Soccer, or football as it is known in the rest of the world, is not just a popular sport, it is the most popular sport. Given that this intense game is a favorite among so many diverse nations, it is no wonder that many different versions have popped up around the world. While the basic rules of soccer remain the same across the world, there are various types of soccer that are played in different environments, with different rules and regulations. In this article, we will explore the different types of soccer that exist and the unique features that make each one of them special.
Boiling it down to the very basics, soccer is played on a rectangular field with two teams of eleven players each, with the objective of scoring goals by kicking a ball into the opposing team’s goalpost. The only equipment you need is a football and a good pair of shoes.
What Are The Types of Soccer
Soccer can be played in various settings, including indoor courts, outdoor fields, beaches, streets, and arenas. Depending on the setting, different rules and regulations apply. The basic objective is always to kick the ball into the opposing team’s goal area, thus scoring a goal. Goal areas are sized differently with the largest goal in regular soccer.
Winners are declared by counting the number of goals or by assigning points to goals, similar to the scoring system in basketball. The points strategy is most often employed in the case of indoor or arena soccer.
Here are some of the most popular types of soccer:
- Regular (Association) Soccer
- Indoor Soccer
- Arena Soccer
- Beach Football
- Street Football
Let’s shine some light on each of these.
1. Regular (Association) Soccer
Regular soccer, also known as association soccer, is the most widely recognized type of soccer. It is played on a rectangular field with two teams of eleven players each. The objective, of course, is to score goals by kicking the ball into the opposing team’s goalpost.
Regular soccer is played in two halves of 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute break in between. If the game ends in a tie, extra time is added, and if the tie persists, the game goes into a penalty shoot-out.
One of the most significant aspects of regular soccer is that it is played on natural grass or artificial turf. The surface of the field can have a significant impact on the way the game is played, and teams need to adapt their strategies accordingly.
2. Indoor Soccer
Indoor soccer is played inside a closed arena or gymnasium, usually with a smaller field and fewer players than regular soccer. The field is either made of artificial turf or hardwood, and the ball is the same as a regular soccer ball.
Indoor soccer is played with two teams of 5-7 players each, including a goalkeeper. The game is played in two halves of 20 minutes each, with a 10-minute break in between, or 4 intervals of 15 min each with 5 minute breaks. The intervals can change from league to league.
One of the most significant differences between indoor soccer and regular soccer is the presence of walls around the field. Players can use the walls to their advantage by bouncing the ball off them to make passes or take shots.
Indoor soccer can be considered an umbrella term under which come futsal, arena soccer, 5-a-side, 6-a-side, 7-a-side, etc.
Futsal is a form of indoor soccer that originated in Brazil in the 1930s. It is played on a smaller field than regular soccer, typically a basketball court, and with a smaller, heavier ball, which produces less bounce.
Futsal is played with two teams of five players each, including a goalkeeper. The game is played in two halves of 20 minutes each, with a 10-minute break in between.
One thing that sets futsal apart from other indoor soccer versions is the absence of walls around the field. This means that players need to be more precise with their passes and shots, as the ball can easily go out of bounds. Since the smaller field can easily cause the ball to go out of bounds, futsal uses a slightly smaller, and less pressurized ball. This helps in controlling the ball with more accuracy.
Among the various off-shoots of soccer, futsal can be considered as the closest to regular soccer. It is worth noting that Futsal is the only indoor version of soccer recognized by FIFA.
4. Arena Soccer
Arena soccer is a type of indoor soccer played in a smaller field with walls around it. The field is usually made of artificial turf, and the ball is smaller and heavier than regular soccer balls.
Arena soccer is played with two teams of six players each, including a goalkeeper. The game is played in four quarters of 15 minutes each, with a 15-minute break in between.
One of the unique features of arena soccer is the presence of boards around the field. These boards allow players to use them to their advantage by bouncing the ball off them to make passes or take shots. Additionally, arena soccer allows for faster gameplay due to the smaller field size and limited space.
As you may have noticed, arena soccer and indoor soccer are pretty much the same. This is the most popular version of indoor soccer in the US, and the one played in most youth clubs.
5. Beach Football
Beach football, also known as beach soccer, is played on a sandy beach instead of a traditional field. The game is played with two teams of five players each, including a goalkeeper.
Beach football is played in two halves of 12 minutes each, with a three-minute break in between. The ball used in beach football is lighter and softer than regular soccer balls, and the game is often played barefoot. Unlike all other types of soccer, no special footwear is needed.
