History of Futsal

Futsal is the FIFA-recognized form of small-pitch indoor football or, soccer. The word “Futsal” contraction of the Spanish “fútbol sala”. At first, it originated in Uruguay in 1930. After that, futsal quickly gained popularity all over South America and Europe. It was officially recognized by FIFA in 1989.

Futsal has its own set of rules, including a limit on team size. Over the years, it has had a strong association with street football and the development of young players. It continues to grow in popularity and is now played & enjoyed by millions of people around the globe.

History of Futsal beginning

An Overview: History of Futsal

  • Futsal originated in the 1930s in Uruguay as an indoor game. This was necessary as full-sized pitches were not always available.
  • Juan Carlos Ceriani, a Uruguayan teacher, developed the early format and rules to promote technical skills for it.
  • In 1933, Ceriani founded the first organized futsal league called “Liga Metropolitana de Fútbol de Salón” in Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • The sport gained popularity in Uruguay and Brazil initially as both countries contributed to its growth and development.
  • Over time, the name evolved from “indoor football” to “futsal” after receiving endorsement from FIFA in the late 1980s.
  • FIFA established global statutes and launched the first Futsal World Cup tournament in 1989.
  • Since then, futsal has expanded internationally with tournaments organized by FIFA and other governing bodies.
  • The name “futsal” is now universally recognized all over the world.

History of the name of “Futsal”

The name of the indoor sport “futsal” provides insight into its origins. It is derived from the Spanish words “fútbol” meaning football, and “sala” referring to an indoor room or space.

In Uruguay, futsal was first referred to as “ftbol de salón.” It first appeared there and directly translates to “indoor football.” This reflects its evolution. It’s an indoor substitute for the traditional outdoor game. The game is mostly popular in South America.

In the mid-twentieth century, the sport became popular on a global scale. The name has been shortened to “futsal” for global simplicity. In 1989, FIFA officially recognized and governed futsal.

FIFA created standard futsal rules and regulations. The term is now used consistently around the world. They aided futsal’s rise in popularity at both the professional and grassroots levels across the globe.

When did Futsal start?

The origins of futsal can be traced back to Uruguay in the 1930s. The game was originally referred to as “indoor football” or “five-a-side football” as it was played on basketball courts. Juan Carlos Ceriani, a coach from Uruguay, sought to develop a version of football that could be played indoors in a condensed format.

In 1930, Ceriani organized the first official futsal matches in Montevideo. The games became popular throughout Uruguay. They provided a way for people to play football during the winter months while outdoor fields were closed. Brazil quickly adopted the sport. As an indoor game, it grew. Smaller teams and court dimensions were implemented.

Through the 20th century, futsal spread across South America and competitive leagues emerged. In particular, Brazilian clubs and national teams dominated internationally. The Soccer Football Association of Uruguay was the first to adopt an organized ruleset and governance structure for futsal.

How Did Futsal Start in the US?

In the early 1980s, futsal was brought to the United States. The United States Futsal Association is in charge of the sport in the country. It was started in 1981 and became a legal organization in 1983, with Osvaldo Garcia as its first president. Futsal is also called mini-soccer, 5-a-side football, futbol sala, and futebol de salao, but “Futsal” remains the widely recognized trademark name.

The United States made its international debut in futsal in 1984, recording a victory against Canada. The following year, in 1985, the U.S. team achieved their first home win against Australia. Since then, U.S. Futsal has been organizing an annual national championship to promote and develop the sport domestically.

Various youth programs were established in the late 1980s to foster the growth of futsal among young players. These programs were created through partnerships between U.S. Futsal and organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization). Additionally, collaboration between USYSA (United States Youth Soccer Association) and U.S. Futsal in 1995 and 1999 helped promote futsal nationwide through state associations. 

Futsal has gained popularity in the United States. International tournaments, national championships, and development programs have contributed to its recognition and expansion throughout the country.


Futsal’s Olympic Journey

Futsal’s journey towards the Olympic Games began with its inclusion in the Summer Youth Olympic Games held in Buenos Aires in 2018. This marked the first time that futsal was featured on the Olympic program, replacing the 11-a-side football format that was previously contested in the Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

At the Buenos Aires in 2018, the futsal tournament consisted of 10 teams in both the men’s and women’s categories in the Youth Olympic Games. Each team comprised 10 players, with five players in the match and five substitutes. The matches were played in two 20-minute periods, showcasing the fast-paced and skillful nature of futsal.

It was significant not only because it marked its Olympic debut but also because it was the first-ever FIFA women’s futsal tournament. The tournament featured a total of 24 matches, with an impressive 226 goals scored, averaging 9.42 goals per match.

While futsal’s presence in the Olympics has been limited to the Youth Olympic Games thus far, its inclusion in Buenos Aires 2018 was an important step. It was gaining recognition and exposure on the Olympic stage. This milestone has fueled hopes that futsal may continue to progress and potentially be considered for inclusion in the senior Olympic Games in the future.


Futsal is the official version of indoor football that is recognized by FIFA. Its history has been enriched since 1930. Since it first started, it has become one of the most well-liked indoor activities globally. After gaining recognition from FIFA in 1989, futsal has been steadily gaining popularity.

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