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Top 6 Emerging Futsal Nations

In todays’ Original we will take a closer look at futsal communities in six countries in the world with emerging futsal scene. It is expected by a wider futsal community that these six have a great potential to shine on the big stage in the next 10 years. It was our aim to include the entire world in this projection, therefor we bring you an analysis of the state of futsal in France, Germany, Thailand, Indonesia, Morocco and United States.

Futsal in France on the Road to Professionalism

Understandably, the biggest story of French futsal is still the ACCS Asnières Villeneuve 92 futsal club. At we already covered the story of creation of ‘Futsal Galacticos’ once it was confirmed that futsal star Ricardinho would be joining the club on a three-year contract worth 1 million euros. As expected, their first top tier campaign was nothing but dominant. Only defeat ACCS had in the 2019 campaign was actually awarded to their opponent and it did not happen on the parquet. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, French futsal league was abandoned and the champion was not proclaimed, but ACCS will play in this years’ UEFA Futsal Champions League as a French representative. ACCS are still on an undefeated run.

However, there are many more developments going on in France that are worthy of everyone’s attention. Noël Le Graët, president of the French FA, put special focus on the development of futsal in his mandate. French are thinking long-term and have started to create foundations for U19 teams which will be the basis of future successes.

Pierre Jacky, national team coach, said that professionalization is the next important thing that has to happen in order for French futsal to grow: “The lack of training means that the key futsal positions – goalkeeper, leader, pivot – are not sufficiently staffed. We also need structured clubs and high-level competitions in the country.

With professionalization coming in the likes of ACCS and development of youth systems across country taking place, France has positioned itself as a futsal country that we have to keep our eyes on for the future. And the first results of this strategy are visible. French national team made its first ever appearance on the big stage after qualifying for the UEFA Futsal Euro in 2018 in a knock-out thriller against Croatia.

They were unsuccessful in their campaign to reach the 2021 Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, but it was a very hard qualification group to start with. We will stay tuned to their story as French futsal is advancing: number of futsal player licenses are growing, as are the number of teams participating in thirteen regional metropolitan leagues which is all coupled by an increase in number of futsal pitches, educators and so forth.

To further promote their futsal team, French FA have started a YouTube series called “Objectif Euro 2022” which follows the team as they start their campaign for the next UEFA Futsal Euro. You can watch the first episode of the series and a recap of their double friendly match against Moldova below:

German Futsal-Bundesliga is the Next Big Thing

It could come as a surprise that football’s four-time FIFA World Cup champions Germany still don’t have a national futsal league. Luckily, this will change from the beginning of the 2021/2022 season. German FA (Deutscher Fussball-Bund, DFB) has unanimously decided that creation of Futsal-Bundesliga is an imperative for further development of futsal in the country, but also a very logical step forward.

“We want to establish ourselves as a huge team in this sport so the new league will be an important basis for strengthening the quality of futsal in Germany.” said Heike Ullrich, DFB director of associations, clubs, and leagues. The Germans are on pace as their national team was formed only at the end of 2015 and it had its first match one year later against England (5-3) in front of a very decent attendance.

This season which is about to start will be crucial for German teams, as each champion and runner-up of the regional divisions will secure a spot in the new Futsal-Bundesliga. What is very positive is that the prospect of the Futsal-Bundesliga sparked a wider interest for futsal in the country. The number of futsal teams and futsal organizations is at its highest that has ever been.

Although the growth itself is a bit smaller than it was after the 2015/2016 when the national team was formed, it is still a great basis for further development of futsal on all levels. Futsal enthusiasts in Germany are hopeful that next step is to fortify the foundations, meaning that more teams and players will join the regional divisions which are the basis of the Futsal-Bundesliga. "There is plenty of talent out there. It’s important that we discover it and train it up for futsal," said Marcel Loosveld, German national team coach.

