A few years ago, futsal in the Bay Area was largely regarded as a fun, quirky version of mini soccer. Parent led teams would enter local leagues in the Winter and it was thought the sport would maintain the previous season’s soccer skills. Futsal was mostly a book marker, holding the page until spring soccer came around. Yep, fun, quirky, and parent led.
Things are now changing. Once indifferent club soccer coaches generally agree futsal is good for technique. Once distant rumors that Pelé, Ronaldinho, and Neymar grew up on the sport are now accepted as fact. Instead of just maintaining soccer technique, futsal is now seen as an enhancer and creator of skill. And those that are really in the know declare that futsal is the incubator of all Brazilian soccer glory. Without futsal the legends of Brazilian soccer would never exist. And who are these in the know people? Well, none other than Pelé, Ronaldinho, and Neymar. And while we’re collecting Brazilian endorsements like wild strawberries, let’s put Socrates, Ronaldo, and Zico into the basket, too. All claim futsal as the foundation for their soccer glory. And less we come off as being too regional, let’s not forget Maradona & Messi. Both claim futsal as a major influence as well.
So here in the U.S. we’ve gone from fun and quirky to futsal is great for technique. However, the next step will be when futsal is regarded as fun, great for technique, and excellent for tactical awareness. Frequent 2v1 & 3v2 situations, when and where to pass & move, and how to involve the keeper as an offensive weapon, are just a few of the many decisions that need to be solved under pressure and time constraints. Perhaps this is why like in basketball, futsal players are able to process lots of information and churn out solutions. Even the fastest soccer game cannot match the slowest futsal game in terms of solving complex problems under playing duress.
Rob Bell – BUSC Director of Futsal & Author of Winning Futsal: Secrets to Success in the Youth Game