Santa Clara, CA - The Champions Cup Series (CCS) West Regional Championships hosted by United Futsal kicked off this afternoon in Santa Clara, California. The opening CCS tournament is hosting competitive youth futsal teams from the West Coast at the Santa Clara Convention Center. United Futsal caught up with the founding members of the CCS to discuss what motivated them to join the youth futsal competition series.
Over the last 10 years, the growth of futsal in the United States has left youth teams searching for an annual competition that further legitimizes the sport. For founding members of the CCS, unpredictable opponents and the lack of a consistent schedule have limited the sport’s growth. With the CCS, United Futsal is now guiding futsal in a direction that resolves these ongoing issues.
“I hope the CCS provides competition on a more consistent basis,” said Valdemar Mendez, Toque Futsal Youth Program Director. “That is the problem we have [in the United States]. I believe in the CCS because it provides a consistent, competitive environment. We have played in several tournaments across the country and see that the quality level as well as the culture of futsal isn't well established just yet."
“Futsal is all over the place right now with a bunch of different leagues," said Jeff Baicher, De Anza Force Director of Coaching. "The competition is unpredictable and the standards are really low relative to facilities. The CCS provides an opportunity to bring everybody that can be part of futsal into one competition with standards.”
An additional aspect that attracted the CCS founding members is the accessibility to professional coaches abroad. United Futsal connects its international coaching partners with CCS member clubs, which progresses their programs but also the sport in general.
“The tournament format is unique and special, but the golden aspect is the access to top coaches around the world,” said Rob Bell, Ballistic United Futsal Director of Coaching. “Founding CCS clubs will be given access to international coaches, which I think will be the lasting legacy of United Futsal. There are fantastic intentions in the U.S., but the reality is that very few coaches have access to how the game is played, tactics-wise, in Brazil and Spain. That is slowly starting to change but it can’t just be done by half a dozen clubs. I think the United Futsal initiative is planting the seed for meaningful futsal in the decades to come.”
To raise the stakes, the CCS format includes a considerable prize for member clubs. The three CCS Regional Championships are the beginning of a year-long journey for teams that have sights set on international competition. At the CCS National Championships held during summer, Division 1 winners earn free tournament entry and accommodation for the World Futsal Cup hosted by United Futsal in Barcelona, Spain.
“What is juicy about the United Futsal offering is that the structure leads to a major international event,” said Bell. “In addition to the World Futsal Championships, there is the World Futsal Cup that you can win entrance to. That is very distinctive and meaningful. It points clubs and players in a direction that creates more focused and intense training due to everyone aiming for a prize that is pretty darn special."
“I have explained the event to my players and how it’s something to look forward to,” said Alex Lobban, Mustang SC Development Academy Director. “I’ve told them about the teams we play and the opportunities after West Regionals. It’s been a case of getting them excited about it. For us, it’s an opportunity to experience competitive futsal by playing teams from outside our area.”
Stay tuned for more CCS West Regional Championships coverage!