Welcome Futsal Escola
Futsal Escola Joins 2021 Champions Cup Series
April 14, 2021, 4:00:00 AM
Memphis, Tennessee - United Futsal is excited to announce Futsal Escola as the latest addition to the 2021 Champions Cup Series (CCS). The Memphis club joins the youth futsal tournament series as a long-standing program in the region. Futsal Escola will bring ‘ginga’ to the Central Conference ahead of the CCS National Championships set for this summer.
Rafa Rodriguez, Futsal Escola Founder, officially announced the acceptance today.
“United Futsal gives players, teams and clubs a platform to compete at the highest level of Futsal in the US and Internationally. This is great for everyone involved and gives more reasons to keep believing in futsal. As someone who grew up in the sport of Futsal in Brazil, I have passion for the game, and want to keep finding opportunities that allow my players to not only fall in love with the game but take full advantage of its benefits.”
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Rodriguez moved to Chicago at the age of 16. After his arrival in the United States, Rodriguez played soccer in high school and college. He then started his youth coaching career on the outdoor field. Rodriguez quickly noticed that the Brazilian freedom of expression was missing on American youth soccer fields.
“Every player was very bland and general,” said Rodriguez. “They didn't have that extra sauce. That extra ginga. There was no creativity. No players comfortable with the ball. So, I decided to start a futsal program in America to develop complete outdoor players.”
Futsal Escola will celebrate 10 years of operation this summer. Originally, the club provided fall and winter soccer training. In recent years, the club strictly organizes futsal programs. Futsal Escola has built relationships with local organizations and now offers an opportunity for futsal-specific players to play outdoor soccer without offering a full-year outdoor program.
Rodriguez is excited for the next stage of American youth futsal that he believes has extensive room for growth. Despite the lack of quality futsal education in the United States, Rodriguez views the available resources in the United States as a reason to be optimistic.
Lack of Futsal Education
As stated in recent CCS club announcements, the lack of education is a factor that limits futsal’s ability to reach full potential. During United Futsal’s discussion with Rodriguez, he highlighted that individuals associate the sport as a soccer alternative during the winter months.
“People are not educated on the benefits of futsal enough to participate the entire year,” said Rodriguez. “In the U.S., it's still a winter sport because there are too many outdoor clubs. People don't know how much you can improve throughout the year. Every winter season you hear the same feedback. A parent says their kid has improved over winter break or she's a better player now. So why not do it for the whole year?”
More specifically, Rodriguez cited the lack of understanding how to conduct adequate futsal training sessions or how to incorporate them into an outdoor soccer development curriculum as issues that remain.
“At times, people don't know its benefits,” said Rodriguez. “They think it’s just playing pick up. Or people don't know enough to translate a futsal training session to outdoor. I think part of it is the lack of education. Not just for coaches, but parents and club directors. Education can allow it to be a round development tool.”
With the launch of United Futsal University, Rodriguez is excited for coaches to take a deep dive into authentic futsal. The newly launched program can equip American coaches with the tools to maximize player development throughout the United States.
“United Futsal has gone above and beyond to offer a complete coaches pathway with some of the highest names in the world of futsal,” said Rodriguez. “United Futsal University will develop the next generation of coaches, which allows for the U.S. futsal culture to grow. Coaches will have a higher understanding of the game and the sport of futsal will gain the respect it deserves amongst the outdoor soccer community.”
Available Resources in the U.S.
Despite the barriers identified, Rodriquez acknowledges the capability to develop the sport into a reputable industry. Although the window of opportunity has been limited, the resources available in the United States put futsal in a position to thrive.
“We have all the tools, equipment and players,” said Rodriguez. “We just don't provide enough educational opportunities. This makes authentic futsal not accessible to everybody. I think we're far from where we need to be in the country.”
Furthermore, Rodriguez values long-term development of the sport. As echoed by other CCS clubs, professional standards can kick start the industry and allow for it to reach the next level of organization. Rodriguez concluded with emphasis on the ability to write new sports history in the United States and abroad.
“I hope other supporters see that this is real and long term,” said Rodriguez. “We probably have the best platform in the world. Even if you look at Brazil, which is a country that has love for futsal. Still, the structure is not solid. Having access to it in America with an organization as professional as United Futsal can hopefully show what every country is capable of building. Even though the U.S. doesn't have a history in futsal, it has everything to start a new history.”
Rob Andrews, United Futsal President, added:
“Futsal Escola has competed in several United Futsal events over the years. The club always brings the best youth talent to compete for titles in their region. As a CCS member, we know that Futsal Escola is committed to the highest level of futsal. We look forward to seeing how the club matches up against the country’s best.”
United Futsal looks forward to hosting Futsal Escola at the CCS National Championships this summer in Orlando, Florida.
Information on how players can join Futsal Escola is available here.