Exploring Different Types of Soccer: From Futsal to Footvolley

Brice Petersen

types of soccer

Soccer, known globally as the beautiful game, comes in various forms that cater to different playing styles and environments. From traditional 11-a-side matches on expansive green fields to fast-paced indoor futsal, each type of soccer offers unique challenges and thrills.

Understanding these variations can enhance a player’s versatility and appreciation for the sport.

Whether it’s the precision required for beach soccer or the tactical nuances of five-a-side games, each format tests different skills and strategies. As players adapt to different types of soccer, they develop a broader skill set, making them more well-rounded athletes.

This article delves into the diverse world of soccer, highlighting the distinct characteristics and demands of each type. From the rough-and-tumble physicality of street soccer to the strategic finesse of small-sided games, soccer’s adaptability is one of its greatest strengths.

Each version has its rules and culture, offering players endless opportunities to grow and excel.

Main Variants of Soccer

Soccer, a globally beloved sport, comes in various formats to suit different environments and player preferences.

Association Football

Association football, commonly known as soccer, involves 11 players per side and follows strict regulations set by FIFA. Matches occur on a rectangular field with defined goals at each end.

The primary objective is to score more goals than the opponent within the stipulated 90 minutes. This format requires a blend of tactical awareness, physical endurance, and technical skills.

Indoor Soccer

Indoor soccer, typically played on indoor turf or hardwood surfaces, provides a fast-paced alternative to traditional outdoor soccer. Each team usually has 5 to 7 players, and the game often includes walls or netting to keep the ball in play.

The reduced size of the pitch necessitates quick decision-making, precise passing, and constant movement, making it an excellent choice for honing close control and agility.

Beach Soccer

Beach soccer, played on sand, prioritizes skill and creativity due to the challenging surface. Generally, teams consist of five players, including the goalkeeper. The unpredictable nature of the sand demands excellent ball control and balance.

Matches are usually shorter, with three 12-minute periods, leading to high-scoring and entertaining games.

Street Soccer

Street soccer, played in urban settings, emphasizes creativity and minimal rules, allowing for an improvisational style with fewer players and small goals. It focuses on individual skills, quick reflexes, and innovative moves, making it an exciting way to practice and enjoy the sport.

These main variants of soccer provide unique experiences, enhancing a player’s adaptability and enjoyment of the game.

Specialized Soccer Forms

Specialized soccer forms cater to specific environments and skill sets, offering variety and unique challenges to players.


Futsal takes place on a smaller, hard court without walls. Each team has five players, including the goalkeeper. The game emphasizes ball control, quick passing, and fast reflexes due to the limited space.

Futsal balls, with their low bounce and 32 hand-stitched panels, enhance precision and control. This form of soccer helps players develop skills that translate well into traditional soccer.

Freestyle Soccer

Freestyle soccer involves performing tricks and juggling a soccer ball using various parts of the body except hands and elbows. Freestylers compete individually, showcasing their skills through choreographed routines.

This practice builds coordination, control, and concentration. Originating in the 1960s in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, freestyle soccer has grown in popularity and serves as both a competitive sport and creative expression.


Footvolley combines elements of soccer and beach volleyball. Played on a sand court with two players per side, it requires kicking, heading, and volleying the ball without the use of hands or arms.

This sport, which began in Brazil in the 1990s, demands high levels of coordination, creativity, and physical strength. Footvolley promotes technical skills such as heading and volleying while providing a physically challenging game that’s growing in popularity worldwide.

Soccer Variants by Geography

Soccer has evolved into various forms across the globe, each distinct in rules and playing styles, influenced by local cultures and preferences.

Irish and Australian Rules Football

Irish and Australian rules football have distinct characteristics compared to traditional soccer. Governed by the Gaelic Athletic Association, Irish football lacks an offside rule, resulting in more fluid and aggressive gameplay.

Established in 1884, it incorporates elements from hurling, with field dimensions of 130-145 meters in length and 80-90 meters in width.

