Soccer vs Futsal

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16 Differences between Futsal and Soccer

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, although other sports are challenging, it’s still soccer or Football. That’s no debate, especially here on SoccerShopforYou! But Futsal is also a great sport that compliments soccer. It’s like the cousin or younger brother of football.

Although Futsal is related to Soccer and very similar in their own ways, in this post we will take a look at the differences between futsal and soccer. Some are major differences in the sport, while other differences  are very minute.

What is the difference between Futsal and Soccer? What is best to play in the winter, soccer or Futsal? Which sport should my child play as a youth, Futsal or Soccer?

Futsal is still fairly new to many around the globe, however Futsal has been played since it originated in Uruguay in the 1930s. Lets take a look at the differences between futsal vs soccer because I get this question so much.. We can also review the other questions we get about Futsal as mentioned above. If I missed some that you think about, please write them below on the comments and I can keep adding to this article.

Lets take a look at the differences between futsal vs soccer because I get this question so much.. If I missed some that you think about, please write them below on the comments and I can keep adding to this article. Some of the differences between futsal and football need very little, if any, explanation, while others need further content.

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Major Differences between Futsal and Soccer

​1. The ball, it’s a different size, weight, and bounce

I think everyone knows this already. But you should probably know that the senior size futsal ball is actually LIGHTER than the size 5 soccer ball. Did you know that? I had a parent ask me one time if their child should play goalie because the Futsal ball was “heavier” and could hurt their child. I did some research and found that the futsal ball is actually lighter, go figure. Everyone always assumes that the futsal ball is heavier than the size 5 soccer ball, but it’s the opposite.

What about the bounce of the futsal ball compared to the soccer ball? you can read our post about the futsal ball here, but know that the bounce of the soccer ball is drastically different from that of a soccer ball. The futsal ball was actually manufactured and designed  to reduce the bounce. While the soccer ball is bigger and retains more air, the bounce of the soccer ball will definitely be higher.

The leading manufacturers of the futsal ball is also different from that of the soccer ball. The industry leaders in futsal ball design and technology are Penalty, which is a futsal ball manufacturer from Brazil and one of the most popular in the world. Senda Athletics is another great futsal ball manufacturer out of the US. They are known for their Fair Trade Certification. Select is another very good futsal ball company that produce excellent futsal balls. These are just a few, but you can see that we did not mention the  giants of soccer ball production which are Nike and Adidas.

2. What are the numbers in Futsal vs Soccer

11 v 11 for Soccer and 5 v 5 in futsal. Futsal is sometimes referred to as 5-a-side game. One goalie and 4 “field” players. Soccer has 1 goalie, 10 field players.

3. Playing with the Keeper in Futsal vs Soccer

​ Unlimited passes back to the keeper are allowed in soccer, yes I know he can’t pick it up. But in Futsal, you are only allowed ONE pass back to the keeper until you pass the half line. Yes, after the keeper has touched the ball on your half, you cannot play him the ball again, unless the team lose it or the defender touches it. According to the FIFA laws of the game, an indirect free kick is awarded if the goalkeeper touches with any part of his body a back pass that has been played back to him before the ball has (1) crossed the halfway-line or (2) been touched by an opponent.

Another critical piece of the keeper in Futsal vs Soccer is that the keeper can go on the attack in futsal. Futsal teams utilize the goalkeeper as an extra player on the offensive side. Sometimes the goalkeeper is substituted for a field player so that they can press even more. But the majority of the time, the keeper is asked to play with their feet. There was a recent story about David DeGea’s technical abilities as a goal keeper. David DeGea explained that he grew up playing Futsal in Spain, therefore he had to learn how to play with his feet.​​​

3.5 The official size for a Futsal goal is 2 X 3 METERS or 6.5 ft X 9.8 ft

Some say it’s too small, but the futsal goal is a ton of work for goalies since play is constantly in attack. It’s  important to have the correct size futsal goal so that kids learn to play the correct techniques in futsal.  Let’s review the Quick Play Futsal Goal.

4. Substitutions in Futsal vs Soccer

​ Soccer has a limit of 3 substitutions, Futsal has unlimited substitutions, but with a roster limit of 12 futsal players. Although unlimited substitutes is the case in most outdoor soccer leagues throughout the US, FIFA only allows 3 subs for one game. In Futsal, the substitutes are unlimited from youth to adult and professional futsal leagues.

