Futsal is a soccer-like sport played indoors. It originated in South America. Unlike the US sport of indoor soccer, it is not played with walls (as in ice hockey). Instead, it is played with touch and goal lines within which the ball must be kept as in soccer. A special weighted ball is used, and the size of the pitch is about the size of a large basketball court. Futsal is a sport in its own right, with clubs that play only futsal, and many levels of competition (including a World Cup).
Futsal is also a great soccer development tool. It rewards good footwork, quality touches, rapid recovery positions, wide field vision, and creative combination play. Over the past few years, futsal has exploded as a development tool for academy clubs, and this has trickled down to the select level youth clubs. Coincidental to this growing awareness of the value of futsal as a soccer development platform, the USSF has become more involved in both player and referee development.
New Jersey has a USSF futsal certification/recertification class scheduled for November 24th in Hamilton Township (Mercer County), NJ. You register for this class using your NJ SRC login identity in GameOfficials. Choose “Courses” and then “Indoor” (not “futsal” – go figure!). There may be another class scheduled but this is what we have at the moment.
There are a number of futsal leagues in New Jersey, but the number of opportunities for futsal referees is still limited. Most leagues run in the December through March “winter” months. Games are typically two twenty minute halves, running clock, Game fees can range from $15 to $25 per game, depending on level. Some leagues use two referees exclusively, some one, and others use one referee on the younger ages.
I assign for the Rancocas Valley Futsal League (http://www.RVSoccerClub.org/futsal/futsalLeague.htm). We are entering our fourth season. We started with 42 teams our first year, and this year we will have close to 100. We have an eight-week season starting December 7. We play at one site on Saturdays and five sites on Sundays. We use two referees on all but the youngest teams. We use USSF soccer referee uniforms.
The RVFL currently has a core of experienced referees that will work full-time, as well as other fill-in referees. We may be looking to add some additional referees this season. New referees will work with an experienced partner on lower-level games until they develop a “futsal brain”. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.