futsal vs indoor soccer

Futsal vs Indoor Soccer (7 Differences You Need to Know)

Indoor soccer and futsal are two variations of soccer that have become increasingly popular. While they share similarities as fast-paced and high-energy games played indoors, there are important distinctions that set these two sports apart.

In this article, we will explore the differences between indoor soccer and futsal. From the basic rules of the game to how the game is played, we will explore these differences so that you can better understand these sports. So, without further ado, let us dive into the futsal vs indoor soccer differences.

General Differences Between Futsal and Indoor Soccer

FutsalIndoor Soccer
Playing SurfaceHard court without wallsArtificial Turf with walls
Playing Field SizeMinimum length 25 m x 16 m, maximum length 42 m x 25 mMinimum length 175 ft, maximum length 210 ft; minimum width 75 ft, maximum width 100 ft
Ball SizeSize 4Size 4
Number of Players5 Players per team (including the goalkeeper)6 Players per team (including the goalkeeper)
Out-of-boundsBall must stay in play at all timesBall can go out of bounds (with boundaries)
SubstitutionsUnlimited substitutions (on-the-fly)Unlimited substitutions (In stoppage)
Game DurationFour quarters, 12-15 minutes eachTwo halves, 20 minutes each

1. Playing Surface

Dribbling in futsal

Futsal is played on a hard court without walls, providing a dynamic and fast-paced playing environment. The absence of walls requires players to rely on their control and agility to keep the ball in play and execute precise passes and shots. The hard court surface promotes quick movements and encourages players to develop their technical skills. 

On the other hand, indoor soccer takes place on artificial turf with walls surrounding the field. The presence of walls allows for unique strategic plays, such as rebounding the ball off the walls to create scoring opportunities. The artificial turf surface provides a consistent and predictable playing surface, allowing players to focus on their speed and power.

2. Playing Field Size

futsal field size

In terms of playing field size, futsal offers a range of dimensions. The minimum length can vary from 25 meters by 16 meters to a maximum length of 42 meters by 25 meters. This flexibility allows for adjustments based on available space and competition regulations. The compact size of the futsal field promotes fast-paced and intense gameplay, requiring players to make quick decisions and exhibit excellent close ball control. 

On the other hand, indoor soccer fields have standardized dimensions. The minimum length of an indoor soccer field is 175 feet, while the maximum length is 210 feet. The minimum width is 75 feet, and the maximum width is 100 feet. The larger playing area in indoor soccer allows for more room to maneuver and encourages players to utilize their speed and athleticism to cover the field effectively.

3. Ball Size

Both futsal and indoor soccer utilize the same ball size, which is Size 4. In outdoor soccer, the standard ball size is 5. However, in indoor soccer and futsal, the ball size is slightly smaller, promoting better ball control and precise passing in the confined indoor environment. 

The smaller ball size enhances the technical aspect of the game, requiring players to adapt their skills to the reduced space and faster pace of the indoor game.

4. Number of Players

players playing futsal

Futsal and indoor soccer differ in the number of players on each team. In futsal, each team consists of five players, including the goalkeeper. The smaller team size encourages increased involvement of each player, fostering a greater reliance on individual skill and creativity. 

On the other hand, indoor soccer teams consist of six players, including the goalkeeper. The additional player allows for slightly more strategic positioning and provides a balance between teamwork and individual contributions. Both formats emphasize teamwork and coordination but with slight variations in player numbers.

5. Out-of-bounds

One of the notable distinctions between futsal and indoor soccer lies in the rules regarding out-of-bounds play. In futsal, the ball must always stay in play, with no designated boundaries or walls. If the ball goes out of play, it is quickly put back into action through a kick-in or a kick-off. The continuous play and absence of stoppages maintain the game’s high tempo and intensity. 

Conversely, indoor soccer permits the ball to go out of bounds, as the playing field is usually surrounded by walls. Players can use the walls strategically to their advantage, bouncing the ball off them for passes or shots. Out-of-bounds situations in indoor soccer often involve throw-ins or restarts, providing tactical opportunities for teams to regain possession or launch attacks.

