Futsal Hits the Fieldhouse: Weekend Tournament A Tryout For Alberta College Conference


Editor’s Note: The best futsal talent and leagues in Canada right now are without question based in Montreal and Ontario. Having said that you have to love how both Alberta College Athletics groups are leading the way in getting futsal into the collegiate sporting landscape. Hopefully the OCAA, FQSE, and BCCAA will notice how beneficial the sport can be for its portfolio.

By: Darren Steinke, dsteinke@medicinehatnews.com

A version of soccer, which may have more of the tempo of a hockey game, is set to hit the Cypress Centre Fieldhouse this weekend.
Starting on Friday, the Medicine Hat College Rattlers will host a futsal tournament on the three small fields at the Fieldhouse. The event runs through to Sunday with the championship finals in both the men’s and women’s divisions slated for 2 p.m.

A total of eight men’s and eight women’s clubs will compete in the tournament. The Rattlers have two mens and two womens entries in this event.
Futsal is being run on a loose tryout basis by the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference with tournaments in three different locations. There are no conference championships this year, but there could be next season.

Bryce Henderson, who is one of the captains of the Rattlers men’s soccer program, said spectators will see a number of obvious differences compared to the outdoor game.

“There are some concepts that transfer over, but it is a totally different, faster style of game,” said Henderson. “It is a lot more technical, which isn’t really tapered to my style of play.

“I am more of a defender that goes out trying to tackle people, and you can’t do that in futsal. It is making people like myself adjust to a different style of play.”

The teams play each other 4-on-4 with a keeper in each net. Games are set for two halves that are 20 minutes in length, and clubs are able to make line changes. Each line is usually on the field for a 30-second shift, which makes the game’s pace similar to hockey.

Also, teams can’t pass the ball back to their keep until they cross half. When a club piles up five fouls, their opponent is awarded a penalty shot.
“It is a great way to keep in shape, because we are training about three times a week,” said Lindsay Hazelaar, who is one of the captains of the Rattlers women’s team. “We definitely stay in shape.

“With futsal being so quick, you need to have really good footwork skills and ball skills and passing skills. I am hoping that the stuff we learn from futsal will carry over into the outdoor game.”

In the first futsal tournament which ran Jan. 22-24 in Lloydminster, the Rattlers women’s team finished first, while the men’s team was third. The last futsal tourney is slated for March 19-21 at Keyano College in Fort McMurray.

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