Indoor soccer or arena soccer (known internationally as indoor football, minifootball, fast football, floorball or showball), is a game derived from association football adapted for play in a walled indoor arena. Indoor soccer, as it is most often known in the United States and Canada, was originally developed in these two countries as a way to play soccer during the winter months, when snow would make outdoor play difficult. In those countries, gymnasiums are adapted for indoor soccer play. In other countries the game is played in either indoor or outdoor arenas surrounded by walls, and is referred to by different names (such as fast football (futbol rapido) in Mexico, showbol in South America, and indoor football (futbol indoor) in Spain).
Indoor soccer has different regulations from other versions of association football designed for indoor play, such as futsal and five-a-side football. Unlike futsal, which is played on wooden or ceramic surfaces, indoor soccer is played on synthetic turf (or, in the case of the British Masters Football variety, synthetic carpet). Indoor soccer courts are delimited by walls instead of lines, and there are no player throw-ins.
FIFA, the international body that oversees international association football competitions, does not sanction the synthetic turf version of indoor soccer, having developed its own code of indoor football (which they refer to as futsal).
Indoor soccer is most popular in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, with several amateur, collegiate and professional leagues functioning. While internationally less popular than futsal, indoor soccer is also played at the league level in many countries outside North America. The World Minifootball Federation (WMF) is the governing body of indoor soccer at the international level, having replaced the International Fast Football Federation (FIFRA).
The term minifootball, which was originally coined in Europe, has been adopted by the WMF as a standard international name for the sport.
|Team members||5–6 per side (including goalkeeper)|
|Mixed gender||No, separate competitions|
|Type||Team sport, ball sport|
|Venue||Indoor soccer field|
Indoor soccer is played throughout the world. Currently, the international federation dedicated to promoting the sport is the World Minifootball Federation (WMF) based in the Czech Republic. The WMF replaced the International Fast Football Federation (FIFRA), which had been based in Mexico and later, the United States. There are also regional federations who govern the sport including: African Minifootball Federation (AMF), Asian Minifootball Confederation (AMC), Confederacion Panamericana de Minifutbol (CPM), European Minifootball Federation (EMF), Oceania Minifootball Federation (OMF).
During its existence, FIFRA organized several indoor soccer tournaments for national teams, including the Indoor Soccer World Championship. The only edition of this tournament took place in Mexico in 1997. No other indoor soccer world championship was held until 2015, when the WMF organized the first WMF World Cup in the United States. The second WMF World Cup took place in Tunisia in 2017. A world cup for Under-21 players was held in Prague in 2018, with the Czech team taking the title.
Star Sixes, an indoor six-a-side football tournament for national teams from around the world, was held in the O2 Arena in London in 2017. Held outside the auspices of the WMF (and with different rules), this tournament featured players which formerly participated in the association football national teams of their home countries. A total of twelve teams participated, with France winning the title. It is intended to make Star Sixes a recurring event. A second edition took place in 2019, with England winning the title.
Indoor soccer is a common sport in the United States and especially Canada, with both amateur and professional leagues, due to the short season for outdoor soccer in Canada and the Northern United States, and the ubiquity of arenas built for ice hockey and basketball which can easily be converted to indoor soccer (similar reasons as to why indoor lacrosse is more popular in Canada, field lacrosse in the United States). It is especially popular in Northern Canada due to the often unplayable outdoor conditions and its appearance in the Arctic Winter Games.
Indoor soccer or futbol rapido has also become a popular sport in Mexico, being included as part of the Universiada (University National Games) and the CONADEIP (Private School Tournament), in which university school teams from all over Mexico compete. In Mexico, "indoor" soccer fields are frequently built outdoors (though indoor courts are also used in some tournaments). In 2012 an eight-team indoor soccer league was launched, which consists of former professional association football players from Liga MX.
Indoor soccer is known in Brazil as showbol, with several current regional leagues. Formal national leagues have also formed in Bolivia, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador and Peru. However, the most common variation of indoor soccer played in Brazil is Futsal.
