3 responses

  1. Keith Robertson
    July 22, 2006

    Just found this site and felt I had to comment on your post. I refereed my first football game at the age of 8, in Scotland (it was at a birthday party). I disallowed a goal because a player was “too close to the goal.” I didn’t know it was called offside, I just knew it was wrong to stand there and wait for the ball. So did all the players, except one – guess who!

    Offside is not a difficult concept to understand and the sooner players learn what it is all about, the better. However, if you really have to implement that, why not adapt traditional Scottish indoor five-a-side rules? In case you are not familiar with this version of the sport it consists of a field of 40yds x 20yds, goals 4ft high and 12ft or so wide and a goal area (20ft diameter semi-circle) which no-one except the goalkeeper can enter. Played indoors, there is a height restriction – the ball cannot travel any more than 5 or 6 feet off the floor, so teamwork is essential to winning. In my experience this game is best at U-12 or younger. At older age-groups it can get rather physical.

    Sorry if I’ve just written about a version of the game you already play. I’m not sure if this version ever made it out of the UK.

  2. Soccer Dad
    July 22, 2006

    Sounds like Futsal which is definitely catching on here. The hard part is outside of large cities, finding indoor courts to play on is difficult. Basketball has a hammer lock on the gyms in the winter and often at other times. It has become a lot harder to rent gyms at the schools. I’m hoping in a few years our league can get a small Futsal program going in the summer or winter.

    Glad you stumbled on our site – hope you enjoy it!

  3. Keith Robertson
    July 23, 2006

    I’d heard of Futsal but, having grown up with traditional five-a-side football in Scotland, I never paid it much attention, to be honest. I just looked at the USFF website and read the rules. Once again, FIFA has spoilt a perfectly good game. So far as I can see, the two critical differences between Futsal and traditional “fives” are that in traditional “fives” the goalkeeper is the only one of either team allowed in the penalty area. So goal-poaching is, for all practical purposes, eliminated. Secondly, the height restriction (which can easily be modified to suit the ability of the players) requires that players pass the ball and develop close control skills.

    The game can be adapted for outdoors use (including the height restriction) – I refereed a few of those tournaments in both Scotland and England. You just need a few spare balls on hand until the players develop control skills! The field markings would also need to be adapted (ie, the penalty area)

    The big problem I can see is that this game might have difficulty getting sanctioned for competitive play by the State Association because it deviates from Futsal rules.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents’ worth. I hope its given some food for thought.

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