help make you a better more skillful soccer player. And it sure is a lot of fun.

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