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What is Futsal?

With NorCal Premier Soccer set to introduce futsal to its competition calendar next year, we decided to delve deeper into what futsal is and what benefits it will provide to youth soccer players all across the state.

A five-on-five, fast-paced variation on soccer, futsal was first invented in South America in the 1930s.

The sport uses a heavier and smaller ball and is played on a hard surface roughly the size of a basketball court. Unlike indoor soccer, there are no walls with futsal and the ball can travel out of bounds, forcing players into a more game-like situation in the small confines provided.

For decades youth players in South America got their start in soccer by playing futsal, the game has spread globally in the past few decades, with FIFA staging the first men’s Futsal World Cup in 1989 and the first Women’s Futsal World Tournament in 2010.

Proponents of the sport credit it for helping develop close control, dribbling, and quick passing skills thanks to the conditions the sport is played under.

Several world class players like Lionel Messi and Xavi cite playing futsal as one of the key components of their development.

“Futsal helps a lot because you need to think quickly,” Brazilian superstar Neymar told in 2020. “It’s a more dynamic game and today in Europe, there’s not much space so you need to think quicker and futsal has helped me a lot with that. Futsal is one of my passions.”

Added retired Brazilian legend Ronaldo: “I needed extremely good feet (to play futsal), because you’re always attempting to beat opponents in the minimum of space. I loved the challenge of playing on such a small pitch.”

For more information about NorCal’s future futsal competition plans, click here.