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Football is one of the most popular and widely played sports in the world, but did you know that there are different ways of playing it?

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to the 14 main types of football that differ in their rules, number of competitors, playing surface, court format, equipment, objectives and mechanics.

Each of the disciplines listed below has an origin, history, characteristics and curiosities that make them unique and interesting.

Check them out 👇

Types of football

  • Football
  • Futsal
  • American football
  • Society football
  • Sand football
  • Paralympic football
  • Showball
  • Swamp football
  • Gaelic football
  • Footvolley
  • Bossaball
  • Footbag
  • Foot tennis
  • Foot table


posições do futebol

Football is the most traditional type of football. It’s a team sport involving two teams of 11 players each. The players compete for the ball on a rectangular grass pitch.

The aim of football is to score goals in the opponent’s goal using any part of the body except the hands and arms.

It is considered the most popular sport in the world, with around 270 million people involved in its various competitions.

Football emerged in England in the 19th century as a result of the separation of clubs that didn’t accept the rules of rugby. Its rules were created by The Football Association in 1863 and are regulated by FIFA.

The main international football competition is the FIFA World Cup, which has been held every four years since 1930.

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lateral futsal

Futsal is a team sport that emerged in Uruguay in the 1930s as an adaptation of field football for enclosed spaces.

Matches are played on a rectangular court, with dimensions varying between 25 and 42 metres long and 16 and 25 metres wide.

Each team consists of five players: a goalkeeper, a centre-half, two wingers and a pivot. The aim is to score goals in the opponent’s goal, using a ball that is smaller and heavier than the one used in field football.

A futsal match lasts 40 minutes, divided into two halves of 20 minutes each, with a 10-minute break.

The sport has specific rules governing aspects such as fouls, substitutions, penalties, warnings and punishments.

American football

os tipos de futebol
American football

American football is one of the most famous types of football in the world, especially in the United States – the country where it was created.

It’s a team contact sport that originated from rugby and rewards speed, tactical ability and brute strength.

The aim of the game is to advance the ball into the opponent’s scoring zone, called the endzone, or to kick the ball between the goalposts.

Each team has 11 players on the pitch and four attempts, called downs, to advance the ball at least 10 yards (9.14 metres). The ball can be advanced through the air, with passes, or on the ground, with runs.

American football is very popular in the USA, where there is the sport’s main professional league, the NFL (National Football League).

Society football

futebol society
Society football

Society football is a sporting discipline derived from indoor football, which differs in terms of its rules and the type of pitch.

The sport is played on synthetic grass courts, larger than those of traditional futsal, and with a larger, lighter ball.

The segment is also known as Football 7 (or Fut7), because each team has seven players on the pitch, one of whom is the goalkeeper. Matches are divided into two halves of 25 minutes each, with a 10-minute break.

In society, there is no offside, the goal kick can be taken with the hands and there is a limit of collective fouls per half, which results in a direct free kick for the opposing team if it is exceeded.

Sand football

Futebol de areia
Sand football

Sand football is a team sport that emerged on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro in the 1930s and became a professional sport in the 90s.

It is played between two teams of five players each, on a sand court between 35 and 37 metres long and 26 and 28 metres wide.

The aim is to score more goals than the opposition in three 12-minute halves, with two three-minute breaks.

Sand football is characterised by the speed, skill and aerial moves of the players, who have to adapt to the conditions of the sand and the weather.

Brazil is one of the world powers in this category, having won several international titles, such as the World Cup and the Mundialito.

Paralympic football

Futebol paralímpico
Paralympic football

Paralympic football is a team sport played by people with physical or visual disabilities. In this sport, there are two categories: 5-a-side football, for visually impaired athletes, and 7-a-side football, for athletes with cerebral palsy or other neurological disabilities.

5-a-side football is played on an adapted synthetic grass pitch with smaller goals and a ball with sound rattles inside.

The players wear blindfolds to ensure a level playing field, except for the goalkeeper, who can see.

7-a-side football is played on a reduced football pitch, with similar rules to conventional football, but with some adaptations.

Paralympic football is one of the coolest types of football there is, as it values inclusion and respect for others, regardless of their differences.



