Futsal Girls Chase Gold


Courtesy: Northern Sentinel www.bclocalnews.com/bc_north/northernsentinel

Futsal girls chasing gold

December 31, 2008

For the 16 girls that comprise the U16 futsal team in Kitimat, there is only one pressing New Years resolution: bring back a gold.


The team will be off to Richmond on January 2, returning on January 5, to test their skill against other futsal clubs, an indoor variation on soccer.

This will be the third time these girls have gone off to provincials, having made the trip twice prior to going to this year’s Northern BC Winter Games where Kitimat’s star athletes got a gold medal.

Having competed at those high level competitions before, team coach Richard Velho said the girls should be ready for this one.

“Now I think they’re a better prepared team,” said Velho. “They’re more focused [and] know what’s going to be involved in order to do well.”

The U16 team is mainly composed of 14-year-olds but there are two who are 16 and some that are 13.

Velho said that he keeps a wide spread like that so when the older girls move on there are already younger players ready to step up.

As a team Velho said that they are really starting to come together and have been building their confidence.

“They did great in the [Northern BC]Winter Games, going undefeated and winning their first gold medal in Futsal so they’re well prepared that way,” he said.

“They’re starting to see where everybody is without seeing them. They can visualize where someone is supposed to be or they can think ahead and know where to put the ball.”

It is a challenge getting the team to have a competitive edge as Kitimat is the only town in the northwest which offers the program, the closest other one being in Prince George.

In order to keep bringing the girls’ skills to a higher level Velho uses his years of coaching to his advantage.

“Fortunately I’ve been coaching for quite awhile in town, about 22 to 25 years, and I’ve coached a lot of the women’s teams and a lot of the women’s teams that I’ve coached have gone off to college soccer and university soccer and done quite well,” he said.

“So when they come back into town I just get a select group of them to play against the girls to give them… player-to-player aspect and they feed off of each other quite well that way.”

Enrolment, at least in the winter months, is hard because the sport has to compete with hockey, volleyball and basketball in the schools.

Right now from grade eight to ten there are 16 girls but in the spring the numbers grow as people are looking ahead to outdoor weather and preparing to join their own high school soccer team.

As for what makes futsal different from soccer, the answer is not much. Velho said that in futsal, in contrast to soccer, “you don’t have to be fast, just quick.”

By that he refers to the smaller playing area of futsal. In soccer you have to sustain speed to make it across a field but in futsal it’s just a quick turn and you’re on the other end of the floor.

There are some minor rule differences, such as an out of bounds ball is a kick-in, not a throw-in, but effectively it is much the same.

The futsal program is run out of the Riverlodge and registration to the Kitimat Youth Soccer Association is required.

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