Orlando, Florida - As futsal grows across the United States, the lack of playing opportunities has gradually become less of an issue. Recreational futsal training and leagues have sprouted in nearly all regions of the country. Although players can regularly participate at the recreational level, the fundamental differences that make the sport unique from soccer are not always part of the learning experience. Futsal continues to be a growing sport that requires attentiveness from those that teach the game.
The second United Futsal University Regional Diploma 1 recap addresses the importance of futsal-specific coaching courses.
No matter the experience, the coaches in attendance acknowledged futsal to be in a development period with vast room for improvement. At United Futsal University, the true fundamentals of the game and how to teach them are provided to those in a position to raise the quality level of youth futsal.
"Quality coaching courses are important because futsal is growing in the United States," said Derek Smith, School of Ginga (Cincinnati, OH) head coach. "Understanding how futsal is to be taught with the correct rules is going to benefit the sport. Compared to getting into futsal and not understanding how to teach the game properly."
"I feel like futsal hasn’t grown enough in the United States," said Rafael Nava, Chicago Street Futsal head coach. "People don’t know the game and understand its value. United Futsal providing coaching courses is good. Coaches get to see futsal and experience what it really is. And then try and apply it to their clubs."
For Philip Haynes of Yellowcap FC (Atlanta, GA), a novice youth futsal coach, the false equivalence between the understanding of futsal and soccer stands out as an issue for new coaches.
"A lot of guys with soccer backgrounds think they know a lot about futsal," said Haynes. "When you come into a course and learn all about the details and research - the academic side and theories of it - you walk away with a much deeper and better understanding. Without this course, I would have never seen this world of knowledge that I was lacking. I thought I knew something, but I came here and I know very little. So I need to learn more."
Teaching the proper laws and fundamentals of the game is a core mission of United Futsal University. With additional room for improvement in the U.S., youth futsal coaches serve as essential gatekeepers to the authentic sport.
"Coaching courses grow the game," said Mitchell Wilson, High Soccer Prospects (Orlando, FL) head coach. "And they grow knowledge within the game itself. The more coaches know, the more we can relay information to others."
As stated in the previous Regional Diploma 1 recap, futsal is unique with contrasting concepts to soccer. United Futsal University not only provides coaches with basic knowledge of the game but also directions for teaching youth players the distinct sport.
"The course was more coach instruction instead of play instruction," said Wilson. "He taught coaches how to help kids get better at futsal."
"The coaching session helped me understand the difference between futsal and soccer," said Jason Ford, Select Soccer Academy (SSA) (Miami, FL) head coach. "And the difference between how to coach futsal. For me, it was beneficial in terms of understanding the different nuances of the game. It’s totally different from soccer, which is my base."
Due to the continued development of youth futsal in the U.S., adapting as a coach is essential. A common theme throughout the Regional Diploma 1 course was negotiating drill difficulty based on the skill level of players. United Futsal University endorses training sessions that are designed for players to advance and meet outlined goals. A coach is responsible for monitoring performance and progression, which starts with the training curriculum.
United Futsal University aims to equip youth futsal coaches with knowledge that improves player performance. The insight provided to CCS coaches at Regional Diploma 1 will be shared with the next generation of youth futsal players.
"The players are going to benefit directly because the more I learn - it translates directly to the kids," said Haynes. "The knowledge I gain here is going to be implemented in practice. And they are going to improve."
"I definitely have more knowledge," said Wilson. "I will take the information I learned yesterday and provide it to players that will hopefully become better. I think it will be really good."
As outlined, the mission of United Futsal University is to raise the quality level of youth futsal. However, the broader impact that futsal has on soccer development should also be considered a beneficiary of Regional Diploma 1.
"Courses like these will help increase the quality of players and clubs," said Ford. "Most, if not all, of these kids play both futsal and soccer. From a player standpoint, it will benefit the larger game of soccer - once kids learn these tools and bring them back to the grass. We have seen it firsthand with our academy boys."
We are thankful for the coaches that attended the opening session of United Futsal University. In the third and final recap of Regional Diploma 1, how CCS clubs will utilize the information in order to progress will be discussed.