Photos courtesy of Mike Melkonian
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
March 9, 2017-Having kicked off in 2010 with 24 teams, New York Futsal has grown exponentially with nearly 200 youth soccer teams, under the instruction of an award-winning development team and playing under the umbrella of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) this winter. The season started on Saturday, December 3 and will conclude on Sunday, March 12.
The kids have been playing at Beacon High School, PS 118 Joan of Arc Elementary School, Park West High School, PS 87 William T. Sherman School and the Tito Puente Educational Complex, all in Manhattan, plus PS 217 on Roosevelt Island. In a sign of the growth of futsal, Tito Puente is the first school in New York City with permanent futsal lines on the gym floor while the other venues still utilize the existing lines for basketball and other sports.
”The new SI Play free mobile app has played an incredibly positive role in running our league,” explained New York Futsal Director Jaime Arias. ”Because of it, we have tremendously improved our communication with the futsal community.”
Futsal promotes quality touches and ball control in tight spaces and players utilize those skills when they return to playing soccer outdoors in the next few weeks. It is the only version of indoor soccer officially approved by FIFA.
The origins of futsal can be traced to Uruguay in 1930, where, amid the euphoria that greeted that country's victory at the inaugural World Cup on home soil, there was a soccer ball seemingly being kicked on every street corner in the capital of Montevideo. Juan Carlos Ceriani, an Argentinian physical education instructor living there at the time, observed many youngsters practicing soccer on basketball courts because of the shortage of soccer fields. It was there and then that the idea for a five-a-side variation of soccer came about and futsal was born.
Arias had the privilege of being included with the FIFA team at the Futsal World Cup in his native Colombia last fall. He stated, ”I was humbled to watch the great Falcao play his last professional game. What a thrill to host the World Cup in my home country!”
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 11 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.