Indoor soccer may not be as well known as the full pitch version - but it is a growing sport around the world, particularly in North America.
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Indoor soccer is played at multi-purpose venues that typically host other sports such as basketball or ice hockey. It’s played on synthetic turf - readers may remember Masters Football, which was run under similar rules.
Games run for 60 minutes, divided into four quarters. If games are level at the end of the play, there must be a winner, so ‘golden goal’ overtime periods are played. Teams are made up of six players, with substitutions allowed.
Most games have more goals than regular soccer, in part due to the condensed playing area and emphasis on no draws.
There are no throw ins or offside rule - with teams strategically using play off the walls to their advantage.
St. Louis Ambush play in the USA’s top professional competition - the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL). Missouri-based Ambush play in the Central division, and also play teams from the East and West leagues.
Divisional standings are used to determine which teams qualify for the end of season playoffs.
The MASL is a young league - beginning in 2008. Only two of the 12 competing teams in the franchise were in existence before this.
The Sports Fan Journal had a chat with four of Ambush’s players - Ado Jahic, Lucas Almeida, Will Eskay and Christian Briggs - to fill us in on the sport and their team.
The players all have experience of playing traditional soccer - with Jahic representing Bosnia-Herzegovina at youth levels up to the U21s.
All have played collegiate soccer, with Briggs going on to play for Chicago Inferno and Almeida representing the now-defunct Vermont Voltage.
“The opportunity to be more involved in the game both in attacking and defending was my biggest appeal to indoor soccer,” said Briggs.
Eskay began playing indoor following graduation, while Jahic played the game as a child and found he had talent in it.
The four players are all in agreement that the game is exciting to watch, with more goals scored than traditional soccer.
Almeida cites the entertainment factor, with fans being able to get to know the players. It’s more accessible than the MLS in this respect. Eskay believes the sport is more relatable to the fans.
“People should give us a try because it is something different - it’s basically hockey with your feet, and there’s lots of action back and forth,” said Jahic.
“I believe we have a great combination of youth and experience, speed and creativity to have a successful season and get into the playoffs,” added Briggs.
The sport faces a tough task to break through in a saturated market dominated by the big four, but the players all believe the game has something to offer.
In recent years MASL has added second and third leagues, M2 and M3, to extend their reach and act as developmental grounds for the top tier.
The players believe the game is heading in the right direction and can continue to grow alongside the MLS.
“There’s definitely potential, but it will take time and investment to reach a high level. Excitement wise, it’s probably better for fans than the MLS,” said Almeida.
“It’s a very fast-growing sport, but I don’t think we need to compete with the MLS - we can coexist,” said Briggs.
“The sky's the limit for this league with the new committee in place,” concluded Jahic.
You can Tweet us @TheSFjournal for you chance to win a free entry voucher at St. Louis Ambush!
For general information about the club, you can head to the club’s website .
Tickets are available here. Games are broadcast live on the MASL’s YouTube channel.
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