What is futsal?
If you were to name the most entertaining soccer players of all time, who would you choose? Your list would most likely include Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. You might even think of Ronaldinho, Pele, or Neymar. Apart from scoring the most goals and selling the most uniforms, what do these elite players have in common? They all grew up playing futsal and credit it as having been an essential part of their development.
So what is futsal and why is it endorsed by so many top players? Futsal is a variation of small-sided soccer that combines a smaller field, ball, and goals to create a fast paced, technically demanding game that can be played indoors or out. Currently, the best futsal players and leagues are found in South America and Europe. However, the popularity in the States has grown so much recently that 2017 will see the inaugural season of the Professional Futsal League.
At the youth level, the real attraction of futsal is the way it develops players by demanding more technical ability and quick thinking than a full field game might. The smaller fields and ball mean that control and understanding of the game are essential. Players that lack speed or size can find success via quick thinking and a good touch. Similarly, players that do have physical advantages will be forced to develop the other aspects of their game. Also, with only five players on a small field, everyone is involved all the time. In short, futsal provides a great way for players to practice close control, quick decision making, and creativity. Because these are all skills that make a soccer player more dangerous, more intelligent, and more clinical, it is no surprise that so many of the world’s best players started out as futsal players.