In the debate of futsal vs indoor soccer, this might just be the most prominent distinction.

6. Substitutions

soccer ref showing player substitutions

Substitution rules differ between futsal and indoor soccer. In futsal, teams have the flexibility of unlimited substitutions, and they can be made on-the-fly during the game. This allows for continuous player rotations and fresh legs on the court, ensuring high intensity and maintaining optimal performance. 

On the contrary, indoor soccer follows a stoppage-based substitution system. Teams can make unlimited substitutions, but they can only be made during designated stoppages in play, such as after a goal is scored or during a timeout. This substitution format provides teams with strategic opportunities to adjust their tactics and introduce players with specific skills to influence the game.

7. Game Duration

Futsal and indoor soccer also differ in terms of game duration. In futsal, the game is divided into four quarters, with each quarter lasting between 12 to 15 minutes. This division into quarters allows for short breaks and tactical adjustments between periods. On the other hand, indoor soccer follows a two-halves format, with each half typically lasting 20 minutes. 

The longer halves in indoor soccer accommodate the larger playing field and provide teams with more time to develop their strategies and execute their game plans effectively. The game duration in both formats ensures fast-paced action and keeps players and spectators engaged throughout the match.

Technical Differences Between Indoor Soccer and Futsal

kids playing indoor soccer

When it comes to the technical side of things, indoor soccer and futsal each have their own distinct flavor. Futsal is all about showcasing your ball control skills, nifty footwork, and lightning-quick passes. With a smaller ball and a smaller playing area, futsal players have to be on top of their game when it comes to close control, precision passing, and making split-second decisions.

On the other hand, indoor soccer takes a slightly different approach. It’s a bit more physical, where strength and power come into play alongside technical abilities. The larger playing area in indoor soccer allows for more room to stretch your legs, long passes, and even some aerial action. It’s a game where players can use their physicality to shield the ball, win those aerial duels, and create scoring opportunities.

So, you see, while both sports demand technical skills, they have their own unique twist. Futsal is all about finesse, quick thinking, and tight control, while indoor soccer combines technical prowess with a dash of physicality to create an exciting and dynamic playing style. Being aware of these technical differences is crucial for players who want to shine in either futsal or indoor soccer, as each game presents its own set of challenges and requires different skill sets to conquer.

If you’re looking to improve your game as an indoor soccer player, make sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Indoor Soccer.

Is Futsal Better than Indoor Soccer?

One notable aspect to consider when comparing futsal and indoor soccer is the recognition and popularity of futsal on a global scale. Futsal holds the distinction of being recognized by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the international governing body for football. This recognition has elevated the status of futsal and contributed to its growing popularity worldwide.

FIFA’s endorsement has led to the establishment of official futsal tournaments, including the FIFA Futsal World Cup, which showcases the best futsal talent from around the globe. The involvement of FIFA has also spurred the development of futsal at grassroots levels, with many countries actively promoting futsal as a way to nurture technical skills and player development.

While indoor soccer has its dedicated fan base and local leagues, futsal recognition by FIFA has undoubtedly propelled its popularity and attracted attention from both players and enthusiasts. The increased exposure, international competitions, and structured development pathways associated with futsal have contributed to its growth and solidified its position as a prominent indoor football format.

That being said, it’s important to note that popularity alone does not necessarily determine which sport is “better.” The preference between futsal and indoor soccer remains subjective and dependent on individual preferences, playing styles, and regional popularity. Both sports offer unique experiences and opportunities for players to showcase their skills and passion for indoor football.


In conclusion, futsal and indoor soccer offer distinct experiences in the realm of indoor football. Futsal’s focus on ball control and quick decision-making, along with its recognition by FIFA, has contributed to its global popularity. Meanwhile, indoor soccer combines technical finesse with physicality in a larger playing area. 

The choice between the two depends on personal preferences and desired playing style. Ultimately, both sports provide thrilling opportunities for players to showcase their skills and enjoy the excitement of indoor football.

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