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5-a-Side Soccer Taking Korea by Storm

Posted August. 11, 2006 04:41,   


Ronaldinho, Pele, Zico, Bebeto…What do football stars with great skills have in common?

They developed basic skills in childhood by playing Futsal.

Futsal is an indoor sport. Five players play the sport in a stadium, the size of a basketball court. Futsal comes from a Spanish word, “Futbol de salon.” Worldwide, 25 million people and 200,000 Koreans enjoy the sport.

Some 50 members of “Gangdong Futsal” played the sport at night on artificial grass on August 8. The members range from elementary school students to men in their 50s.

What is it about Futsal that excites people?

It seemingly looks like a football. However, the members of Futsal clubs do not like the idea of Futsal being similar to football. They say, “Futsal is more interesting than football.”

Lee Jong-joon, director of Gangdong Futsal said, “Futsal has the rule of football, but it is smaller, faster, and freer.” Those who are into Futsal may find football boring.

The stadium is 20 by 40 meters, less than half of football stadium of 68 by 105 meters. In the small stadium, five players on a team play the sport. Up to seven players for changes are allowed. The playing time of the first and the second half is 20 minutes respectively. At least 20 points are scored.

Fights and tackles are banned. There is no offside. Therefore, Futsal is more offensive and players can display their skills to the fullest. Han Dae-hoon (39) said, “When I play football, I sustained injuries, but when I play Futsal I can display my skills as much as I want without worrying about injuries.”

Futsal has a short history.

Lee said, “Eight years ago when Futsal was first introduced to Korea, the sport was not known among Koreans. And it was hard to gather players for an international competition.”

Song Seong-jong (21) said, “I started playing Futsal when I was a middle school student, and I like it so much. So I decided to major in social physical education.”