Futsal is a relatively new version of indoor soccer, usually played on a basketball court with 20 minute halves. The rules are very similar to regular soccer, with a few minor exceptions. For example the ball is slightly smaller and heavier than a normal soccer ball and the goalkeeper always has to throw the ball back into play.
Futsal Life have a range of mixed and men's futsal competitions around Carlton, Fitzroy, Footscray and South Yarra. The emphasis is mostly on having a good time and enjoying a friendly team game, but of course there is always a competitive edge to it. I play in a mixed league which can get pretty intense at times, but always respectful and friendly. The men's competitions are significantly more competitive from what I have seen, though I am sure there is still the same respect for one another.
The referees are generally excellent and are very assured in their decision making, which is very important as the players do not always agree with their decisions. Having said that, most players (at least in the mixed divisions) are pretty good at owning up if, for example, they know the ball hit them last before going out.
At each venue there are many different divisions to account for the differences in skill level between sets of teams, so even if you haven't really played before you will be with other teams of similar skill level. About half of my team hadn't played any form of soccer before and we are still very competitive in most games we play and are now sitting somewhere in the middle of the table.
The games are played on various schools' basketball courts which are all in good condition. For most venues each game costs $70, which is about average for futsal in Melbourne. My team and I always look forward to Sunday afternoons (there are other competitions on almost every night of the week too) for, what we hope to be, another great game of futsal. It's a great way to bond with your friends and keep fit at the same time.