Most people are aware of the importance of formations when it comes to football.  There are plenty of experts out there who make a living out of analysing positioning and strategy.

But, how often do you apply any form of strategy to your regular futsal football match?

Most futsal players do not usually take up specific roles within a team.  Instead they like to do a bit of everything, from defence to attack and even as a ‘keeper.

However, teams that play with this ‘total football’ mentality are easy-pickings for any team possessing a little organisation.

Like the 11-a-side game, there are specific positions and roles that players can take up in fives that will improve the overall organisation of the team.  It is organised teams that are ultimately more solid in defence and more ruthless in attack.

The three key roles in any futsal team are –

  1. Goalkeeper
  2. Sweeper
  3. Striker

Futsal Goalkeeper

Many amateur teams do not have a specific player assigned to play between the sticks.

For most players, outfield is where it’s at and so only take a turn in goal when they are in need of a breather.

Don’t get me wrong – this is great for keeping players fresh when you are not playing with any substitutes (I know that I need my shot in goal when I am blowing out of my backside!).

However, teams playing without a dedicated ‘keeper are at a disadvantage.

Most outfield players make for average goalkeepers, if nothing else due to the lack of practice and experience in this position.

To make matters worse, if you’re only taking your turn because you’re out of puff then those first couple of minutes when you’re trying to get your breath back you are not fully concentrating on the game and not ready to pull off some outstanding dive for the top corner.

So, draft in a dedicated ‘keeper into your side.

For more detail, see my in-depth article on the goalkeeper role here.

Futsal Sweeper

Your defender is the most important player on the futsal pitch.

Most players are more than happy to sprint the length of the pitch to join an attack. But how many of those are willing to sprint back to pick up a member of the opposition when the inevitable counter-attack occurs?

From a defensive point of view, your assigned defender must have discipline and provide cover if an attacking move breaks down.

He/she must also be strong and quick, with the ability to hold up attacking opposition players until support is available.

From an attacking perspective, the defender also plays a key role.

He/she must be comfortable picking up the ball from the keeper and initiating attacking moves, playing very much like a deep-lying play maker or quarterback.

Therefore, they must be strong passers of the ball.

During the attacking phase, the defender in their deep position can also provide an out-ball for when a team gets ‘bogged-down’ in the opposition half, receiving the ball and switching play to other areas of the pitch.

Finally, it helps if the defender is vocal and organised, as they are in the best position for assessing the game and organising their colleagues in both attack and defence.

To see more, check my in-depth article on the defender role here.

Futsal Striker

Goals ultimately win matches.

Your assigned ‘striker’ obviously must be competent on the ball with an excellent strike and a tidy finish.

This player is responsible for leading the line, providing a target for quick counter-attacking moves and picking up more than their fair share of the goals.

He/she must also be unselfish, quite often playing with their back to goal and bringing into play the rest of the team – there is no room for Berbatov in my team (although I’m sure there’s a place on my bench for him!)

The attacker must also play a role in defence, providing the first line of defence and closing down the play making defender on the opposition team.

If that opposition defender joins in on an attacking move, your attacker must pick this player up, but should also have an eye on making himself available for any counter-attacks if the move breaks down.

One important point that you must consider is that despite these specific roles, it is important to retain some level of flexibility within your futsal team.

The short-sided game is often very quick, with play turning over in the blink of an eye.

Despite some players picking up the specific attacker and defender roles, you still have four outfield players and others must be able to provide cover in these positions when applicable.

That being said, to ‘level-up’ your futsal team, consider who is best suited to playing in each of these roles based on their abilities and try to retain these throughout a match.

The experience players can get from playing in defined positions over a length of time can be the difference to your success over time.