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Indoor soccer

From Academic Kids

This article is primarily regarding indoor soccer as played in North America. Indoor soccer may also be used as a generic term for versions of soccer played indoors; See futsal and five-a-side football for similar games.

Indoor soccer is a game derived from association football (soccer), adapted for play in an indoor arena such as a turf-covered hockey arena or skating rink.

Indoor soccer is a somewhat common (though not extremely popular) sport in the United States, with both amateur and professional leagues dedicated to it. It is also played outside of the US, however most indoor play outside of North America involves the FIFA-sanctioned game of futsal in which the ball is not allowed to carom off of boards surrounding the playing surface and still remain in play as in indoor soccer, and which has only five active players per team.

Rules vary between governing bodies, but some of the nearly universal rules are:

  • The arena. Virtually all indoor soccer arenas are rectangular or oblong in shape, with turf floors. In many collegiate intramural leagues, the game may be played on basketball courts, in which case the floor is hardwood. Walls at least six feet tall bound the arena. Ceiling heights vary. Arena sizes are generally smaller than association football pitches, and the goals are recessed into the walls. Goals are also smaller than standard association football and generally the goalie box is smaller.
  • The team. Virtually all indoor soccer games are played with six active players per team, one of which is the goalkeeper. Substitute players are permitted.
  • Play off of walls. The ball may be struck in such a way that it contacts one or more walls without penalty or stoppage. If the ball flies over the walls or contacts the ceiling, play is stopped and the team that did not most recently touch the ball is awarded a free kick at the location where the ball left the arena or contacted the ceiling.
  • Relaxed contact rules. Standard contact rules generally apply (i.e. contact must be made during a play on the ball, no charging with hands or elbows, no charging from behind, etc). However, there is a culture surrounding indoor soccer that sees it as a "tougher" version of the sport, and many referees take a relaxed attitude toward fouls related to contact. Many leagues ban the use of the slide tackle, though such techniques are less useful on turf or wood than they are on a slick pitch.
  • No offsides. Most leagues play without an offsides rule.

Beyond these common threads, the sport is structured according to the idiosyncrasies of individual leagues. Virtually all of these rules are adopted from other arena sports like hockey. Below is a listing of some of the more common ones:

  • Substitution. Many leagues allow substitution while the game is in progress, provided that one player leaves the arena before another steps on. A minority of leagues require substitution in shifts.
  • Cards. In addition to the traditional yellow and red cards of association football, some leagues include a card of a third color (blue is a common color) or another form of warning before the issuance of a yellow card. Often, leagues with a third card include a penalty box rule, and issuance of this third card requires the penalized player to sit in the box for a prescribed period of time during which his or her team plays shorthanded. In leagues using the traditional card system, it's common for the yellow card to carry with it a penalty box rule.
  • Zones. Because of short fields and walls surrounding the goal, a common tactic is to attempt to score at kickoff by shooting at the goal and charging at the goal with all five non-goalkeeper players who overwhelm the other team's defense and score at close range. As this depletes the tactics and drama of the game, many leagues have adopted a hockey-like zone rule, requiring that the ball not cross more than a certain forward distance toward the goal without being touched by a player.
  • The ball. For leagues that play on hardwood, the ball is generally covered with suede or a similar non-marking covering. The ball is generally bouncier and harder to control.
  • The crease. Some leagues enforce a special zone inside the goalkeeper's box called the crease. No player may shoot the ball from inside the crease unless that player entered the crease already having the ball.
  • Multi-point scoring. Some leagues value goals scored from a greater distance to be worth two or three points, similar to basketball. Sometimes, leagues with a multi-point system also use a rule that a minor technical infracion gives the non-offending team a one-on-one opportunity to score on the opposing goalkeeper, worth one point.

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