Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

CRITICAL EYE – National futsal coach Kyriakos Selaidopoulos keeps a close watch during last weekend’s futsal clinic at the Canada Games Centre Flexi Hall.

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

EYE ON THE BALL – Fifty five youth along with 14 senior players and 11 coaches attended last weekend’s clinic on the sport of futsal.

National futsal coach visits Whitehorse for second time

National futsal coach visits Whitehorse for second time

By Chuck Tobin on September 28, 2017

As futsal becomes engrained in the Yukon, the effort continues to assist with the transition from the more traditional sport of indoor soccer that’s been around for decades.

While futsal was originally developed in the South American country of Uruguay back in 1930, it’s only gained official status in the territory in the last couple of years.

The spark behind the switch to futsal from indoor soccer came in 2013 when the Arctic Winter Games International Committee announced it would be replacing indoor soccer with the sport.

The 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland were the first to feature futsal.

Ultimately, the nature of futsal requires and encourages players to improve their ball handling skills, skills they carry with them when they return to the regular outdoor soccer pitch in the summer months.

In indoor soccer, players can bounce the ball off wall boards to make plays and passes. Not in futsal. In futsal, the playing area is marked by lines on the floor, and out of bounds is out of bounds.

Futsal is played on a hard surface, such as a gym floor and not on artificial turf like that in the indoor Field House at the Canada Games Centre.

The ball is smaller, and hardly bounces.

Though players are still allowed to play it with different parts of the body, except the hands, just like soccer.

“The idea about Futsal is it’s teaching the kids better techniques,” sport administrator John MacPhail of the Yukon Soccer Association explained in an interview earlier this week. “It’s about better ball control which will equate into better soccer players.”

Coaches, he said, are already seeing improved ball skills.

MacPhail and the soccer association brought up the head futsal coach for the Canadian Soccer Association last weekend for the second time.

Kyriakos Selaidopoulos spent the three days working on achieving three things: looking to identify any of the local senior players who might be able to take a crack at the national level; working with coaches; and working with young players.

Fourteen senior players attended, along with 55 youth and 11 coaches.

Coaches love the opportunity to learn from those involved in the sport at a higher level, MacPhail said.

“So when they come up, they just eat it up,” he said. “And they go away feeling good about training the kids.”

The Whitehorse Football Club – formerly Whitehorse Minor Soccer – and the Selects Football Club have transitioned from indoor soccer to Futsal. Futsal is now being played in Haines Junction, Dawson City and Watson Lake.

To assist with the switch initially, the soccer association brought up coaches from Quebec where they’ve been playing futsal for some time now.

The Yukon sent three female futsal teams to Greenland in 2016 – U14, U16 and U18 – along with two male teams – U14 and U16.

MacPhail said the intent is to send the same five age groups to the South Slave Arctic Winter Games in N.W.T. next March. The association will be holding tryouts later this year.

The first national futsal championship was in 2015, and was won by a club from Toronto.

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