Synergy effects: Messi, Kilman & Co. – how football and futsal benefit from each other

The German Football Association (DFB) does not yet have a sustainable Futsal concept or a master plan. Many association officials see Futsal as a competitive product to football, but that is a fallacy. Futsal is complementary to football and can help German football in many ways, which in turn benefits Futsal. In this short article, we want to briefly show which synergy potentials exist between Futsal and football and why Futsal is a casual constraint for football:

Why does the DFB need Futsal?

Fundamentally, Futsal can attract new children and young people to football and help to bind these players and members to the DFB. Futsal is a fast-paced, technically demanding, and tactically oriented sport that is more attractive to many children and young people than traditional football. Compared to traditional german indoor football, players touch the ball four to six times more frequently and up to twelve times more frequently than football on a large field. Futsal thus offers young players a continuous fun of sporting challenges like hardly any other sport. Furthermore, Futsal enables them to develop their skills and talents in a different, more diverse way. The positive synergy effects we present below are therefore anything but surprising, as they are empirically and logically recognizable:

Messi effect: Entering the DFB system through Futsal

Players can enter the DFB system through Futsal in their early years and later become professional footballers, as Lionel Messi and many other world-class players have done, for example. Futsal can be a bridge to professional football for young players and thus help German football in the long term. Another well-known example here is certainly Ronaldinho Gaúcho, who can often be seen at futsal tournaments even after his football career.

Kilman effect: Bringing cutted players back through Futsal

Players can be cutted from top-level youth academies and then develop new strengths through Futsal and later return as professional adult footballers. This effect we call the „Kilman effect“, named after Max Kilman, who was cutted in early youth at FC Fulham. He later came back to the Futsal national team through Futsal, and finally became a professional footballer at Wolverhampton Wanderers. One player reaching the national team first in Futsal and in football afterwards is Wissam Ben Yedder. Another German example is Elias Saad, who after his Futsal engagement and debut for the German national team became a professional football player for FC. St. Pauli in the 2. Bundesliga.

Club-Preservation: retention management for football clubs

Players can drop out of the football system in their childhood and youth (too bad, no desire, no motivation, etc.) but can be caught by Futsal because young people have more fun there and feel better taken care of. Futsal offers players a new perspective and allows them to maintain their passion for the sport. Football youth officials report that ten years ago, there were sometimes twice as many children and young people in football clubs. The synergy shown in this section, for example, through a Futsal department, allows the club to bind young members to the club and maintain their joy of football through Futsal.

Only Futsal: Able to go, but happy to stay

There are also players who simply want to stay in Futsal because of the diverse aspects shown and can thus remain in the DFB system. Futsal offers players an alternative career option and allows them to play as national players at an international level.

Dual training & education: Futsal & football together

As a club, both can be combined from the beginning. As examples, we can refer here to the German Futsal Bundesliga clubs Jahn Regensburg Futsal and MCH Futsal Club Bielefeld. Both clubs now have youth departments in which football and Futsal are trained and played within a complementary methodology and didactics. There are Futsal and football units, while on this basis, they participate in youth football competitions outside and indoor youth hall football and Futsal competitions.

Fame effect: National team instead of 5th league

Finally, footballers who move into the men’s field and cannot make it to professional or competitive football can switch to Futsal and become national players and act on an international stage instead of playing unknown regional fifth-class or lower football. We call this effect the Fame effect because Futsal gives players the opportunity to become known on an international level and pursue a career as a national player. Considering the current situation in Germany, this path is currently most likely pursued by the DFB with the help of top-down approaches. If the other effects emerge through bottom-up developments, the Fame effect would certainly decrease significantly.


The synergy paths presented are dynamic and not static. Paths can connect, mix, and the transition between them can take place at various times. Our article briefly shows the most significant complementary scenarios between Futsal and football to date, which makes a competitive mindset unnecessary.

If the DFB now creates a good master plan for Futsal, everyone can benefit: the DFB through the retention and increase of members, the players through new challenges, and the clubs through a two-track offer. What does it take? A „Futsal obligation“ for youth performance centers similar to the e-sport obligation by the DFL 2023 would be an idea. If we look at the synergy paths we have shown, Futsal is a casual constraint of the better argument.


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