U.S. Youth Futsal compiles 16-2-1 record in Costa Rica
OVERLAND PARK, KAN. (Aug. 19, 2015) - U.S. Youth Futsal recorded an aggregate 16-2-1 record during three days of competition against top Costa Rican teams, scoring 201 goals and allowing just 38.
The Americans competed at the U14, U16 and U18 levels against teams from Alajuela Futsal, Escazu Futsal, Colegio Santa Ana, Santo Domingo and CTP Lindora. A late addition was a match between the U.S. Youth Futsal U18 girls and the Costa Rican Women's National Futsal Team, a closely contested match won by the hosts 4-1.
"At various times on this trip," noted John Leisman, captain of the boys U18 team, "each individual was forced to adapt and learn on the fly. It was this ability to accept a new role or face a new challenge with total commitment that allowed our teams to have so much success."
Director of Goalkeeping Mark Litton was unsure what to expect before the trip but grew impressed quite quickly.
"Our results surpassed my expectations," Litton said. "We thoroughly dominated our opponents in just about every game we played. The trip was an absolute success and will only help to continue our growth as a new futsal nation."
Players were selected through a year-long identification process. Captains were chosen by the coaching staff: Leisman (U18 boys), Tziarra King (U18 girls), Alec Bakkeby (U16 boys), Mikayla Kappes (U16 girls), Takumi Ikeda (U14 boys) and Felicia Knox (U14 girls).
Knox -- who like Leisman also served as captain in Canada last winter -- loved experiencing the Costa Rican culture and suggested that the team bonding activities at the beginning of the trip were integral to the success on the court.
"We went to a fruit stand and after that went zip-lining and whitewater rafting," Knox said. "At the end of the trip I really thought this is what tied the team together and really got us to be able to play as a team."
The U.S. Youth Futsal boys and girls U13 and U12 teams will travel to Toronto later this year.