The U.S. Youth Futsal Academy program took center stage last month in Overland Park, Kansas, where Columbus Futsal Academy joined nearly 30 of the nation’s top futsal academy teams for the first-ever USYF National Academy Showcase.
New Century Fieldhouse hosted the U10, U12, U14, and U17 age divisions for boys and a U13 age division for girls. Here are five things you need to know about the event:
1. WHAT IS THE SHOWCASE?
The 2019 USYF National Showcase was the centerpiece of the inaugural season for new Academy program launched just last year. Sixteen charter clubs started off the program after nearly a hundred applied and that number has recently climbed to a hand-selected twenty-four. The Showcase brought together clubs from across the country for competitive, high-level games.
Held throughout the inaugural season were multiple USYF Regional Showcases, including the Arnold Futsal Classic hosted right here in Columbus, OH. The Academy schedule was designed to match up teams against opposition they normally do not face in the course of regular season play. The showcase brackets were selected based on level of competition, styles of play, location and other factors to ensure the most meaningful games helping stakeholders acknowledge the growing futsal talent here in the United States.
Going into the 2019/20 season, regional league games and showcase games will count toward teams’ overall standings and USYF Academies will be able to place bids to host showcases in their cities.
During the USYF National Showcase week just a few miles away in metro Kansas City, Children’s Mercy Park hosted a CONCACAF Gold Cup double-headed with debutant Guyana against Caribbean rival Trinidad and Tobago and U.S. Men’s National Team versus 2018 FIFA World Cup participant Panama. Many Columbus Futsal Academy families were able to take a break and enjoy the atmosphere!
2. WHO ATTENDED?
56 games were played over the course of the showcase from 9 different USYF Academies who came to participate in the inaugural event, including:
Florida Crushers; Deerfield Beach, FL
OKC Futsal; Oklahoma City, OK
Futsala (IMG); Austin, TX
TSC Futsal; Tulsa, OK
ABK Futsal; Grand Rapids, MI
Charlotte Futsal; Charlotte, NC
FutsalRVA; Richmond, VA
Columbus Futsal: Columbus, OH
Phoenix Futsal; Fort Wayne, IN
Each of the 16 original USYF Academies were invited to travel to Kansas for the National Showcase. With more futsal-specific Academies now within the USYF family, attendance for year 2 will gather even more teams from around the country and the goal is for the National Showcase to be fully installed with all Academies by year 3.
3. A PLACE TO BE SEEN
U.S. Youth Futsal National ID staff were out in full force during the showcase including, USYF Technical Director Keith Tozer and more than twenty-five of the best futsal coaches from around the country. Among them representing Columbus, OH were Dante Garcia and Alex Talasca of Columbus Futsal Academy. Garcia joined the USYF National Staff for a second rotation and this year’s ID welcomed CFA Goleiro Director, Talasca.
The USYF National Academy Showcase was immediately followed by the USYF National ID trials for the selection of the U.S. Youth Futsal National Teams which offered prime opportunity for the National ID staff to evaluate legions of talented players in one place. The USYF National Team call-ups will be made solely from the 520+ youth players at the ID trials who underwent a State identification process for the invitation to Kansas. Each youth player called-up from ID will form the U18, U17, U16 and U15 boys and girls U.S. Youth Futsal National Teams that will travel to Argentina later this month and the U14, U13, U12, and U11 boys and girls U.S. Youth Futsal National Teams who will travel to Barcelona this winter for a series of international competitions. In fact, there was so much talent showcased at the younger ages (2009 and 2010) that this year’s trip to Barcelona might also include U10 and U9 boys—proving that futsal is thriving here in the U.S. and within local USYF communities.
The events brought together an impressive panel of coaches whom were all present for the annual USYF Coaching Symposium with special guest Diego Giustozzi who also met with players and mingled throughout the youth games. Giustozzi is the current coach of El Pozo Futsal playing in the prestigious leauge, LNFS in Spain and the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup Champion coach (Argentina). Futsal ID Director, Soorena Farboodmanesh, newly appointed USYF Executive Director Brian Catrine, USYF President Jon Parry were also noticed throughout the showcase and ID trials.
4. FEATURED GAMES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
For us, one the most memorable games was CFA U12 Academy vs TSC Futsal Academy who rostered a very talented Matthew Maciulis. All CFA U12 showcase games ran a tight score line, however we just didn’t have fresh legs to dominate the second halves. It was still fun to run the ball around with Matthew who also played at the Arnold Futsal Classic in March—check him out on IG!
Another standout match was the CFA U16 Academy game against a very technical Sporting KC Academy team. The level was high, the ball movement was beautiful, and the lessons learned on the court were irreplaceable.
5. HOW TO GET INVOLVED
National and International playing opportunities for serious futsal athletes can be cultivated by joining Columbus Futsal Academy’s tryouts this month or any of the USYF Academies across the county. For a full list of USYF Academies, visit: https://www.usyouthfutsal.com/academy
For photos, videos and more from the showcase and ID, visit any of our social media platforms--Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @CF__Academy, and YouTube!