Futsal and soccer are popular sports, and they both enjoy a massive fan following all over the world. Even though Soccer is more mainstream, Futsal is also governed by FIFA and has been steadily gaining recognition and growing in popularity. The sport is known for its fast-paced and exciting nature that requires skillful play and precise ball control. In fact, it is believed that many popular footballers used to play indoor Futsal at some stage in their career to improve their skills and perform at their best in professional Football. Already started to draw Futsal vs Soccer comparisons?
Well, the two sports are somewhat similar to each other but there are distinct differences between Futsal and indoor soccer that set them apart. Several aspects of Futsal make it a more exciting and fun sport than traditional field soccer. To give you the full picture, here we have drawn a complete comparison of the two sports, outlining their similarities and differences. Let’s check them out!
Similarities Between Soccer and Futsal
Yes, while the two sports are distinct and have obvious differences, they do have quite a few similarities as well. So, before we get into the differences between Futsal and Soccer, let’s discuss the similarities first.
First and foremost, the names of the two sports are quite similar, as soccer is generally referred to as Football. But there are similarities beyond that as well. Here we have listed a few of them.
- Both sports are played with a ball
- The two sports are played between two teams
- The teams playing the game have to score goals – more than the opposition to win
- FIFA governs both Futsal and Soccer and has set forth the rules and guidelines to play the sport
- Teams participating in official competitions must comply with all the FIFA regulations
- Unofficial matches and tournaments for both sports can be organized with rules agreed between the participants
- The players wear the same kit, comprising a shirt and a short
- The teams must wear distinct colors for easy identification of their players on the field
- Both sports have goals guarded by a goalkeeper who tries to keep the opposition players from scoring
- In both sports, only the goalkeepers are allowed to catch the ball or touch it with their hands inside a certain perimeter
- Outside the perimeter defined for goalkeepers, they must act like other players and can only use their heads or feet to touch the ball
Due to these similarities between soccer and Futsal, and the fast-paced nature of Futsal, many soccer players often choose to play Futsal to improve their skill and stamina. It helps them perform better when they take the large soccer field and make a name for themselves.
Difference Between Futsal and Soccer
You’d say if soccer and Futsal have all the similarities above, what’s the difference between Futsal and Indoor Soccer? Or Soccer, for that matter! Well, there are many things that set the two sports apart and make Futsal much more exciting and fun, both for players and fans alike. Let’s run you through them one by one.
1. Field Type
The primary difference between the two sports is that a turf or large outdoor field is used for playing Soccer, whereas Futsal is played on a smaller court indoors. Furthermore, the Futsal courts are hard surfaces, more like basketball courts.
2. Court Size
Generally, soccer fields are 75 x 120 yards. On the contrary, Futsal courts are smaller in size. The standard Futsal field dimensions are 42 x 25 meters. The smaller court size significantly impacts the pace of the game, making Futsal matches much faster and more thrilling. Due to the smaller space, the ball quickly moves from one end line to the other.
3. Goal Size
The size of the goals is kept smaller in Futsal than in soccer to match the smaller size of the Futsal courts. The standard Futsal goal size is 2 x 3 meters (height x width). On the contrary, soccer goals tend to be 2.4 meters high and 7.3 meters wide. The smaller size of the Futsal goals makes the sport more challenging as you need quite a bit of skill to get the ball past the goalkeeper and score a goal.
4. Ball Size
The size of a Futsal ball is smaller than the one used to play Soccer. Generally, a size 5 standard ball is used in soccer games. These balls are made to bounce off the surface. On the contrary, Futsal balls are smaller in size and denser in nature. Generally, Futsal games are played with a size 4 ball that offers 30% less bounce off the surface. It is tailor-made for indoor Futsal courts.
5. Futsal Positions
Futsal positions are generally different from the ones in field soccer. Obviously, here you have only 5 players on the court compared to 11 in soccer. The typical Futsal positions include goalkeeper, fixo, ALA (right and left winger), and pivot.
6. Substitution Rules
Futsal rules and regulations are also somewhat different from those that apply to soccer games, especially the substitution rules. In soccer, each team is allowed to make 3-5 substitutes, depending on the tournament or league rules. Unlike soccer, teams can have unlimited substitutions in Futsal matches. The substitutes are allowed to take the court anytime during the game from the substitution zone designated for this purpose. However, the team management must ensure only five players are on the court at any point during play.
