Futsal News: 27th U.S. Futsal National Championships Open in Anaheim
The 27th U.S. Futsal National Championships opened at the Anaheim Convention Center on July 12, with first games on Friday, July 13. Over 160 teams ranging from U-9 through Open and Over-35 will compete to be crowned the best futsal teams in their respective brackets. This marks the third year the championships have been in Southern California, following two years in Long Beach. Competition will continue through the weekend, with championship finals on Sunday, July 15.
“This is our 27th National Championships,” said U.S. Futsal President Alex Para, “so it’s certainly the oldest, biggest and most prestigious futsal championship in the United States. We have teams coming here all the way from Maryland in the east to Hawaii in the west.”
About 80 percent of the teams competing at the National Championships are youth teams, so Anaheim, home of Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, is a perfect site for the competition.
Teams competing in the National Championships will play a minimum of three matches in group play, leading up to semi-final and final rounds. First place teams will receive a trophy and the top three teams in each bracket will receive medals. In 2011 Safira Soccer Academy from Massachusetts took the Men’s Open championship, going undefeated and beating Utah’s UFA Pro Sala in a close 2-1 match. On the women’s side, Southern California’s Legends FC overcame a strong Di Bufala team from Northern California 6-3.
In addition to the National Championships, the international Futsal Gold Cup will take place during the competition. The Futsal Gold Cup will pit teams from Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United States to find the best international futsal side. The competition is separate from the regular National Championships.
For anyone not familiar with the game, futsal is a small-sided (five-a-side) game played on a hard-surfaced court using a heavier ball than traditional soccer. Unlike indoor soccer, there are no sideboards for the ball to rebound off, which means that players must control the ball to a higher degree. Futsal has been credited with helping to produce some of the greatest players in the outdoor sport, such as Pele, Ronaldhino and Messi.
While the top teams tend to come from the East and West Coasts, every side participating will be striving for their best showing on the court. Para expects to see exciting futsal at all levels over the weekend.
While it is too late to participate, for fans of futsal Anaheim is the place to be through July 15. The action promises to be non-stop and the competition fierce. For more information, visit the U.S. Futsal National Championships website.
Related Articles: U.S. Futsal Federation on SoccerNation