Indoor soccer is also played in several European countries. In the United Kingdom, Masters Football is the most well-known competition. Tournaments among Masters teams (consisting of veteran former players from professional 11-a-side teams from each country) are regularly played. In Spain, some over-30 ex-professionals represent their clubs in the Liga Fertiberia which plays a five-a-side variant.
The European indoor soccer federation, known as the European Minifootball Federation (EMF), organizes the European Minifootball Championship (miniEURO) every year and in recent years countries have established official national minifootball associations to help them further organize and develop it. EMF organize variations of six-a-side football and this could come in different shapes and sizes from a large custom-built facility with multiple pitches or even an 11-a-side pitch temporarily split into smaller pitches. This is not to be confused with the term used in Russia and some other former Soviet countries, where the term mini-football is used to describe futsal.
Rules vary between governing bodies, but some of the nearly universal rule deviations from association football include:
Beyond these common threads, the sport is structured according to the idiosyncrasies of individual leagues. Most of these rules are adopted from other arena sports like ice hockey. Below is a listing of some of the more common ones:
Media related to Indoor soccer at Wikimedia Commons2012–13 Major Indoor Soccer League season
The 2012–13 Major Indoor Soccer League season is the second under the United Soccer Leagues banner, fourth under the MISL name, and the fifth season overall. It is also the 35 season of professional Division 1 indoor soccer. The season started on November 2, 2012 and ended on March 3, 2013.American Indoor Soccer League
The American Indoor Soccer League was a semi-professional indoor soccer league founded in 2003 and folded in 2008.Baltimore Blast
The Baltimore Blast is an American professional indoor soccer team based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The team is a part of the Major Arena Soccer League.The team has won 9 championships since it was founded in 1992. The Blast announced in August 2017 that starting with the 2017-2018 season, home games would be played at Towson University's SECU Arena. The Blast previously played at Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore. Team colors are red and gold and their current head coach is Danny Kelly.Continental Indoor Soccer League
The Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) was a professional indoor soccer league that played from 1993 to 1997.Dallas Tornado
The Dallas Tornado was a soccer team based in Dallas that played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1967 to 1981. Of the twelve teams that comprised the USA in 1967, the Tornado franchise played the longest–15 seasons.
Their home fields were Cotton Bowl (1967–1968), P.C. Cobb Stadium (1969), Franklin Field (1970–1971), Texas Stadium (1972–1975, 1980–1981) and Ownby Stadium on the SMU campus (1976–1979). The club played Indoor soccer at Reunion Arena for one season (1980–81), and hosted the two-day 1975 Regionals at Fair Park Coliseum.Eastern Indoor Soccer League
The Eastern Indoor Soccer League was an American professional regional indoor soccer league. The league featured teams from the Southeastern United States. The regular seasons were played from May to August with post-season play in September. The EISL lasted two seasons before folding.Major Arena Soccer League
The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) is a North American indoor soccer league representing the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world. The MASL features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States, Canada and Mexico.Major Arena Soccer League 2
The Major Arena Soccer League 2 (M2) is a North American indoor soccer league that serves as the developmental league of the Major Arena Soccer League.Major Indoor Soccer League (1978–92)
The Major Indoor Soccer League, known in its final two seasons as the Major Soccer League, was an indoor soccer league in the United States that played matches from fall 1978 to spring 1992.Major Indoor Soccer League (2001–08)
The Major Indoor Soccer League was the top professional indoor soccer league in the United States. The league was a member of both the United States Soccer Federation and FIFA. The MISL had replaced the NPSL which folded in 2001. According to MISL.net, the league ceased operations as of May 31, 2008. "We are considering structural changes that will bring us greater efficiencies, while also allowing long term growth and expansion of the League", said John Hantz, former Chairman of the MISL, and Owner/Operator of the Detroit Ignition. All the teams from MISL went to the new indoor leagues: NISL, PASL and the XSL. The NISL and XSL used the same playing rules as the MISL.Major Indoor Soccer League (2008–14)
The Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), originally known as the National Indoor Soccer League, was a professional indoor soccer league which began play in 2008. It was the third league to be known as the Major Indoor Soccer League after the MISL I and MISL II. The MISL name is arguably the most recognizable name in indoor soccer due to its history dating back to 1978. The league name and assets are currently owned by the United Soccer Leagues. The departure of six teams which joined the Professional Arena Soccer League (now the Major Arena Soccer League) after the 2013–14 season effectively ended the MISL.Milwaukee Wave
The Milwaukee Wave is an American professional indoor soccer team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded in 1984, they have been the oldest continuously operating professional soccer team in the United States and are the current champions of the Major Arena Soccer League.The team plays their games at the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena. The team colors are black, neon yellow and white.National Professional Soccer League (1984–2001)
The National Professional Soccer League was a professional indoor soccer league in the USA and Canada. It was originally called the American Indoor Soccer Association.Premier Arena Soccer League
The Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL) is an indoor soccer league with amateur and semi-professional teams. PASL currently has four divisions across North America. The PASL was previously known as the Federation of Sports Arenas (FSA).Teams play in regional competition to keep travel costs to a minimum. The champion of each region then compete in a playoff tournament to decide the league champion.
PASL currently runs a men's winter and summer league as well as women's summer league. The winter league starts in December and ends in March. The summer league runs from May through early August.
PASL is an affiliated member of the Confederación Panamericana de Minifutbol.San Diego Sockers (1978–96)
The San Diego Sockers were a soccer and indoor soccer team based in San Diego, California. The team played in the indoor and outdoor editions of the North American Soccer League (NASL) until 1984 as well as the original Major Indoor Soccer League and CISL. The franchise folded in 1996 and was the last surviving NASL franchise.
The Sockers are considered the most successful indoor soccer team to play the sport. They made the playoffs in all but one of their 16 seasons of play as an indoor soccer team.United States national arena soccer team
The United States national arena soccer team is the Indoor soccer team that represents the United States at international competitions. It is affiliated with Confederación Panamericana de Minifutbol (CPM) and the World Minifootball Federation (WMF). The first international arena match played by the U.S. National Arena Soccer Team was in July 2008 in Montreal, Canada where Mexico defeated the United States 6–4. The first international arena soccer match in the United States was held in July 2009 at NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, Texas. The United States won the inaugural WMF World Cup in 2015 after going undefeated in group play defeating Germany and Romania in the knockout rounds en route to the final and prevailing over Mexico 5–3 in the final. Goalkeeper Danny Waltman was named tournament MVP. The team will also be participating in the 2017 WMF World Cup to be held in Tunisia.Western Indoor Soccer League
The Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) is an American semi-professional indoor soccer league. It was formed on June 20, 2014 by a group of arena/team owners in the Pacific Northwest. The WISL began its first season on November 15, 2014 with five teams.Many of the founding clubs previously competed in the Premier Arena Soccer League.World Indoor Soccer League
The World Indoor Soccer League (WISL) was a United States-based indoor soccer league that existed from 1998 to 2001 and consisted of nine teams.Xtreme Soccer League
The Xtreme Soccer League (XSL) was an indoor soccer league that began play in December 2008. Four teams from the former Major Indoor Soccer League participated in the first XSL season: the Chicago Storm, Detroit Ignition, Milwaukee Wave, and New Jersey Ironmen. Other former MISL teams joined the National Indoor Soccer League or Professional Arena Soccer League.
The XSL officially launched on September 16, 2008, with a press conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Brian Loftin was the XSL's commissioner. Each team played a 20-game schedule beginning in December and ending in late March. There were no playoffs.On December 3, 2008, the XSL announced that Brine would supply the Triumph X 600 as the official match ball.
Citing economic trouble, the XSL folded in July 2009. Although the league officially called it a one-year hiatus, the league never resumed play.
|Stick and ball sports|