What is Futsal?

Futsal is a modified version of football that has the benefit of being played all year long. And while this sport may not be as popular as the football that Cristiano Ronaldo plays, it’s starting to pick up traction among athletes that want something a little different.

How is Futsal Played?

A variant of association football, futsal has minor tweaks to the traditional game. These changes include:

  • Surfaces: A hard surface with delimited lines is the “court” or “field” in which the game is player.
  • Indoor: For the most part, futsal is played indoors on a field that is much smaller than a soccer field. The reason for the smaller field is that there are far fewer players on the field than in a regular football match.
  • Players: There are a total of five players on each opposing side, and one of these players for each team will be the goalkeeper.

These are only the basic differences between futsal and football, but there is a lot more to this game that makes it unique and fun.

Ball Differences

The ball used must be a size 4 with a circumference of 62-64 cm. In terms of weight, the ball will weigh between 400 – 440g at the start of the game and will be dropped from a height of 2m.

Maximum Players

Each side will have a choice of 12 players in which they can substitute freely. Unlike football, futsal allows for an unlimited number of substitutions per game that can be introduced on-the-fly.

The ability to substitute players at any time allows coaches to make quick and often game-changing moves that plays to the strengths of their team.

Match Time

Every match is broken up into two, 20 minute periods. Time will be stopped at a dead ball only. The time in between periods is just 15 minutes. Coaches can call one time-out per half, with each timeout lasting for a period of 60 seconds.

Outside of regulated play, some leagues will have 24-minute periods.

It’s important to note that goalkeepers have a maximum of 4 seconds to get rid of the ball. If the ball is not put back into play by the goalkeeper at this time, the refs have the power to give an indirect kick to the opposing team. Goalkeepers can also play freely if entering the other team’s half of the field.

International matches will require two referees to be played accordingly.

Regulating Bodies

Futsal has become so popular that there are two regulating bodies of the game: FIFA and AMF. These two entities are required to maintain and regulate the official rules of the game. The rules, called the “Laws of the Game,” also define guidelines for local competition and leagues.

The guidelines state what is allowed to be changed when playing on a small scale.

There is an ELO-based ranking system, in which world rankings are provided. The top countries in the world for the sport are:

  1. Brazil
  2. Spain
  3. Russia
  4. Italy

With five people per side, futsal is a game of action and speed while also being much shorter in duration.

The Offside Rule Explained

The offside rule in football is still confusing to many viewers. One of the world’s biggest sports, it only makes sense to better understand the rules of football before watching a match – or playing the game itself.

A few pointers and rules that will help you further understand the offside rule are:

  • If a player is closest to his or her opponent’s goal line than the ball and the second last opponent, they’re offside.

This is a rather basic explanation, and it’s one that everyone should understand.

When a Player is Not Offside

It’s just as important to understand the requirements of a player being offside as it is knowing when a player is not in the offside position. After all, a player is either onside or offside – not both.

A player is not in the offside position when:

  • Players are in their own half of the field – only the opponent’s half.
  • The player is level with the last two opponents or the second last opponent.

There is also no offense offside which can be overlooked during play. These are times when the offside rule is overruled and gameplay is allowed to continue as normal. No offense is granted if the player receives the ball from a:

  • Corner kick
  • Throw-in
  • Goal kick

In all three of these scenarios, the player would not be considered offside, and gameplay would be allowed to proceed.

Essentially, if the player receives the ball from a play, gameplay was stopped and the player was allowed to put the ball back into action, it’s allowed under official rules and the play would not be whistled as an offside.

What Happens When a Player is Offside?

A player that is offside will lose an important opportunity for his or her team. An offside play will result in the referee granting the opposing team a free kick. The free kick will occur at the same place that the original infringing play occurred – something to think about before going offside.

It’s important to note that many referees take harsh criticism from fans that believe offside didn’t occur on a play.

The issue is not with the ref in all circumstances. Angles and line of sight issues are the most common reason for a blatant, offside mishap that is called or not called in some circumstances. While refs have gotten better at properly positioning themselves parallel with the goal line, even the slightest angle can cause confusion and erroneous calls.

