The 2014 United States Youth Futsal Nationals were held in Johnson County earlier this month.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
What is Futsal?
“It is the only form of indoor soccer endorsed by FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association),” explained John Haasis, communications director for United States Youth Futsal (USYF). “It earned the status of FIFA’s official form on indoor soccer in the 1980s as it was recognized as the scaled down version of outdoor soccer played indoors.”
Kansas City sports fans have been made aware of the indoor game played professionally by several professional leagues starting back in the 1980s by the Kansas City Comets. That game has boards around the playing area like ice hockey.
Futsal is five-on-five players competing on a hard surface, basketball-size court with a smaller, heavier low-bounce ball according to Haasis.
“Futsal is played with touchline boundaries and without walls,” he said. “It is superior to walled soccer in terms of developing skills and techniques.
“In traditional American walled soccer, players regularly whack the ball against the boards, which promotes improper technique, and too often rewards errant play.”
The USYF national office is in Overland Park.
The roots of the USYF started in 2004. The sport grew so much that in the spring of 2011 it became known as United States Youth Futsal.
There is also a United States Adult Futsal.
The national tournament, which was held Feb. 14-17 in the New Century Fieldhouse in Gardner, attracted 123 teams from 20 states. The ages for boys and girls ranged from 8 through 18.
A team from Australia, the Queensland Girls Futsal Academy, traveled 8,000 miles to play in the tournament.
The New Century Fieldhouse can accommodate six futsal fields.
“It gave us a very festive futsal atmosphere since all games were under one roof,” Haasis said.
The event attracted 17 teams from Johnson County, and the teams did well.
The Under-13 boys Sporting Blue Valley NPL 00-01 beat the FC Black Knights 7-3 in the final. The team is coached by Timo Kibune.
In the Under-16 boys, the Sporting Blue Valley 97-98 NP defeated the GSE Futsal Academy 8-4 for the championship. The team is coached by Angelo Catenacci.
In the Under-17/Under-18 girls, Sporting BV Benifica Blue 96-97 edged the Aftershock 4-3 in the title game. The team is coached by Chris (Robert) Duke.
Three teams placed second: Under-10 boys KC Legends Hot Spurs, Under-18 boys Sporting Blue Valley NPL 95-96 Blue and Under-10 girls Sporting BV Mallorca 03-04.