Australian rules football, originating in the mid-19th century, is played on an oval field with a prolate spheroid ball, allowing players to use any part of their bodies to move the ball through kicking, handballing, and running.

North American Soccer Leagues

North American soccer evolved distinctly through the establishment of various leagues and adaptations.

Major League Soccer (MLS), the premier professional league in the US and Canada, follows FIFA’s standard 11-a-side format but incorporates unique playoff systems and regulations that align with American sports traditions.

Indoor soccer, popular especially in colder regions, is played on a smaller, enclosed field, emphasizing speed and agility.

Latin American Variations

Latin American soccer variations are rooted in regional culture and known for their flair and technical prowess. Futsal, played indoors with five players on each side, emphasizes ball skills and rapid play.

Futebol de Salão is similar but uses different ball and court specifications. Street soccer or “pelada” in Brazil promotes creativity and improvisation in confined spaces. These variations enrich the global soccer landscape by providing diverse experiences and honing various skills.

Adapted Soccer Games

Adapted soccer games add variety to traditional play by incorporating diverse rules and equipment. These variations enhance skills and provide fun alternatives for players.

Soccer Tennis

Soccer Tennis, also called Futnet, combines elements of soccer and tennis. Originating in the Czech Republic in the 1920s, it involves volleying the ball over a net without using hands. Players can engage in 1v1, 2v2, or 3v3 formats.

This game emphasizes volleying skills and ball control, particularly from the air using the thighs, chest, and head. Soccer Tennis offers a low-pressure environment where players can easily pick up new techniques.

Soccer Golf

Soccer Golf merges soccer and golf, requiring players to kick a soccer ball into a series of holes using the fewest number of kicks. Courses range from simple to complex, featuring obstacles like trees, sand traps, and water hazards.

This game focuses on precision, planning, and adapting to various terrains. It develops shooting accuracy and strategy, essential for on-field performance. Soccer Golf provides a leisurely yet challenging way to practice soccer skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Soccer Golf?

Soccer Golf combines soccer with golf. Players kick a soccer ball into a series of holes on a specially designed course, using as few kicks as possible, emphasizing precision and strategy.

What is Futebol de Salão?

Futebol de Salão is another term for futsal, commonly used in Latin America. It highlights the same indoor, small-sided game that focuses on ball control and agility.

What is the significance of Major League Soccer (MLS) in North America?

MLS is the premier professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, significantly contributing to the sport’s growth and popularity across North America.

How do Irish and Australian rules football differ from soccer?

Irish football combines elements of soccer and rugby, while Australian rules football is distinct with its own set of rules and field dimensions. Both are culturally significant in their respective regions.

What are the benefits of playing adapted soccer games?

Adapted soccer games, like Soccer Tennis and Soccer Golf, provide fun and novel ways to improve various soccer skills, such as ball control, precision, and strategic thinking, in a low-pressure setting.


Exploring the various types of soccer reveals a rich tapestry of games that cater to different environments, skill sets, and cultural backgrounds.

From the fast-paced action of indoor futsal to the creative flair of freestyle soccer and the strategic play of Soccer Golf, each variant offers unique opportunities for skill development and enjoyment.

These adaptations not only enhance traditional soccer but also bring communities together, celebrating the sport’s global appeal. Whether played on a street corner or a professional field, the diverse forms of soccer continue to captivate and inspire players and fans alike.

Additionally, beach soccer provides an exhilarating twist by challenging players on sandy surfaces, while street soccer emphasizes improvisation and agility in urban settings.

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Brice Petersen

As a former player turned coach, my enthusiasm, structure, creativity, and appetite for success drive me to excel. I prioritize excellent communication and management skills, engaging with players of all ages and abilities to build their confidence and empower them both on and off the field. I aim to develop well-rounded individuals and adapt to football's evolving nature. Passionate about continuous learning and problem-solving, I believe every day offers valuable lessons to enhance the game and its players.

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