By Sona Walla
Futsal, the quick paced five-a-side game played voraciously by the youth across South America has long been the breeding ground for many of world football’s future superstars. With its origins in the streets of Brazil and Uruguay, Futsal has been formalized over the years and is played today on a small hard court no more than 20×40 meters with a slightly heavier ball. Teams are comprised of four field players and a goalkeeper protecting a much smaller goal similar to the one used in handball. Fast tempo, limited space, constant pressure and rapid transition are the ingredients this dynamic game uses to accelerate the development of young player’s technique and decision-making.
Many past and present football stars such as Messi, Xavi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo all credit Futsal in the acquisition of their highly refined technique and that unique South American swagger they have enchanted the world with. The game’s popularity has grown steadily, spreading to Europe where giants like Barcelona and Real Madrid have incorporated it into their youth academies. Today Futsal even hosts its own World Cup.
In the United States Futsal is also on the rise and winter is a great time for young soccer players to head indoors and indulge in this dynamic game to enhance their technique.