Washington Youth Soccer
to Introduce Futsal Programming
If you’re in Brazil looking for the next Ronaldo or Ronaldinho, you might be surprised to find the soccer fields empty. That’s because for more than 80 years, South American players have spent a considerable amount of time training not on the soccer field, but on a smaller, harder surface, with a low-bounce ball.
It’s a game called Futsal, and it’s rapidly expanding beyond the borders of South America to youth and professional training programs worldwide. It’s even an internationally-recognized sport, complete with its own World Cup.
What makes futsal such a useful training tool for soccer players?
Futsal is played by five-player teams on a small, hard, basketball-type court, with a low-bounce ball. The smaller dimensions of the playing field and team sizes, plus the challenge of handling the low-bounce ball, put a premium on quick reflexes, fast thinking and pinpoint passing. The resulting increase in players’ speed, ball skills and critical thinking then pays off in the return to the “big” game, where a more attack-oriented, skillful style of play can be implemented — just like the styles used by the Brazilian and Argentinean teams that wow the public with their dazzling feats.
In conjunction with its Long-Term Development Plan, Washington Youth Soccer has introduced futsal programming, including guidelines and resources for Clubs and Associations wishing to start their own futsal training this year. A complete list of resources can be viewed here.
In addition, the state will conduct pilot Futsal Cups in advance of the first-ever State Futsal Cup in January of 2013. This year’s Futsal Cups — which will become regional play-in stages for next year’s inaugural event — are scheduled to take place in Spokane in March, Seattle in April, and Vancouver on a date to be determined. To learn more about participating in any of these events, contact Washington Youth Soccer Development Coordinator David Griffiths at 206-679-7997 or firstname.lastname@example.org.