Offside, But Not Offside

A player can be offside, but he may not be considered offending the offside rule. This confusion is what causes many viewers to misunderstand offside calls. When it comes to football, or soccer as many call it, a player has the right to be offside on a play and not be called offside.

A player can only be called offside if they’re involved in the play.

The key determining factor is if the offside player is allowing his team to gain an unfair advantage on the play. If the ball is not played by the offending player or a teammate, or the player is not involved in an active play, there will be no offside call on the play.

The Essential Kit for Kids – What Young Players Need to Get Started

You’ve signed your child up for youth football – now what? Getting the right equipment should be at the top of your to-do list. In association football, a kit refers to the standard attire and equipment worn by players. The Laws of the Game detail the minimum kit all players must use. While the kit has evolved over the years, the rules are generally the same whether you’re a youth or an adult player.

What does a kit include?

5 Pieces of Basic Equipment

Under Law 4 of the Laws of the Game, five separate items are listed that all players must wear.

Shirt (or Jersey) and Shorts

Jerseys are typically made of polyester mesh because they don’t trap sweat or body heat. Typically, players in professional clubs wear shirts donning logos sponsor logos, which can generate income for the sponsor. In youth football, this isn’t common, but player numbers will be printed on the back of the shirt just below his or her surname.

Team captains usually wear armbands around their left sleeves to identify themselves as the team’s leader to supporters and the referee.

All players must also wear shorts. Goalkeepers are the only exception to this rule – they can wear tracksuit bottoms if they wish.

No player is allowed to wear a one-piece outfit (shirt and shorts combo). A separate shirt and pair of shorts must be worn.

Socks and Shin Pads

All players are required to wear socks, sometimes referred to as stockings, and shin pads. The shin pads must be covered by the player’s socks, and they must be made of plastic, rubber or a similar material. Shin pads must provide an “adequate degree of protection” to the player.

Footwear

Players typically wear specialty football boots made of either leather or a synthetic material. Most modern boots are cut just below the ankle and have studs attached to the sole. The studs may either be molded or detachable.

It does not matter whether the shoe is made of synthetic material or leather, but leather will require more care. Many players will use a toothbrush to clean their leather boots to keep them looking their best.

Other Equipment

Players, especially goalkeepers, are allowed to wear gloves. It’s rare to see a modern goalkeeper without a pair of gloves on. Many glove advancements have been made over the years, and new models include added protection to prevent fingers from bending backward and protect the palms. Many also have segmentation that allows for greater flexibility in the hands.

Players are also permitted to wear protective headgear to prevent head injuries – provided the gear does not endanger the player or other players.

No jewelry is allowed, and jewelry cannot be covered by tape. The only exception to this rule would be a watch for referees only.

A kit is simple and basic. Jerseys may be provided to youth players and your child may also be required to wear certain colors on their shorts and/or socks. Parents are typically advised of what equipment their children will need prior to starting practice.

 

Big Changes Are Coming for Kids Football

In 2012, The Football Association ratified some major changes to youth football which were recommended by the Youth Development Review. The recommendations, 25 in total, were all based on feedback and research from all across England.

While the proposals covered several key areas of the game, the ratified changes were narrowed down to two main proposals: competition strategy and player pathway.

The goal of these changes is to make the sport more enjoyable for children while improving development.

What Changes Were Made?

The Youth Development Review changes, which were phased in at the start of the 2013-2014 season, are designed to make youth football better for all those involved – both kids and adults.

The “win-at-all-costs” mentality has been replaced with an approach that nurtures development, allowing adults to help children hone their skills in a more upbeat learning environment.

Kids also said they wanted more touches and a pitch that was better suited to their age. The FA listened to the feedback, and implemented some beneficial changes for youth players.

What changes are we seeing?

Player Pathway

One of the most significant changes is in the player pathway. Traditionally, kids jumped from a 7v7 game to an 11v11 game pretty quickly. Transitioning from a 7v7 to an 11v11 format can be difficult and frustrating for some young players, which defeats the whole purpose of youth football.