Showball is a sport that resembles society football, but is played on a smaller court, surrounded by acrylic sheets and with two halves of 25 minutes each.

Thanks to the boards, the balls hardly go out. The athletes can therefore tabulate and perform special moves with the help of the wall.

The sport emerged in the 1990s as a form of entertainment and fun for former professional footballers, who could show off their skills and reminisce about their glory days.

The sport has gained popularity in Brazil, where several championships have been organised, bringing together big names from national and international football.

Showball is a sport that values the technique, creativity and speed of the players, as well as providing a spectacle for the fans.

Swamp football

futebol de pântano
Swamp football

Swamp football is one of the most curious types of football in the world. In it, players play matches on a flooded, muddy pitch.

The objective is the same as in traditional football: to score goals in the opposition’s goal. However, the rules are different and adapted to the conditions of the terrain.

There is no offside, no fouls for physical contact and the playing time is shorter. All this makes the game dynamic and, of course, slippery.

Bog football is mainly played in Nordic countries such as Finland, Sweden and Norway, but there are also tournaments in other parts of the world such as Brazil, Germany and the UK.

The sport is considered to be fun, challenging and beneficial for health, as it demands endurance, strength and coordination from the players.

Gaelic football

futebol gaélico
Gaelic football

Gaelic football is a team sport of Irish origin, played mainly in Ireland and in countries with a strong presence of Irish immigrants, such as England, Scotland and Wales.

It is one of four Gaelic sports regulated by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the largest sports organisation in Ireland.

Gaelic football combines elements of football, rugby and basketball, and is played with a round ball and 15 players per team on a rectangular pitch with two H-shaped posts at each end.

The aim is to score points by kicking or punching the ball between the posts or over the crossbar. The match is divided into two halves of 30 minutes each. In the end, the team with the most points wins.



Footvolley is a sport that combines elements of football and volleyball. It is played on a sand court divided by a net, where two teams of two or three players try to score points by hitting the ball into the opponent’s court with any part of their body except their hands and arms.

Footvolley emerged in Brazil in the 1960s as an alternative to beach football, which was banned in some cities.

Since then, the sport has become popular and spread to several countries, especially in South America and Europe.

Footvolley is considered a sport that demands skill, agility, coordination and physical endurance from its practitioners. It’s definitely one of the most fun and plastic types of football there is.



Bossaball is a sport that combines elements of football, volleyball, gymnastics and music on an inflatable court with two trampolines.

It was created by Belgian Filip Eyckmans in 2004, inspired by the Brazilian culture of capoeira and bossa nova.

The aim of the game is to get the ball into the opponent’s court, using up to five touches per team. The touches can be volleyball touches (with the hands or forearms) or football touches (usually with the feet and legs).

Bossaball is a fun, dynamic and inclusive sport that can be played by people of different ages and genders.



Footbag is one of the most difficult types of football ever created, as the sport consists of keeping a small ball in the air using your feet and other parts of your body except your hands and arms.

Footbag can be played both individually and in groups, with different disciplines, rules and elements of the game.

The sport emerged in the United States in the 1970s, inspired by traditional games from different cultures, such as Burmese chinlone, Japanese kemari and Native American hacky sack.

Foot tennis

Foot tennis

Foot tennis is a recreational game that combines elements of football, tennis and volleyball. It is played on a court divided by a net, where players must pass the ball using their feet, head or chest.

The ball can bounce once on the ground before being returned, and each team is allowed three touches of the ball. The aim is to make the ball fall into the opponent’s court or make them commit a foul, such as missing a pass into the net.

Foot tennis can be played singles or doubles, and the rules vary according to the tournaments. The sport emerged in Brazil in the 1980s and has become popular in several countries, especially in South America and Europe.

Foot table

Foot table

Foot table is a sport that combines elements of football and table tennis. The aim is to keep the ball in play using only your feet, legs, chest and head, without letting it fall to the ground or touch your hands or arms.

The matches take place on a small rectangular table, divided by a net, with two or four people. The rules vary according to the type of ball and the sport chosen, but generally follow the principles of ping-pong.

Foot table is a fun, dynamic and challenging activity that develops players’ motor coordination, agility and creativity.

Now you know the 14 main types of football! Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments 👊

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