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Intramurals kick into gear (University of Victoria)

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Futsal is one of the newest sports aiming to make its way into UVic intramural sports

A few weeks ago I stood in a rather long line-up at McKinnon gym waiting to collect the schedule and waiver for the volleyball team I am participating in this year. Looking around the room I saw the massive line-up for soccer. I continued to scan the room, and then saw another sign labeled “futsal.” I did a double take — what the heck is futsal?

By: Jenny Boychuk

Courtesy: The Martlet.ca

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Futsal is a sport very similar to soccer, although it requires great precision and superb ball control. The sport is most often played indoors on a smooth, flat surface and is comparable to indoor soccer.

However, while playing futsal you are not allowed to play the ball off of the walls or boards. There are lines marked on the floor itself, and like outdoor soccer you must keep the ball within the lines — easy enough on grass, but on a gym floor?

The futsal ball is much like a soccer ball except it’s one regulation size smaller than a regular soccer ball, and it doesn’t bounce as much as a regular soccer ball. Rules in futsal are also comparable to soccer rules. Red and yellow cards are used when a misconduct occurs.

Futsal is all about fluidity. There are five players on each team on the floor at a time. However, substitutes may occur at any time — even when the ball is still in play.

This makes the sport about quick-thinking and strategy. If it is clear that one player is on the brink of a breakaway, and the fastest player on the team is currently on the sideline, he/she can quickly sub-off another player and continue with the flow of the game.

So, if the sport is so comparable to soccer, why not just call it another variation of indoor soccer? The key difference between the two is boundary and ball control. In regular soccer, the ball can be sent up the field as an easy set up for a breakaway and then perhaps a goal.

Futsal, however, is all about the footwork. A player must work to get the ball off the floor, with quick touches and movements on the ball in order to get around defenders and keep the ball from going out of bounds — all without the friction of grass.

Futsal has in fact been around (officially) since the early 1900s, and as a soccer player myself, I still cannot believe that I didn’t know that such an exciting sport existed.