5. Throw-ins in Futsal vs Soccer

​ There are no throw-ins in futsal when playing FIFA rules, you must play the ball back in with your feet once it goes out of bounce. If the ball is played out the end line, the goal “throw” is awarded in Futsal, but not a goal kick. So the keeper must throw it back into play with their hands. Soccer obviously has a million throw ins during the game and the goalkeeper kicks the ball after it goes on the endline.

6. Goal Throws in Futsal vs Soccer

​  As discussed above, There are no “goal kicks” in futsal, however there are “goal clearances” in futsal. The goalie must throw the ball in or drop kick the futsal ball, however the goalie cannot come out of the goalie box with the ball. In soccer the goalie can punt the ball, throw it, or dribble out of the box with the ball. Once a goal kick is awarded in soccer, the goalie can only kick the ball out of the box.

7. Game Clock in Futsal vs Soccer

​ In Futsal, the clock can be stopped during an injury or for other delays. In soccer, the clock does not stop, it’s a “running clock”, but time could be added at the end of the game and it mostly does. In futsal there is no “stoppage time”, besides when the referee stops the clock. Futsal has a 22 Minute half, while Soccer has 45 minute half.

8. Timeouts in Futsal vs Soccer

​ Each team gets one timeout per half in Futsal, but in soccer, there are no timeouts.

9. No shoulder charges allowed in Futsal vs Soccer

​ Futsal is a game of skill and less about strength and power. Although slide tackles were recently allowed into the Futsal leagues by FIFA, shoulder charges are still discouraged. Obviously in soccer there are slide tackles and shoulder charges. That doesn’t mean you can’t challenge a 50/50 ball, you just can’t charge in with your shoulder. Overall the outdoor soccer game is a little more physical as there is more space and more players. This doesn’t mean that the futsal players aren’t tough!

10. 4 Second Restart Rule in Futsal vs Soccer

​ There is no actual restart rule in soccer, although a few yellow cards are handed out by referees for wasting time………..but in Futsal, you MUST restart within 4 seconds of ball going out of bounds or on a goal throw or risk losing the ball to the other team. This helps with the speed of the game. In Soccer the player wasting time (according to the referee) will get a yellow, but maintain possession of the ball.

11. No Offside rule in Futsal vs Soccer

While soccer has the offside rule to discourage cherry picking and encourage  more skills, Futsal does not enforce the off side rule due to the small size of the court. I don’t know this for a fact, but I will assume that it’s true since it would be almost impossible to play in such a small space with offside rules. The futsal court is limited in size and space. There is not much room to make runs.

12. Sent off player can be replaced in Futsal vs Soccer

​ In Futsal, when a player receives a red card, that futsal player sent off can be substituted for after 2 minutes or after the other team has scored. This the complete opposite in Soccer as the player sent off cannot be substituted and the team must play a man down for the rest of the game.

13. Positions if Futsal vs Soccer

Futsal has the Fixo, Pivot, Keeper, and Ala (2). Soccer teams have the Defenders (4),Midfielders (4-5), Forwards (1, 2, or 3 depending on formations, and of course the Keeper.

14. Size and Feel of the Futsal Court vs Soccer Pitch

As mentioned above, the playing dimensions  of the soccer field and futsal court are dramatically different in size, there’s not much to explain there. The playing surfaces are also major differences in the game of futsal and soccer. While futsal is played mostly indoors and on a hard surface, the soccer games are played mostly on grass fields.

15. Action during the game of Futsal vs Soccer

In a futsal game, the game is constant, non stop action.  Both teams are immediately in goal scoring opportunities as soon as they have the ball in possession. In contrast to futsal, the soccer field is much larger and demands that the team in possesion develop an attack. Although there are times when the soccer team may steal a ball and be close to the opponents goal. The  soccer game may also have moments that are slow in pace, which rarely ever happens in a futsal game.

16. Limit of fouls in Futsal vs Soccer

In Futsal, there is a limit of five fouls. Regardless of where the infractions were made, once a team has made 5 infractions, the opposing team gets a penalty shot from the second penalty mark.  In soccer, a player or team may end up wiht a yellow card of numerous fouls, but it’s up to the referee to determine what that number is.

What are your thoughts? Are there any other differences that I missed? Let us know in the comments, would love to get your thoughts!

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