Winter makes it difficult for people to play soccer outdoors. This is one of the major reasons why indoor versions of the game, such as indoor soccer and futsal, exist.
Although futsal and indoor soccer may seem similar at first, there are several significant differences between them.
The main difference between indoor soccer and futsal is that indoor soccer is played on grass in an indoor area using a standard ball, while futsal is played on a hard court using a special low-bounce ball.
The length of a futsal game is different from a game of indoor soccer, also. A futsal game lasts for 40 minutes, and an indoor soccer game lasts for 60 minutes.
This contrast between the two games adds a unique interest to each version of soccer.
But these are not the only differences between indoor soccer and futsal.
Keep reading, and I’ll show you more differences between the two.
The Differences Between Indoor Soccer and Futsal
Here are the differences between indoor soccer and futsal:
|Field Surface||Grass (real or artificial)||Any hard surface|
|Field Size||200 x 85 feet (61 x 26 m) (recommended dimensions)||Maximum: 138 x 82 ft (42 x 25 m)|
Minimum: 125 x 66 ft (38 x 20 m)
|Number of Players||5 outfield players and 1 goalkeeper||4 outfield players and 1 goalkeeper|
|Ball Type||Regular soccer ball||A small ball with a low bounce|
|Game Duration||60 minutes (in four 15-minute quarters)||40 minutes (in two 20-minute halves)|
|Facilities||Indoor soccer field||Hard surface area such as a basketball court (can be played indoors or outdoors)|
|Substitutions||Unlimited substitutions||Unlimited substitutions|
Futsal and indoor soccer are equally fun and challenging sports. I definitely enjoy playing both.
They both help improve overall athletic ability, coordination, and intelligence.
While they have similarities, indoor soccer, and futsal have many differences, as seen above.
Let’s dive deeper into those differences:
As the name suggests, indoor soccer is only played indoors.
The sport was originally designed for venues where it is too cold to play outdoors throughout the winter.
Indoor soccer is played on an artificial grass surface (turf) on a small field. The recommended dimensions of an indoor soccer field are 200 x 85 feet (61 x 26 m), but the field can sometimes be a little bigger or smaller depending on the specific location.
Goals are also smaller compared to those of regular outdoor soccer.
Additionally, these fields are surrounded by a wall, with netting above and around the walls and ceiling.
Indoor soccer teams are relatively small; they are composed of 5 field players and a goalkeeper. However, if the team consists of younger children, you might find six outfield players.
The positions and roles of players in indoor soccer are affected by the size of the team.
The duration of this indoor soccer is also different from futsal. Indoor soccer games are broken up into two 30-minute halves or four 15-minute quarters, with a total duration of 60 minutes.
Unlimited substitutions may occur throughout the game during play or stoppages. Substituted players must be off the field of play before their replacement enters the field.
Stoppages in indoor soccer usually occur when the ball goes off the field, when the ball hits the ceiling when a foul occurs, when a goal is scored, or when a period ends.
There are also no offsides in indoor soccer.
Indoor soccer is also not FIFA-regulated; it’s a version of its own with modified rules.
Futsal has an even smaller field than indoor soccer. A futsal field can be 138 x 82 feet (42 x 25 m) at its biggest and 125 x 66 ft (38 x 20 m) at its smallest.
Futsal is played on hard surfaces, typically basketball courts. There is also no netting surrounding the walls or ceiling.
Futsal teams consist of 5 players, 4 of which are outfield players, and 1 is a goalkeeper. Substitutions can happen at any moment during the game and are unlimited.
Like indoor soccer, stoppages in futsal usually happen when the ball goes over the touch or end line, a foul occurs, a goal is scored, or the period ends.
Futsal games are 40 minutes long, divided into two halves that are 20 minutes long each.
Additionally, futsal is FIFA-regulated, unlike indoor soccer.
One of the most notable differences between futsal and indoor soccer is the ball used. The futsal ball is a low-bounce ball smaller than a regular soccer ball.
The aspects of a futsal ball are designed to develop players’ skills, build their confidence in tight passes, and teach them how to have good control of the ball.
Indoor Soccer vs. Futsal Rules
Now that you know the general differences between the two games, you probably won’t be too surprised to learn that each has a similar but subtly different set of rules.
Thankfully, these rules are pretty easy to follow and understand.
I’ll explain each of them now, but for a fuller picture, check out my guide to the rules of indoor soccer.
Indoor Soccer Rules
The rules of indoor soccer are simple and easy to learn. These games are played at a quick pace and have a unique set of rules.