Constant Growth of Thailand Futsal

Thailand has been on the forefront of Asian futsal for two decades now, having qualified for the main continental competition for 15 times and 5 times for the FIFA Futsal World Cup. For the 2012 FIFA World Cup in Thailand, a grand Bangkok Futsal Arena was built specifically for this event. If you think about how all this was not even in conception 20 years ago – Thailand has done amazingly well for futsal development!

Adisak Benjasiriwan, Chairman of Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee of The Football Association of Thailand said: “Futsal in Thailand is one of the top five most popular sports in the country. It is a professional sport amongst 13 sports in Thailand and there are more than 100,000 people involved in the game.” Those are huge numbers if you compare them to most of the European countries. Average attendance on the domestic top tier league level is around 1200-1500 spectators for match. TV ratings for men’s national futsal team can be as big as 5 million.

The country itself has more than 1000 futsal courts and futsal is one of the most played sports in the countries’ school system. All this from a nation that big-20 years ago didn’t have a proper futsal selection. Mr Benjasiriwan attributed part of this development to “characteristics of the Thai people which fit the rhythm of the game”.

So, with such infrastructure and resources, why is Thailand on this list of emerging futsal countries? Because they’re not nearly done with their expansion. “We must still develop and make this family grow in terms of human resources, competitions, marketing and our national teams to really achieve the professional and international standards. We believe that if we do our best, the benefits will fall into the arms of the Thai futsal community, therefore we have so many things to be planned and done ahead for the future generations.” emphasized Mr Benjasiriwan in an interview few years ago.

Thailand’s premier futsal league was founded in 2006 and consists of 14 top teams in the country. The new 2020 campaign started with limited number of fans on the stands, but with fans nevertheless. 1000 fans are able to attend. On the Futsal Club Licensing and Planning Workshop which was organized by FIFA and AFC in Thailand a few years back, General Secretary of Thailand’s FA said that they “are constantly looking to build forward on a strong foundation that have been established. The 14 futsal clubs from the Futsal Thai League will benefit greatly from this workshop as there is an increase in need for them to become more professional and stay consistent with the best practice in the professional game”.

Thailand is now patiently waiting for AFC Futsal Championship to start, which also serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania. Most of the pundits believe that Thailand will qualify for their 6th consecutive World Cup and we’ll be eagerly awaiting to see them in action. Could they be the next AFC Futsal Champions though?

Futsal Thai League Highlights:

Indonesian Futsal Has Explosive Momentum

“Indonesia has a massive population and intense public support for futsal. I would be very surprised if they are not represented at the World Cup over the next eight years.” said Steve Harris for, a futsal fanatic that has a special interest for Asian futsal. And it is true. Futsal has been growing recently in Indonesia with big media support. Pictures of packed venues on the domestic league games only prove this.

Unfortunately, futsal still has to develop as an independent sport in this country and it has to stop being seen as a past-time from football. Professionalization of the league and the clubs is necessary for further growth. League and the clubs are still dependent on the local ‘bosses’ who come and go as they please often leaving the clubs with unsecured futures. One example that illustrates the state of futsal in the country is that most clubs usually appoint coaches as their last stop in the team-building process.

But the futsal community in Indonesia is live and thriving. This was emphasized by their recent humanitarian action during the Corona crisis when many players and clubs joined together in a fundraiser to help the country fight the outbreak. Players united in carrying out humanitarian actions to collect donations, create social campaigns and auctioning personal items.

Interestingly, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister has signed an agreement with his colleague from Solomon Islands on development cooperation and a grant agreement on the Development of a Multifunctional Futsal Field towards the 2023 Pacific Games in the Pacific country. It’s a nice example (and maybe the first?) of futsal diplomacy between the two futsal enthusiastic countries.

It is not farfetched to theorize that Indonesia is lacking a successful campaign on one of the major tournaments. If able to qualify for the next World Cup, that success could spur greater interest in futsal in Indonesia. Is it realistic to expect that? “Indonesia, though still considered a newcomer, has demonstrated an unpredictable type of explosive momentum.” commented Steve Harris, leaving some space for hope.

