Introduction to Futsal
Three words that describe futsal? Fun. Fast. Footwork.
Futsal takes the beautiful game we all love and shrinks it down to the size of a gymnasium basketball court. The other major difference in futsal is the unique characteristics of a futsal ball.
You’ll notice the first time you kick a futsal ball just how different it is from a traditional soccer ball.
But before we get into that, let’s talk about the benefits of futsal for soccer players.
Why Should Soccer Players Play Futsal?
Futsal was created by pulling elements from five sports: soccer, basketball, water polo, and team handball.
The influences from these different sports will challenge you to grow your soccer skills in the off-season in ways that will benefit your outdoor game immensely.
If that isn’t convincing enough, legends of soccer like Messi, Ronaldo, Pele, and Kaka all spent time playing futsal, and cite the experience as helping to develop their talents!
The Benefits of Futsal for Soccer Players
One of the reasons that futsal is used to introduce young and developing athletes to soccer is because the sport is by design much more action-oriented than traditional soccer.
Due to the smaller court size and reduced number of players, everyone must play offense and defense at all times.
Even at the professional soccer level, we’ve all seen Ronaldo or Neymar Jr. lazily track back onto defense. You won’t be able to do that even in recreational futsal, you’ve got to hustle and play both sides of the ball.
Every Skill Required
The non-stop action that futsal requires means that you can’t rely entirely on one skill.
If your shooting is great, but you can’t beat your mark or make an accurate pass, more often than not you’re going to be the one to lose possession.
Futsal will force you to work on the weaker elements of your game, and develop a more well-rounded skill set. With that more well-rounded skill set will come more confidence, and with more confidence: more success!
See the Game Differently
After developing your own personal skills, the next level in any sport is developing your game IQ.
It’s one thing to shoot well, it’s another entirely to know how to position yourself so that you’ll get the opportunity to take the shot. Futsal shrinks the game down to a manageable scale where players can more easily visualize how to attack space.
That knowledge will carry over onto the soccer pitch and allow you to see new ways of maintaining possession while setting up your best opportunity to score.
What Makes a Futsal Ball Different?
To the eye, futsal balls and soccer balls look identical. If you play soccer, the first tip that you’re looking at a Futsal ball is its size. Futsal balls are smaller than standard size 5 soccer balls.
But the size of a futsal ball is only half the story. The secret behind the difference between a futsal ball is on the inside.
If you cut open a soccer ball the inside will just have the air bladder and the stitch-side of the casing. If you cut open a futsal ball, you have those same two elements, but between them is typically foam or padding.
This additional foam or padding does three things:
- Adds weight to the futsal ball
- Reduces the bounce of the futsal ball
- Changes the flight of the futsal ball
The heavier weight, reduced bounce, and dampened flight characteristics are what make futsal different from indoor soccer. For example, “bending it” or “curling” or “curving” a shot into the top corner or upper 90 is considered to be one of the perfect shots on goal for soccer. A futsal ball flies in a much more direct straight line than a soccer ball does.
To illustrate our point: Here’s a highlight of the top 10 goals from the FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2012, only 1 of the top 10 goals is from a shot curved into the top corner.
Check out the best goals of 2021 as well!
The ball’s unique characteristics combined with the small sides and court are what give futsal its magic as a sport.
How to Get Started in Futsal
The most important step to getting started in futsal is making sure you select the right futsal ball for you.
Here’s a list to keep in mind regarding the differences between a futsal ball vs soccer ball:
- Futsal balls are designed for low bounce and fly differently through the air than traditional soccer balls.
- Futsal balls are generally smaller than soccer balls, but both come in multiple sizes.
- Most futsal balls are made for indoor use while most soccer balls are designed for outdoor use.
Now that those general differences are covered, here are a few ways to make sure you select the right size.
Need a pump? Check out Soccer Ball Pumps, Reviews & Usage Guide
Sizes of Futsal Balls
Futsal balls come in three sizes: size 2, size 3, and size 4. Size 4 is considered the official FIFA futsal ball size and must have a circumference between 24.61 inches and 25 inches.
If it’s easier to remember you can also categorize futsal ball size by age. Size 2 is for ages 7 and under. Size 3 is for ages 8 to 12, and Size 4 is for ages 13 and up.
|Size 2||50 – 55 cm||270 – 330 g||7 and under|
|Size 3||55 – 59 cm||350 – 370 g||8 – 12 years old|
|Size 4||62 – 64 cm||400 – 440 g||13+ years old|
Best Futsal Balls
Now that you’re all set to select the best size for your game, let’s take a look at some of your best options when buying a futsal ball.
