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Sporting Maryland FC Joins 2021 Champions Cup Series

April 14, 2021, 4:00:00 AM

Bowie, Maryland - United Futsal is excited to announce Sporting Maryland Futsal Club as the latest addition to the 2021 Champions Cup Series (CCS). The futsal-specific club brings 22 years of experience to the annual youth futsal tournament series.

Danny Villagran, Sporing Maryland Founder, announced the acceptance today.

“We're always looking for different avenues for our players to develop,” said Villagran. “There's a lot of great United Futsal competitions that we would like to be a part of—domestic and international. CCS is a platform to compete at the highest level and potentially get the opportunity to play internationally.

For 22 years, Villagran has contributed to the growth of futsal in Maryland. In 1999, the sport was introduced to Villagran who competed in the United Soccer League (USL). After incorporating futsal into his player development schedule, he received a trial with the U.S. Futsal National Team. Villagran also started his youth coaching career during this time. Today, in addition to Sporting Maryland FC, he is a youth soccer coach at Maryland United FC.

Sporting Maryland was originally founded as a men’s team that competed domestically then later internationally. As interest and demand grew, the group expanded to a complete futsal club with a youth academy. In 2021, Sporting Maryland is a futsal-specific club that offers all age divisions and genders. At the men’s level, the club competes in the National League of Professional Futsal (NLPF). The club’s adult women’s team have won national futsal championships as well as competed internationally.

Over the years, the adult club members have assisted with youth academy training. Villagran believes this club-centric approach is key to player development as well as Sporting Maryland’s style of play.

This is very important to our values and club culture as it connects the past, present and future. It was how the club was founded with both Scott [Villagran] and I. We were first players, then coaches and now club directors and advocates of the game. When our adult members contribute and connect with the academy, it makes us very happy as it gives inspiration to our players and connects the details in our style of play.

Highest Level of Futsal

United Futsal is committed to providing a pathway to the highest level of youth futsal. This requires hosting competitions with elite clubs that have embraced the futsal wave.

Despite the sport’s growth, the inability to find futsal communities that provide consistent competition remains. Quality opportunities continue to be scarce in the United States, which now requires organizers to build a foundation based on modern expectations. Sporting Maryland recently launched an annual futsal program for players in the region that demand the sport as more than a casual alternative to outdoor soccer.

“Sporting Maryland recently switched to a year-around program,” said Villagran. “We feel futsal is important for the development of younger ages groups. Players need to train and constantly compete at the highest level. It reinforces the overall great qualities that futsal brings to the game and how it complements a soccer player.”

As a futsal-specific club, Sporting Maryland FC provides the region with access to the highest level of international youth futsal. Similar to United Futsal, Sporting Maryland FC has a ceiling-level valuation of the sport. Futsal is a teacher of the outdoor game. Overlooking the benefits of consistent participation is a disservice to the development infrastructure. In particular, Sporting Maryland FC endorses the futsal-specific route that modernizes the youth development infrastructure with an equal sporting alternative to outdoor soccer. In contrast to futsal as a casual alternative.

A Global Development Pathway

By organizing events with consistent competition levels, United Futsal sets a standard and also shares a vision with others. Authentic and quality development opportunities are now sought by advocates of the game. CCS aims to bridge the gaps between those that endorse the true value of the sport and industry overall.

“The Champions Cup Series connects communities that raise the standard of futsal,” said Villagran.

To conclude, Villagran commented on the opportunities that the Champions Cup Series (CCS) provides American youth athletes. The pathway outlined by United Futsal shares resources and an international network with partner clubs. More specifically, CCS exposes aspiring youth futsal players to the international game with professional organization.

“With CCS, you compete at the highest level in the United States and also communicate with organizations overseas,” said Villagran. “This creates opportunities for American players to see how other countries interact with the game."

United Futsal is excited to host Sporting Maryland FC at CCS Nationals this summer in Orlando, Florida. As youth futsal players return to courts across the country, the Northeast will surely be represented well by Sporting Maryland FC.

Rob Andrews, United Futsal President, added:

“Bringing long-standing clubs into the CCS mix benefits the American youth futsal industry. Sporting Maryland has success competing at all ages of competition. We look forward to seeing how the club competes against the country’s best!”

Information on how players can join Sporting Maryland FC is available here.