Welcome to the (futsal) Jungle…


Jungle ball, kickball, and canine (K-9) all describe the punt style of play that many (most?) youth soccer clubs play in the U.S. This style of play can even be found in the English Premier League. Teams that lack the imagination and skill to build out of the back often elect to boot the ball as far as possible, bypassing defenders and midfielders who stare skyward as if tracking an orbiting satellite. The 9 then readies for the eternal 50/50 battle with the opposing 3. Sloths fighting over a ripe mango. Futsal, too, has its version of Jungle.

In the foliage of futsal’s Amazonia, you’ll find keepers deliberately throwing the ball out of bounds into the opponent’s half in the hopes their defense will now dispossess and score. Essentially forfeiting one’s offense and choosing to play defense. Pull back the branches a bit farther, and you’ll see keepers heaving the ball to mid-court in the futsal equivalent of a punt. Why bother with technique and tactics when you can plunge into the Jungle and machete away?

Building from the back requires reading the defense, correct decision making from multiple players, and the skill to pass or dribble. This requires lots of training, effort, and patience. It’s not for everybody and thus the Jungle will never lack for trees. But on occasion, a well coached team takes the court. Players play with ideas, good decisions are made under pressure, and there’s movement without the ball. A quality goal worth applauding may even result! At times like this the Jungle’s call becomes a distant whisper. Chaos gives way to control and futsal now becomes a game of probability and less one of chance.


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