“The United States Soccer Federation has recently begun to aggressively endorsing the use of small sided soccer games into youth leagues and training”

In this article we will discuss the new sport of Five-a-Side Soccer and how synthetic turf has made the sport boom in both Europe and the United States.

So what exactly is 5-a-side soccer? Well, the objective is the same as the traditional game: Put the ball in the back of your opponent’s goal! 5-a-side is just a smaller version of the world’s greatest game that allows more individual ball time and continuous play at a fast and exciting pace.

The game is suitable and challenging for even the most experienced player, yet just as fun for a beginner.

It’s small sided soccer played with only 5 people per team. “Small” because it’s played on smaller fields-about a quarter the size of official outdoor pitch, “sided” because the perimeter of the field has rebound boards. It’s a fast-paced, high scoring brand of soccer that gives each player more ball time and ultimate satisfaction and because of that, has become the most popular form of soccer (“football”) in the UK among the common people.

The size of the field is roughly the size of a basketball court and enclosed with rebound boards to keep the game in continuous play (much like indoor soccer). The goals are shorter and longer (4ft x 12ft) and an area immediately in front of the goal is exclusive to the goal keeper with outfield players not allowed to enter.

Each team has 5 players on the field to include a dedicated goal keeper. Teams are allowed up to 8 players to each roster and substitutions are “rolling” (just like indoor soccer or hockey).

National Greens Synthetic Grass has begun designing and installing small Five-a-Side soccer fields that make great use of small play areas that are usually filled with burnt grass.

The image above is of a school in Little Rock, Arkansas that has decided to invest in the fun and multi use of a Five-a-Side soccer field. 5-a-side fields are also smaller than traditional fields so it’s less expensive to install and small institutions can afford the project. Artificial grass also very environmental friendly because it conserves water.

We have found small fund raisers are easily capable of paying for an installation in no time at all. Contact us today to see how we can help you organize your own fundraiser. Churches and Schools all across Arkansas and America are getting hooked on the sport.

The basic rules of the game are the same as regular soccer, with the main objective to put the ball in the back of your opponent’s goal. 5-a-side soccer uses the same ball that you are use to playing with in the regular game and the games can last between 30 – 60 minutes long.

What makes the rules in 5-a-side really unique is the “head height” rule, where the ball must remain below the player’s head during the game. Generally the rules for small sided games are much the same as the 11-a-side game with the following additions;

  • The ball is not allowed to go over “head height” or else the opposition is awarded an indirect free kick.
  • The penalty area is significantly different from regular football: it is semi-circular in shape, only the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball within it, and he or she is not allowed out.
  • Goalkeepers are only allowed to roll the ball out to another player. The goalkeeper may only kick the ball if it is in the course of making a save.
  • There are no offside rules, eliminating the need for linesmen.
  • Headers may or may not be allowed.
  • Yellow cards may result in the offending player being sent to the “sin bin” for a pre-determined length of time. Red cards work in the same way as the 11-a-side game.
  • Charging/sliding tackles are forbidden.

Additionally, metal studded boots or blades cannot be worn, as it damages the playing surface. Players are also required to wear shin pads but this is usually at the discretion of the referee.

What type/size ball is used?
We use the traditional, regulation-size ball that you are used to playing with.

What is the size of field is 5-a-side played on?
At The Soccer Lot, games will be played on a field about the size of a basketball court or approximately 100ft x 60ft.

Is 5-a-side played indoor or outdoor?
Both! Play field is small enough any gym.

What if you want to get started in 5-a-side?
National Greens synthetic grass has constructed a transportable field that we can be setting up in parks, festivals, and community events throughout the summer so you can see for yourself what all the rave is about! The showcases are free to public and open to all ages. Contact us to receive updates of a events near you!

Where did 5-a-side come from?
Streets, neighborhoods, playgrounds: its pickup soccer, formalized. But in organized form, it has taken the United Kingdom by storm and is quickly making inroads into the U.S. As far as small-sided games, soccer nations such as the United Kingdom , Holland , Germany , France , Brazil , and Argentina have long incorporated small sided games into their youth development programs and professional training because of the strong benefit to player development. The United States Soccer Federation has also recently begun to aggressively endorsing the use of small sided games into youth leagues and training

How is 5-a-side beneficial to experienced players?
In 5-a-side, technique is king! Why technique? Because in a game where one-on-ones and quick passes are fast and frequent; every player attacks and defends.

What if I have never played soccer before or have limited experience?
5-a-side is an excellent entry into the sport as it gives you more time with the ball, there is more action, it is fun, a great way to get into shape, and it is a blast to play. But, even if you are not that into soccer, 5-a-side is a great way to rekindle that competitive spirit or spend time with your friends.

The Benefits
What is the biggest benefit? It is downright fun! It is fun if you are a seasoned pro, a beginner, or just looking for an excuse to get out with friends. The pro will love the fast pace and individual, 1-on-1 aspect of the game. The beginner will enjoy how easy and exciting the game is, and for the casual player; what a better way to get in shape and fire up that competitive dive!

Contact us today for further information or free estimates at National Greens.

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