Each indoor soccer game takes 60 minutes in total and is divided into four quarters. Each quarter lasts for 15 minutes.
Between the first, second, third, and fourth quarters, there are two 3-minute breaks. You also get a 15-minute halftime between the second and third quarters.
Here are four more indoor soccer rules:
- Infinite Substitutions – You don’t get a limit on substitutions with indoor soccer. Substitutions can be made throughout the game. However, rules can differ depending on what league you’re in.
- The “Three Line Indoor Soccer Rule” – Players are not permitted to kick the ball from one end of the field over three lines without having it contact the ground. This stops lengthy shots at the goal taken from a long distance.
- Kick-Offs and Kick-Ins Are Indirect – From a kick-off or kick-in, the ball must touch an offensive player before a goal can be scored. This is classified as an indirect kick. Indoor soccer uses kick-ins rather than throw-ons, and the ball must be placed no more than 10 inches behind the line, and the player must kick the ball within 5 seconds. The non-kicking foot of the player must be on the line or outside the box.
- No Offside – There is no offside rule in indoor soccer.
Check out this recent indoor soccer game between the US and Mexico to see how the players implement the rules of indoor soccer.
As I mentioned earlier, Futsal is a game of 2 halves of 20 minutes each, meaning the whole game is 40 minutes long.
This is a considerably short time, so to avoid time-wasting, the clock is stopped every time a stoppage occurs. It resumes when the game starts again.
This is a significant difference between both indoor soccer and outdoor soccer, where the clock runs continuously.
In futsal, each team is allowed a one-minute time-out for each half of the game. If one team does not use up their time-out in the first half, they can’t use it in the second half; they still only get one minute in the second half.
It’s also important to note that time-outs are not allowed in extra time.
Here are some more futsal rules:
- Unlimited substitutions – There is no limit to the number of substitutions made during a game. They can be brought on at any time.
- No Goals From Free Kicks – You can’t score from a direct free kick in Futsal like you can in outdoor soccer.
- No Goalkeeper Punts – The ball must stay below head height. Otherwise, the referee will award the other team a free kick and possession.
- No Slide Tackles – Players are not allowed to slide tackle but are allowed to slide on the field to stop the ball from going out of play or to stop the ball from going into their goal. The tackler’s opponent must be in control of the ball for sliding to be deemed a foul.
- Players That Have Been Sent off Can Be Replaced – When a player gets sent off, there is a mandatory two-minute penalty following their replacement. However, if the player’s team scores a goal after they have been sent off, the replacement can go on the field before the two minutes are up.
- Goalkeepers Can Touch the Ball With Their Hands Inside the Penalty Area – Goalkeepers can hold the ball with their hands in the penalty area, but they have to play it to a teammate within four seconds. This goes for whether the goalkeeper has the ball in their hands or at their feet.
- No Offside – There is no offside rule in futsal.
This video is also helpful in understanding the rules of futsal.
Pros and Cons of Indoor Soccer and Futsal
Indoor soccer and futsal are both excellent ways for a player to increase their tactical awareness and fitness. They also help players learn new skills and how to work with teams.
However, there are pros and cons specific to each version of the game.
Indoor Soccer Pros and Cons
Kicking the ball against a wall to get past a defender is a clever move that is entertaining to do and see. The ability to use walls to your advantage gives the game a new depth. Walls may be used for passing, evading defenders, and even scoring goals.
Easier for Goalkeepers
Indoor soccer fields have a soft, artificial grass surface. The soft surface makes it easier for beginner goalies to learn to dive and stop the ball.
Odd Blocking Angles
Because of the walls, shots in indoor soccer can come from a greater variety of angles. Goalies who play indoor soccer frequently can develop habits and abilities that aren’t beneficial for outdoor soccer.
Futsal Pros and Cons
Good Ball Control
The low-bouncing ball that is used for futsal makes players get used to dribbling without continuous bounce. This helps players develop skills that can help them with outdoor soccer. It also prevents them from forming bad habits.
No Wall to Bounce the Ball Off
Since the ball can freely get out of the field, the players in futsal tend to avoid making careless passes.
Less Time in the Game
Futsal games only last for 40 minutes, and since the ball can go out of play, players can spend less time in the game. This reduces the time they get to develop their skills and techniques on the field.
While futsal and indoor soccer are different, they are both enjoyable sports to play or watch.
They are both a variation of soccer played on a smaller field with fewer players, making them ideal for those who don’t have access to outdoor fields or many players.
For more information, find out why indoor soccer uses a blue card or if a player should wear regular soccer cleats for indoor soccer.