Morocco – Crowned Futsal Kings of Africa

Even though Morocco is current African champion (2016 and 2020) and they have qualified for their third World Cup in a row (so they are already an established futsal team) we have put them in this category because we believe that the real explosion of Moroccan futsal is just around the corner.

Futsal is the second most popular sport in this North-African country (after football, of course). Besides great tradition, they have quite talented and skillful players and, most importantly, they embarked on a reorganization of Moroccan futsal coaching system after the defeat on World Cup 2016, under the guidance of a national team coach Hicham Dguig.

>>> African Futsal Kings: We have the quality for the next stage of the World Cup

Moroccan national team plays attractive and attacking futsal. They have several players who play in the best European futsal countries, more and more educated coaches and the great love of the locals for this sport. “We’ve benefited from the support and willingness of the Moroccan federation to reach the summit of African futsal, but this just the beginning.” said Dguig in an interview for in 2016.

They are maybe not quite yet ready to win the World Cup but in the coming years they could become at par with the best teams in the world. In fact, Morocco have confirmed themselves as the best team on the African continent after defeating Egypt 5-0 in the finals of the African Futsal Cup of Nations. This was their second continental title and it was also their consecutive title.

United States Futsal - Ready For Next Level?

The story behind United States as one of the emerging futsal nations has been live in futsal community for quite some time now. However, looking at the national team statistics, one could mistake USA for being a futsal powerhouse. USA national team clinched silver and bronze medal on the first two World Cups! In 1989 they defeated Belgium (3:2) in the match for the third place, and three years later (1992) lost in finals against Brazil (1:4). However, 2008 World Cup was the last one where USA participated and on which USA lost all four matches with a disastrous goal difference.

Americans have a big tradition of playing indoor soccer. At the beginning of futsal, American professional outdoor soccer was in a state of disarray but the U.S. had really strong indoor soccer leagues. Therefore, because of the popularity and high level of indoor soccer professionals in the country, the United States was able to field one of the best teams during the beginnings of futsal“ said Dušan Jakica, head coach of the US futsal team for

>>> The U.S. head coach: The USA could become one of the best futsal nations in the world!

Unfortunately, the fall from grace also included the domestic futsal leagues. Although there are many regional leagues which serve as a pool for national team, there isn’t a unified national league, yet. All things aside, major obstacle for such league are tremendous financial costs for the teams. USA is a vast country and to be able to travel from one end to the other, couple of times each year, means that clubs will have to spend a lot of money on stuff that isn’t necessarily futsal-related.

There was a big buzz about the Professional Futsal League a few years ago. Dallas Mavericks' owner and famous businessman Mark Cuban bought the league and there were rumors that wealthy sports franchises from the U.S. national sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) will invest in futsal and have their futsal teams. However, by the end of 2020, there is still no indication of when or even whether the league will ever come to life…

>>> Otto Orf: The futsal revolution in the U.S. has already started

Lately, there has been a lot of emphasis on the development of futsal youth programs. There are numerous programs in place which facilitate the education of coaches and referees, and youth training programs which allows the screening process to be easier. Trouble is, it seems that United States have all the prerequisites to develop as a strong futsal nation, but the only thing missing is the league itself.

“In the United States, we have fantastic facilities and our sporting events promote and market the games. But in the United States, one thing is certain, if you want to start a national pro league, it requires a significant investment. Since futsal is still a very new sport in our country, it is not an easy task to secure investors willing to commit the significant resources needed to establish a truly National League.” said Otto Orf, an American futsal fanatic that has been in this sport for more than 20 years.

In United States, they are hoping that participation on another World Cup could boost the interest for futsal and help its development. „The 2020 CONCACAF tournament is, in my opinion, crucial for the futsal development in the United States. I believe that with the players we have, we can reach the quarterfinals. That leaves us with one crucial match to win if we want to qualify for the World Cup. As a team, we are ready to take this sport to a higher level.”


What do you think about our Top 6 emerging futsal nations? You think we left out someone from the list? Let us know in the comment sections on our social media channels, we would love to hear your opinion!