How Penalties and Cards Work in Indoor Soccer

The indoor soccer penalty system is a little different from the outdoor system that we’re all used too. The biggest difference is how cards work. Of course, this varies from time to time, but this article is about the majority of indoor arenas that I’ve encountered.


In regular outdoor soccer, there are just two cards - yellow and red. A yellow is a warning, and there is no penalty other than the fact that if you get a second yellow in the same game, it is the equivalent of a red card. A red card is more serious - it means that you are sent off from the field and ejected from the game - and often suspended for another game, depending on the league. This only happens when you do something very serious (or just get two yellows).

In indoor soccer, there are three cards - blue/black, yellow, and red. I’ll refer to the blue/black card as blue, because that’s what the field I frequent calls it.

If you get a blue card, you sit out for two minutes and the other team gets a sort of ‘power play’ for that period of time. Nobody can sub on for you, and your team plays down a man for those two minutes. That’s the only penalty though, nothing further happens. If the other teams scores a goal within the two minutes, you can sub back on and your penalty is over.

A yellow card is the same as a blue card, except you sit out for five minutes and a goal by the other team does not mean that you can come back onto the field. Your team has to play down a man for the whole five minutes - this is for a fairly serious penalty. You can get a yellow card for slamming another player into the boards - it's a serious offense. If you need help with that, check out how to use the walls in indoor soccer.

A red card is very hard to get in indoor soccer - you basically need to start a fight or push the ref. You are immediately ejected from the game, your team plays a man down for the rest of the game, and oftentimes, you can be suspended or ejected from the league. This occurs very infrequently, but it’s go to know about it regardless.

Those three cards are how penalties work in indoor soccer. If you do something that doesn’t even warrant a blue card, like slightly pushing someone off the ball, the other team takes a free kick, just like outdoor soccer.

Indoor soccer is a ton of fun, and I really recommend it. You should try a game, and now that you’re armed with this knowledge, you’ll know exactly what it means when a ref holds up a blue card!

One additional hint: in indoor soccer, if you have bad indoor cleats, it's easy for you to slip and fall onto another player, which the ref might give you a card for!