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Futsal program develops youth soccer skills

What is futsal? Is it the same as soccer?

Nope.

It’s the bedrock of a complete player development system.



The game was developed in South America by a trainer who was seeking a way for young athletes to keep technically sharp during the winter months. Now, the activity that started on small concrete courts is regarded by every international school of coaching as the “best available tool,” for youth player development.

Futebol de Salao, or futsal, is played in 61 countries but is a newcomer to the United States. It is a game played on a basketball court-sized surface with two goals and a smaller, heavier ball.



“It compels you to play and even think in a particular way,” said Dennis Belisle, director of coaching at the Summit 7000 Soccer Academy in Truckee. “You’ve got no option. You have to quickly pass short, support the pass and find gaps.

“Spaces are tight; you don’t have the long-ball option out of anything. Young athletes who learn the game in this way find it much easier when they step up to the bigger pitch and lighter ball.”

This year the Summit 7000 Soccer Academy is offering futsal programs in Truckee, Kings Beach and Tahoe City.

“In futsal, the game is the teacher,” said Trevor Brooking, head of the English F.A. Coaching School. “If young athletes play this game from ages 6 to 11, the rest will take care of itself.”

Belisle said more than 60 young athletes played in Kings Beach the other night, which suggests futsal is the most popular of the four programs he offers.

“Futsal cultivates and nurtures a young athlete’s love of the game. It gives the game back to the children,” Belisle said. “It removes parts of the game that make it difficult for young learners. The game is simplified.”

Plus, Belisle added, each player gets more time with the “toy” ” the ball.

In a typical contest, each young athlete makes more than 800 decisions, Belisle said, and soccer is just the proper execution of a correct decision.

“We are looking for intelligent young athletes with the ability to problem solve under match pressure,” said Belisle, who holds training credentials from three different continents.

The Summit 7000 Soccer Academy is putting teams together for US Club Soccer this spring in the U-10 age group for boys and girls. It is the region’s only player development system.

For more information on futsal, US Club Soccer, U-10 Spring Developmental League, Super Y League, Euro Tour 2008, or any recreational clubs from Truckee and Reno, call Dennis Belisle at 587-5455 or 414-4059.


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