Futsal vs Soccer: How Futsal Complements Soccer

futsal vs soccer

Futsal and Soccer(aka football) are two sports that require excellent footwork, teamwork, and strategy. While the physical components of the two are similar, they differ in their rules and style of play. Futsal offers a unique variation on traditional soccer. It’s played with smaller teams and goals that can help players develop better skills for outdoor matches. In this article, we’re gonna compare futsal vs soccer so you can see the differences and how they complement each other.

What is Futsal?

Futsal is a football-based game played on a hardcourt, kind of like a basketball court and mostly played indoors! Basically it’s indoor soccer.

It’s a dynamic and exciting sport that not only serves as a variation of soccer but also acts as a tool for skill development for soccer players. Its emphasis on technical skills and quick decision-making provides a unique and valuable experience for players.

Futsal vs Soccer: What Are The Differences?

futsal vs soccer

Origins and History

  • Futsal: Originating in Uruguay in the 1930s, futsal was developed by Juan Carlos Ceriani as a version of soccer for youth competitions in YMCAs. It quickly gained popularity in South America and later spread across the world. So, in September 1933, they went ahead and published a rule book for the new sport.
  • Soccer: Also known as football in most parts of the world, soccer has ancient origins, with early forms of the game traced back to various civilizations including ancient China, Greece, and Rome. The modern form of soccer as we know it began in England in the 19th century.

Playing Area

  • Futsal: Played indoors on a hard court surface, smaller than a soccer field. In fact, the court size was originally developed for basketball courts. Usually played with indoor soccer shoes.
  • Soccer: Played on a grass or artificial turf field, the game is typically outdoors and played on a much larger size. Standard field dimensions can vary, but a typical professional soccer field might be around 100-110 meters in length and 64-75 meters in width. Usually played with soccer cleats.

Team Size

  • Futsal: Five (5) players a side, including the goalkeeper.
  • Soccer: Eleven (11) players a side, including the goalkeeper.


  • Futsal: The game is typically split into two (2) halves, each lasting 20 minutes with a running clock, except during time-outs or when the ball goes out of play.
  • Soccer: Ninety minutes divided into two (2) halves of 45 minutes each, with stoppage time added at the discretion of the referee.


  • Futsal: Uses a smaller (size 3 or 4), less bouncy soccer ball.

Rules And Gameplay

  • Futsal: Emphasizes ball control and passing in small spaces. There are no walls, so players can’t play the ball off boundaries like in some indoor soccer variations. There’s also a 4-second rule for restarts and unlimited substitutions.
  • Soccer: Played on a larger field with a primary focus on both short and long passes, team formations, and more tactical gameplay. Substitutions are limited.

Global Reach

  • Futsal: While futsal has grown tremendously, especially in countries like Brazil, Spain, and Portugal, its global reach is still developing compared to soccer.
  • Soccer: Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, with billions of fans spanning every continent.

Development and Skills

  • Futsal: Many believe futsal helps in refining skills because of the smaller playing space and faster pace. Players like Ronaldinho, Pelé, and Lionel Messi have attributed their ball control and footwork to playing futsal in their younger years.
  • Soccer: Soccer, given its global reach, has myriad development programs, academies, and clubs around the world. Each focusing on cultivating skills, tactics, and physical conditioning.


While futsal vs soccer have many differences, they also complement each other wonderfully. Many young players use futsal as a training tool to enhance their soccer skills. And some soccer players even transition to futsal to refine specific aspects of their game.

Regardless of the differences, both sports showcase the beauty of teamwork, strategy, and the magic that can happen when a foot meets a ball. =)

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