The sandy surface is the biggest challenge in beach soccer. Players need to run and pass the ball while finding secure purchase. Additionally, the presence of the ocean and wind can add an extra level of difficulty to the game. Despite these difficulties, the fun aspect of the game ensure that it has a steady group of supporters.
6. Street Football
Street football, also known as freestyle football, is a style of soccer that is played on the streets or in a small, confined space. Street football is often played without a goalkeeper and with a smaller ball.
Street football can be played in various settings, including urban areas, parks, and basketball courts. The game is typically played with two teams of two or three players each, and the objective is to score goals by kicking the ball into a makeshift goal or an object that represents a goalpost.
In playing street football the emphasis is on individual skills and creativity. Players often perform tricks and fancy moves to outsmart their opponents, making street football a popular choice for freestyle soccer players. This is the most informal version of soccer, but it is hugely popular in areas where there is a lack of training facilities or sports playgrounds.
Soccer is a global sport, with each type of soccer having its popularity in different regions.
- Regular (association) soccer is popular worldwide, with Europe, South America, and Africa being some of the most soccer-crazy regions.
- Indoor soccer is most popular in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
- Futsal is widely played in South America, Europe, and Asia, with Brazil being the most successful team in international competitions.
- Arena soccer is popular in the United States, with the Major Arena Soccer League being the country’s top professional league.
- Beach football is popular in beach destinations worldwide, with Brazil and Portugal being the most successful teams in international competitions.
- Street football is popular among young people worldwide, with the freestyle football culture thriving in urban areas.
Each type of soccer has its leagues and championships that attract millions of fans worldwide.
Regular (association) soccer has numerous domestic leagues worldwide, including the English Premier League, La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), and the Bundesliga (Germany). The Champions League is one of the most prestigious club tournaments in the world, featuring the top teams from Europe’s domestic leagues.
Indoor soccer has the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) in the United States, with teams like the Baltimore Blast and the San Diego Sockers competing for the championship.
Futsal has the FIFA Futsal World Cup, which is held every four years and features the top national teams from around the world. Futsal also has domestic leagues in several countries, including Brazil, Spain, and Russia.
Arena soccer has the Major Arena Soccer League in the United States, which features teams like the Baltimore Blast, the San Diego Sockers, and the Milwaukee Wave. Arena soccer also has a few international tournaments, including the CONCACAF Futsal Club Championship and the Arena Soccer World Cup.
Beach football has the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which is held every two years and features the top national teams from around the world. Beach football also has domestic leagues in several countries, including Brazil, Portugal, and Russia.
Street football does not have any major leagues or championships but has several freestyle football competitions worldwide, including the Red Bull Street Style and the Super Ball World Open. These competitions showcase individual skills and creativity, with freestyle soccer players performing tricks and fancy moves to impress the judges.
|Type of Soccer||Field Size||Number of Players||Ball Size||Playing Surface||Governing Body||Popular Regions||Major Leagues/Championships|
|Regular (Association) Soccer||300-400 ft x 150-300 ft||11||Size 5||Grass or Artificial Turf||FIFA||Worldwide, with strong followings in Europe, South America, and Africa||FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A|
|Indoor Soccer||200 ft x 85 ft||6||Size 5||Artificial Turf||Various, including US Indoor Soccer Association and Major Arena Soccer League||United States, Canada, Mexico||Major Arena Soccer League, US Open Cup|
|Futsal||131-164 ft x 65-98 ft||5||Size 4||Hardwood or Synthetic Floor||Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)||South America, Europe, Asia||FIFA Futsal World Cup, Brazil Futsal League, Spain Futsal League|
|Arena Soccer||200 ft x 75 ft||6||Size 5||Artificial Turf||Various, including Major Arena Soccer League and Professional Arena Soccer League||United States||Major Arena Soccer League, Arena Soccer World Cup|
|Beech Soccer||98-131 ft x 65-98 ft||5||Size 4||Sand||Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)||Worldwide, with strong followings in Brazil and Portugal||FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Beach Soccer Major Series|
|Street / Freestyle Soccer||Varies||2-3||Varies||Hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt||Various, including Freestyle Football Federation and World Freestyle||Worldwide, with strong followings in urban areas||Red Bull Street Style, Super Ball World Open|
I’ve been an enthusiastic soccer fan since I was a kid. I believe it is the simplicity of soccer that sets it apart from other sports: all you need is a ball and a few friends to start playing. Or perhaps it’s the excitement of watching your favorite team score a last-minute goal and clinch victory. Whatever it is, soccer has an undeniable charm that has made it a staple of sports culture worldwide.
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