Youth Futsal and the Futsal Youth Cup in Kent

Find out more about this exciting fast-paced game with Kent FA’s Toby Elgar.

Have you heard of Futsal before but are not sure what it is?

Never fear, Toby Elgar, Kent FA’s Football Development Officer (Youth & Mini Soccer) is here to tell you a little bit more and why this format of the game continues to grow in popularity across Kent.

tobyFutsal is a form of football with a long and rich history across the globe, and it's a version of the beautiful game that we all know and love here in England. It continues to grow in popularity through the youth football landscape here in Kent and the exciting national youth cup competition offered by England Futsal. So, what is Futsal, and what are its origins? What is the Futsal Youth Cup, and what opportunities are there to give Futsal a go in the County? Read on to find out more. 

What is the game of Futsal?

Futsal is a form of football played on hard surfaces, indoors or outside (typically in Europe and England in particular, it is played indoors) with a much smaller pitch than you would see used for a regular game of football. 

  • Pitch size: A typical futsal pitch measures 40 metres by 20 metres, using rectangular goals measuring 3 metres by 2 metres. 
  • Number of players on the pitch: A typical game of Futsal sees 5 players on each team, one of which can be a goalkeeper, and players can be replaced during the match using rolling substitutions. 
  • Time: Games of Futsal are played across 2x 20-minute halves; however, in youth futsal, games are typically a little shorter (often 10-minute halves). The clock in Futsal is stopped every time the ball goes out of play (some competitions adapt this rule to have a running clock). 
  • Ball: Futsal also uses a slightly weighted, heavier ball than your usual football match, and the maximum size of Futsal used is size 4 (younger age groups playing Futsal will use a smaller-sized ball, much like in mini soccer).


  • The key differences between Futsal and football are that rather than using throw-ins to return the ball into play, you instead kick the ball back into play from the point it went out. 
  • Players from restarts such as kick-ins, corners and free kicks also have 4 seconds to put the ball into play. Failure to do this results in an indirect free kick for the opposition. 
  • When the ball is in their hand, goalkeepers have to throw or roll the ball out and are unable to touch it again until it has crossed into the opponent's half to encourage the ball to progress up the pitch. 
  • Goalkeepers are allowed out of their penalty area, and outfield players can go into the penalty area. 
  • Another rule unique to Futsal is the use of accumulated fouls, whereby once a team has committed five fouls in one half, their opponents get a free shot at goal from the second penalty spot for every subsequent foul. If the foul is closer to the goal, the shot can be taken from where the foul occurred. At half-time, both sides accumulated fouls are wiped clean.

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Where does Futsal originate from, and when did it first become popular in England?

According to the FA, Futsal can trace its origins back to 1930s South America, where two slightly different game versions were played in Montevideo in Uruguay and Sao Paolo in Brazil. The development of the format being played in Brazil led to the first rules being created in 1936, and before long, Brazil was leading the way and spreading Futsal across South America and beyond. The importance of Futsal in Brazil was only heightened by the fact that Pele, Zico and Falcao were playing the game alongside their regular football. FIFA took over the governance of Futsal in 1989, and the game has continued to grow, with World and European Championships being held ever since.

In England, Futsal has only really been played in the last 40 years, with the first futsal league starting in 1990 and the first English national team competing in a UEFA futsal competition in 2003. From there, the game has continued to steadily grow, with it being increasingly played and offered as a format in the youth game, too.

Why is Futsal appealing for player development?

What makes Futsal so appealing is the opportunity for improvisation and creativity, the fast-paced nature of the game and the technical skills that the game allows you to develop and refine. This is a key factor in why Futsal has become increasingly popular as a player development tool in youth football, as it can help players make quicker decisions, improve awareness both on and off the ball and support and encourage players to develop their passing skills and dribbling techniques. 


What is the Futsal Youth Cup?

The Futsal Youth Cup can trace its origins back to the early 2000s when it was known as the FA National Futsal Youth Festival. Today, the competition is run by England Futsal and competitions are offered for the U10 and U12 age groups in regional festivals to give younger players a taste and understanding of the game. The U14 age group sees the start of a national competition, whereby each County FA, including Kent, offers a local qualifying competition for both boys/mixed and girls Futsal, played at a central venue within the County, to determine a county winner who will then progress as the County's representative into the regional round. Each regional final will produce a winner who will go into the FA Futsal Youth Cup Final weekend for the chance to be the FA Futsal Youth Cup winner, with the final to be televised on TNT Sports in 2024! U16's competition sees a straight knockout format used.

Entries for this year's Futsal Youth Cup have now closed. The Kent FA Local Qualifying Competition for the U14s will occur in late February and early March 2024, with 15 clubs participating. All will be hoping to be crowned Kent's Local Qualifying Competition winner at Medway Park Sports Centre in what promises to be a fun and highly competitive couple of days of Futsal!

The Futsal Youth Cup runs annually, and youth teams across Kent can enter each season, regardless of whether they have played Futsal before. Many teams in this year's competitions in Kent are returning from last season, who, up until then, had never played Futsal before.

What opportunities are there to play youth futsal in Kent?

If you want to try Futsal before next season's futsal youth cup, either as a team or individually, then there is regular futsal provision in certain parts of the County. We are seeing an increase in both clubs and teams offering Futsal alongside their regular football provision and bespoke futsal clubs and teams affiliating each season as Futsal continues to grow in popularity. Youth futsal is offered by clubs in areas such as North Kent, Medway, Sevenoaks, Ashford and Canterbury. To find the nearest futsal provision to you, use England Football's Find Football Near You Tool, which can be accessed here: Find Futsal Near You.

Alternatively, if you wanted to create your own youth futsal provision for your club or team, all you would need is a suitable sports hall and some futsal balls to get started!

Find Futsal Near You

You can find out more about futsal in England through the England Futsal website, which can be found here.

If you would like to find out more about futsal opportunities in the youth game in Kent, contact Toby Elgar on Toby.Elgar@KentFA.com