Select has been setting the standards for soccer balls since they first started stitching them in 1947. The Danish company makes nearly 3 million balls a year, and ships to over 50 countries!
So it’s no surprise that Select futsal balls are a top-quality option whether you’re looking for a practice or match ball.
Fifa certified the Select Futsal Superball is considered the gold standard by players all over the world thanks to its unique shiny 1.9 mm PU synthetic leather surface which enhances the ball’s speed and touch off of your foot. Trust us, these futsal balls absolutely glide over the hard court.
If you want to use the gear the pros use, you can’t go wrong choosing a Select futsal ball. Coaching a team? Select has discounts for buying futsal balls in bulk as well.
- FIFA & USA Futsal Approved
- Hand-Sewn 32 Panel Technology
- Optimal Bounce and Speed
- Premium Materials and Manufacturing
- Indoor Use Only
- Ships Deflated – You’ll Need a Pump
While every company on this list makes futsal balls, Senda’s first goal isn’t selling futsal balls, but growing the game of futsal in the United States.
Senda has set out to make affordable training and match futsal balls to encourage participation in the sport at all ages, and is actually the official partner of U.S. Youth Futsal!
Senda’s positive influence doesn’t stop there, all of Senda’s futsal balls are fair trade certified— meaning no child labor is used, health and safety regulations are followed, living wages are paid to employees, and part of the proceeds go back to the communities where the balls are produced.
Because they make a high-quality product at an affordable price and put the sport before profits, Senda is our pick for Editor’s Choice.
- Precision Machine Stitched for uniform shape and stronger seams
- Durable cover with special foam backing for a soft touch
- Reinforced bladder for extended air retention
- Fair Trade Certified & US Youth Futsal Official Partner
- Affordable training and match futsal ball options.
- Not a match ball
- Not Fifa Certified
- No textured surface, less grip
This futsal ball from American Challenge is the first one on our list that is optimized for play on grass fields!
Not only that, this ball has some of the most fun high-visibility colors to choose from with choices such as: lemon, blueberry, lime, orange, and even raspberry! We think our favorite color is lemon, but orange is also really nice. Each ball also has a swirl pattern that looks great in motion when you’re passing it around.
Overall, this ball is a great entry-level option at an extremely economical price.
- Stylish Color Options
- Optimized for Grass Use
- Durable 3.25mm TPU Casing
- Can be Damaged from Indoor Use
- Will Mark Easily from Turf Use
- Heavier, Less Responsive
Baden produces sports equipment of all kinds, and that extra expertise shows in their futsal practice balls.
Baden’s indoor practice ball features 4-ply lamination so that the ball casing holds up all season while the internal rubber bladder is wound for better air and shape retention. Everyone knows one of the quickest ways to ruin the fun is having to play with a lopsided ball.
If you need to bring your own futsal ball to practice, this one is a great addition to your bag.
- US Futsal Federation Approved
- Machine-Stitched 4 Ply Laminated Synthetic Leather
- Truer Flight and Better Control
- Great Practice Option
- Limited Color Options
- Dated Design
- Not Match Quality
If you’re just as interested in indoor futsal as outdoor futsal, the Franklin Sports Futsal ball is a great option for you.
Designed to be used on grass, turf, and indoors, this ball lets you take your game just about anywhere! High-visibility color casing design means that no matter the surface your eyes won’t struggle to keep track of the ball.
The junior size of this Franklin Futsal ball meets the recognized standards for Official Junior Futsal ball size, weight, and bounce. So if you’re a young player and this is the beginning of your futsal journey, making your first ball a Franklin is a solid choice.
- Indoor and Outdoor Use
- High-visibility Design is Easy to See On All Surfaces
- Meets Junior Futsal Standards
- Excellent Touch and Feel
- Soft Casing is Less Durable
- Only available in sizes 3 and 4
- Not Match Quality
Last Pass on Futsal Balls
While we had fun reviewing each of these futsal balls, the clear winner in our minds is the Senda Rio Premium futsal ball.
Senda offers players options in both training and matches quality futsal balls at competitive prices while doing everything it can to further futsal in the States. The growth of futsal means more futsal for everyone, and that’s too good to pass up!
Senda’s dedication to the sport, Fair Trade Certification, B Corporation Certification, and Official partnership with U.S. Youth Futsal sets the example for how sports equipment companies can produce a top-tier product while growing the game and positively influencing the industry.