A new 9v9 format has been introduced to help kids transition from 7v7 to 11v11.

From the 2014-2015 season onward, games will be played using the following formats:

  • Under-7s and Under-8s: 5v5
  • Under-9s and Under-10s: 7v7
  • Under-11s and Under-12s: 9v9
  • Under-13s+: 11v11

Some leagues introduced these changes before they were required, which moved the process along more quickly.

With fewer players on the field, kids get more touches of the ball, which helps them develop their technique. They also get more dribbling opportunities and more chances to shoot on goal. All of these changes allow kids to get more enjoyment out of the game.

Competition Pathway

The FA also implemented new changes to the Competition Pathway, which allows kids to better develop their skills without feeling pressured by adults and parents.

The competition aspect hasn’t been eliminated – kids still play with the intention of winning – but The FA wanted to move away from having adults screaming at children for making mistakes and losing the game.

To prevent this from happening, league tables will no longer be published for Under-9s competitions and lower.

Rather than having one long eight-month season with a single trophy as the prize, there will be three “mini seasons” with a chance to win a trophy at each one’s end.

The ultimate goal with all of these changes is to allow kids to play football without having to adhere to the same rules adults play by. A child-friendly approach allows kids to really enjoy the game while developing their skills to become better players in the future.

The FA will be working with the Football Foundation to help fund the implementation of 9v9 goalposts. Grants equal to 50% of the total costs are available.

The 10 Best Football Boots in 2016

The right pair of football boots can mean the difference between scoring the game-winning goal, and giving the ball up to your opponent. It may sound trivial, but your boots can either give you the traction and acceleration you need to get ahead, or they can leave you behind. We’ve searched far and wide for the best football boots. Here are our top 10 picks:

1.     Under Armour Clutchfit Force

Affordable, lightweight and bright. The Clutchit Force offers excellent control and protection when you have the ball. That’s all thanks to the “second skin” feature that molds to the natural shape of your foot while you move, providing you with support and comfort.

2.     Nike Tiempo Legend V

Tiempos have been around since the 1990s, and their staying power comes with the protection power and comfort they provide. The Tiempo Legend V has a classic look and comes in a wide range of colors.

3.     Adidas Copa Mundial

No football boot list is complete without the Copa Mundial. This iconic shoe was first launched in the late 1970s, and has been a favorite in the sport ever since. Featuring genuine kangaroo leather, these boots are comfortable, and offer excellent feel and control.

4.     Puma King II

Another 90s classic, the King II is the latest version of this famous boot, with improved comfort and a lighter feel. These boots feel like a second skin.

5.     Pantofola d’Oro Lazzarini – SG

Constructed with 100% kangaroo leather, this Italian boot has maintained its classic look since the 1950s. While not as long-lasting as other boots on the list, they offer superb comfort and control.

6.     Adidas Predator Instinct

The Predator is one of the most popular boots – among both amateurs and professional players. These boots were first introduced in the early 90s, and it’s the unique design of the upper that sets the Predator apart from competitors. The rubber strip technology on the top of the boot allows for optimal control.

7.     Nike Magista Obra

The Magista Obra is a bit on the heavy side, but offers more protection while delivering more control and power when you’re in possession of the ball. And its sock-like extension of the upper creates a seamless feel that adds to the overall comfort of this shoe.

8.     Adidas Nitrocharge 1.0

The Nitrocharge is extra-durable, but doesn’t sacrifice on comfort. It comes in a range of colors, including one that glows in the dark, and offers players excellent control of the ball.

Available at an affordable price, the Nitrocharge is a great option for players of all levels.

9.     Nike Mercurial Superfly

The Mercurial Superfly is built for speed, and its eye-catching design is sure to catch people’s attention when you’re out on the field.

The Superfly is exceptionally light, but the nylon upper offers little protection from your opponents.

10. PUMA evoPOWER I

The evoPOWER was designed for accurate shooting and passing on the field, so you can make game-changing moves without missing a beat. These boots also happen to be one of the most comfortable around.