By Lindenberg Junior
Futsal is a different kind of soccer, played in an indoor court with each team having five players (one goalkeeper + 4) and certain specific rules. It is a kind of soccer that requires refined techniques such as dribbling in small spaces, and reveals players’ specialization in fast dribbles, good ball protection, game view and constant scoring, as well as a fundamental teamwork.
Futsal was created around 1930, and two countries, Brazil and Uruguay, consider themselves the pioneers of the sport. In both countries, the game was originated by the Association of Young Christians. It is generally agreed that indoor soccer (the sport’s original name) first emerged in Brazil because of the lack of soccer fields in Sao Paulo. The first organized Futsal league was created in Rio de Janeiro, which since its formation, has been competing with the Sao Paulo league for the sport’s hegemony in Brazil.
Many celebrities Brazilian players such as Pele, Zico, Leonardo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos and more recently Robinho began their careers in Futsal. In 1966 the first Futsal leagues in USA were organized, revealing the growing popularity of the sport. Today Futsal is played everywhere in the world, with high level championships, and rules unified by FIFA (International Soccer Association Federation). The popularity of the sport has steadily grown in levels that have never been imagined before, but have now become pure reality.
Living in Los Angeles, Brazilian soccer and futsal coach Flavio Ribeiro states “Futsal is soccer in it’s purest form and is widely recognized as the ideal arena for learning to play soccer”. In 2004 soccer star Lionel Messi said “ As a little boy in Argentina I played futsal on the streets. It was a tremendous fun and it really help me become who I am today”.