7. Number of Players
As pitch size is smaller in Futsal, fewer players are allowed to take the court from each side. Contrary to the typical eleven players a side in soccer, Futsal matches have just five players in each team, including the goalkeeper.
8. Offside Rules
Another major difference between Futsal and Soccer is the offside rule. In soccer, if an attacker has already crossed the defenders when the ball is passed to him, he is considered offside, and the defending team is awarded a free kick. But there is no such rule in Futsal, and it helps keep the pace of the game high. Forward players in Futsal are allowed to close in on the goal as much as they like, giving them better opportunities to score a goal.
In soccer, when a player sends the ball out of play, the opposing team is awarded a “Throw In” to resume play. In the case of Futsal, however, there are kick-ins instead of throw-ins.
10. Stopped Clock and Half Length
In Futsal games, the clock timer stops every time the ball goes out of play, eliminating the need for stoppage time at the end of each half. While there is no extra time for stoppages, the half length is also shorter in Futsal games. Contrary to the typical 45-minute periods of play in soccer, the halves in Futsal matches are only 20 minutes in length.
11. Restarts Have a Time Limit
Futsal games have a limit on restart time once the ball goes out of play. The players must resume play as soon as the ball goes out. If they fail to start play in the limited time allowed, they’re called out. Typically, this time limit is only four seconds. Contrary to this, soccer players take their time before throwing the ball in, slowing down the pace of the game at will.
These differences between Futsal vs Soccer make them two distinct sports, and also add the element of excitement and thrill to Futsal. In fact, only the pace of the game in Futsal is enough to make it more thrilling, requiring Futsal players to have a lot of skill to outperform their opponents. This opportunity to improve skills and the nature of the challenge Futsal throws at players due to the smaller Futsal court size often draws top soccer players to play Futsal.
Futsal vs Soccer – Which is Harder?
When comparing the two sports, one question often pops up – is Futsal harder than soccer? Well, there can’t be a single definitive answer to this.
The answer primarily depends on the individual skills of the players and their strengths. Some players may find it a bit more challenging to play on a smaller Futsal court with a heavier ball. For others the larger soccer field may present a challenge, and a lighter ball will be harder to control.
What’s more challenging in Futsal?
Due to the smaller player area in Futsal games, the managers are more demanding and expect players to give their ultimate best to outperform the opposition. Due to the smaller Futsal field dimensions, and the players closer to each other, Futsal requires better ball skills and the ability to maneuver past the opponents, pass the ball around, and score goals.
Similar to the Futsal field dimensions, the Futsal goal size is relatively smaller as well, allowing the goalkeeper to easily cover it. As a result, it becomes harder for the attackers to score goals. Therefore, no single player can turn out to be the match-winner.
Are Futsal Players Good Soccer Players?
Futsal can be a great way to quickly improve your soccer skills. Due to the fast-paced nature of the sport played on a smaller Futsal court, it forces players to focus on various small-ball techniques and helps them improve their skills.
So, it goes without saying that Futsal can help players enhance their soccer skills. The quick decision-making, precise ball control, and fast-paced maneuvers required in a Futsal game can result in improved performance when playing traditional soccer on a larger field and with ample time for decision-making.
Besides, Futsal is a more challenging and fun sport that allows for better player engagement and training focus. Probably, that’s the reason why top Footballers like Iniesta, Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, and Ronaldinho played Futsal at some stage in their career.
Futsal and Soccer are different sports, but when you draw a Futsal vs Soccer comparison, you find many similarities between Soccer and Futsal. Both sports are played with a ball, and the players strive to score a goal on the opposition in both the games. Besides, they both require players to have solid ball skills and the ability to perform maneuvers to get past the opponents. Despite all these similarities, however, the two sports are different.
When it comes to the difference between Futsal and indoor soccer, you have a long list of differences that makes Futsal far more challenging and exciting to play. The smaller Futsal court, faster pace, fewer players on the field, no offsides, quick kick-ins, and the smaller, low-bounce ball all add to the challenge of Futsal. Futsal is not only far more exciting and fun than traditional field soccer, it can be a way for soccer players to improve their ball skills and stamina, running back and forth in a fast-paced game. Probably that’s the reason why many top soccer players used to play Futsal at some stage in their careers.