OVERLAND PARK, KAN. (Aug. 30, 2016) - U.S. Youth Futsal's National Teams recorded an aggregate 13-4-1 record during three days of competition against top Colombian teams, scoring 98 goals and allowing just 48.
The United States sent its U14, U16 and U18 boys teams and U13, U14 and U16 girls teams to Medellín last month, with each team playing three friendly matches. The boys side faced the strongest opposition of any international trip to date and finished 4-4-1, while the girls earned a 9-0 record in South America, improving their overall record to 26-5-0.
"The tenacity of the Colombian players was a characteristic that many of our players never get to experience at home," said U.S. Youth Futsal Director of Coaching Ty Stauffer. "Many Colombian youth are playing to make professional teams or escape circumstances. That kind of competition is invaluable to development."
Players were selected after a year-long identification process that included regional and national I.D. camps. The best of the best were selected to travel to Medellín, and from the selected players, captains were chosen by the coaching staff: Nicholas Barzacchini (U14 boys), Joseph Raasch (U16 boys), Paulie Whitener (U18 boys), Brooke Collins (U13 girls), Zhanna Dunagan (U14 girls) and three-time captain Felicia Knox (U16 girls) donned the nation's armbands.
Barzacchini, on his third trip with the U.S. Youth Futsal National Team program, was thrilled to spend time with friends old and new, but especially to make new memories.
"While in Colombia, it seemed like there was always something to be doing," explained Barzacchini. "You could be bonding with your teammates, taking in the culture, playing Futsal, meeting new people, chanting and watching the other USA teams, enjoying the great views of Medellin, having fun on the metro, and much, much more."
On Wednesday, after a team-building trip to Guatapé, U.S. players witnessed incredible celebrations throughout the city after Atlético Nacional won the Copa Libertadores. On Friday, the group watched a Liga Argos men's professional Futsal match. On Saturday, the teams played salon, a variation of Futsal popular in South America. In addition, the U16 girls team was granted special access to the Medellin stadium where FIFA Futsal World Cup 2016 matches will take place in September.
"Culturally, it was a remarkable experience," noted Girls Director Jason Miller. " Medellín is a wonderful city that provided an ideal life and Futsal experience for our players and their families. The people, the food, the culture, the setting and the weather were all truly fantastic."
In addition to Miller (U16 girls) and Stauffer (U13 girls), the U.S. Youth Futsal National Teams were coached in Colombia by Soorena Farboodmanesh (U14 boys), Jeffrey Lamy (U14 girls), Otto Orf (U18 boys) and Jose Fabian Rodriguez (U16 boys).
Added Barzacchini: "It is hard to even explain how much I loved this trip. It made a great and big impact on my life. I'll never forget it!"
United States Youth Futsal is the largest U.S. Soccer affiliated futsal organization in the country. Launched in 2004, U.S. Youth Futsal oversees more than 100 local leagues and academies across the country, sanctions 10 Regional Championships and a National Championship. USYF is the leader in Futsal player development and Futsal coaching education by offering the Futsal I.D. program, the U.S. Youth Futsal National Teams along with Coaching and Referee training clinics.
U.S. Youth Futsal National Team Coaches with Colombia Mens National Team