5 Key Rule Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Soccer

An indoor soccer arena - (Photo: En.wikipedia.org)

Basically, indoor soccer and outdoor soccer are the same game.  Soccer is soccer after all, but the indoor game does have several key differences that make it a slight variant from traditional outdoor soccer.  These differences in the rules can make it a new experience for any soccer player being introduced to the indoor game.  Here are five general rule changes for indoor soccer (note: rules can be dependent upon your specific league, but here are the usual differences):

1.  No out of bounds – This greatly changes the game, as play rarely stops.  Teams have less ability to kick the ball far away as it will simply bounce back onto the field.  The wall also provides several other benefits.  Smart players can utilize kicking the ball against the wall as a one-two to steal past defenders.   This move is very hard to defend and can be extremely beneficial for attackers in indoor soccer.

2.  Kick in, no throw in – Because of the wall, throw-ins are nonexistent.  However, there are some ways that breaks in the action do occur. For instance, if there is a foul, there is a free kick just like in outdoor soccer.  Also, if a player happens to kick the ball above and beyond the wall so that it actually goes out of bounds, then the ball is placed at the departing point with a free kick.  This results in more free kicks in indoor soccer and because of the small field size, there is a greater amount of free kicks that can actually be shot on the goal.

3.  Timeout Box – Just like in outdoor soccer, fouls on the soccer pitch can result in punishment for the offending player.  However, some indoor soccer leagues instill a penalty timeout box, similar to those used in ice hockey.  If a player commits a reckless foul, instead of being issued a yellow card, they can be banished to the timeout box for two minutes.  Their team must now play the next two minutes a man down in a “power play” situation.  This places an emphasis on players’ ability to defend, because fouls can often be severely punished with goals in this manner.

4.  No sliding tackles – The indoor game is also a softer sport, and as it is usually played on a hard surface or AstroTurf, falling over can have more painful repercussions.  Therefore, most indoor soccer leagues restrict sliding tackles, since they can result in nasty rug-burns or injuries.  This can also often be the case for goalkeepers, meaning that goalies must be more conservative in closing down the opposition.  Sliding tackles are usually immediately penalized and can often result in a trip to the timeout box.

5.  No offside rule – Because of the diminished field size, and use of only one referee, there is usually no offside rule in indoor soccer.  This makes man-marking much more important and also enables quick goals as players can simply wait and “cherry pick” goals with long passes.  Pay attention on defense in indoor soccer and likewise, look for opportunities to sneak forward on offense as it will often leave a player free to score goals.


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