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.
The Sports Fan Journal is doing a free voucher giveaway in partnership with St. Louis Ambush - if you live in Missouri then don't forget to Tweet us @theSFJournal for your chance to win free entry to a game!
What is indoor soccer?
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 and the MASL
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.
How did you get into indoor soccer?
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.
Why should people watch Ambush?
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.
Will indoor football continue to grow?
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.
How can you win a free Ambush voucher?
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.
Michael McKean is an experienced writer with a portfolio that includes work on the subjects of sport, gambling, travel and finance. With a background rooted in journalism, Michael first ventured into the professional writing world based in Switzerland, where he wrote for a number of language and travel sites and magazines before moving into the world of sports writing and gambling sites.
As an avid soccer fan, who follows everything from the Scottish lower leagues to the European elites, he has earned himself a solid reputation as a reliable football betting tipster and predictor. Outside of work, Michael has always gotten involved with grassroutes football everywhere he has worked and lived - UK, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil - and still isn’t shy when it comes to pulling the boots on himself. As well as soccer, he has also developed a love of North American sports, particularly ice hockey - a love which began in Switzerland and saw him venture across the pond to follow the NHL. Moving away from dry land, he’s also a keen longboard surfer and is happiest when writing with a view of the ocean.