High quality futsal on display at first-ever international event for U.S. teams
OVERLAND PARK, KAN. (Jan. 7, 2015) - U.S. Youth Futsal earned a 10-1-1 record competing against top Canadian teams during a Goodwill Challenge from Dec. 29-31 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. It was the first-ever international trip for the U.S. teams.
Results for the 1998-99 boys included 16-3, 9-3 and 7-5 victories, the final match a back-and-forth battle played in front of the entire rowdy U.S. contingent. Steven Tekesky and Colton Purcell were outstanding in goal for the entire event, and captain John Leisman, a member of the U.S. Men's National Futsal Team, was thrilled to be part of the event.
"Although futsal is still a relatively young sport in the United States, this trip is a testament to its growth over the last several years, especially among youth," said Leisman. "Many people's hard work and love for the game were put forth to create youth national futsal teams and make this trip a possibility. For now, the standard has been established; a foundation has been laid and the level of competition will only build from here. I can't wait to see what the future holds."
The 1998-99 girls ran 7-3, 6-7 and 15-0, keeping the only clean sheet of the week with an inspired defensive performance. Tziarra King led all scorers with nine goals in Canada. Francesca Venezia captained the side and had a great experience in Toronto and looks forward to more such events.
"Playing with girls from all across the United States and against girls from Canada introduced me to new skills that allowed me to develop new ways of playing and improve myself as a futsal player," Venezia said. "Futsal growing and possibly becoming an Olympic event excites me and pushes me to work harder to be a part of the future and a U.S. Women's National Futsal Team."
After the 2000-01 boys kicked off with a 5-5 draw the team followed with lopsided 14-3 and 20-3 results. Max Rugova led the team in scoring while David Merola recorded both victories in goal for the program's highest-scoring side.
The 2000-01 girls were the most consistent side of the event, scoring six goals in each of its victories: 6-5, 6-1 and 6-3. Each of the team's three lines was equally potent, with players from all corners of the country contributing to the team's spirit and success.
"My daughter had a great time, learned a lot, and made some new friends," noted one parent. "It was just a great experience. The event was very well organized and the amount of effort put in by everyone was evident. I have no doubt that with the effort [of U.S. Youth Futsal the sport] has a bright future in this country."
The 2015 identification program cycle is already underway, with regional camps hosted in Boston, Kansas City and Akron seeing record numbers of attendees. Upcoming camps are scheduled for Dallas, Denver, Charlotte and San Diego. Selected players will attend the National I.D. Camp July 8-12 in Kansas City, from which the next cycle of teams will be selected. Those teams will participate in a tournament in Costa Rica later in 2015.