Futsal hopes to gain foothold in Nanaimo

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Courtesy: Canada.com www.canada.com

04/01/2008

Futsal hopes to gain foothold in Nanaimo

By: Krista Charke , The Daily News

Futsal is making a comeback in Nanaimo.

The indoor version of soccer has been played in the community for more than twenty years, but has, for the most part, flown under the sports radar.
Next month the sport will be pushed into the spotlight when the Upper Vancouver Island Soccer Association, along with the Nanaimo Youth Soccer Club and Nanaimo Futsal Club, hosts the B.C. Soccer Association boys and girls under-14 and under-16 championships this weekend at Malaspina Gym.
Leo Beier, NYSC’s director of fustal, is looking forward to the sport getting the recognition it deserves with the hopes that the championships will draw more local interest.

“Nobody really knows about it,” he said during a futsal exhibition game at John Barsby Community School last Friday.
Gord Horth, co-coach of the Under-14 Metro girl’s Westmark Warriors, is still learning all the rules but says the indoor game will only improve his players’ skill on the turf.

The combination of a smaller playing field, and a low-bounce ball makes futsal an extremely fast game that puts a lot more pressure on players to perfect their skills.

“There’s no time for them to relax. . . they’re all totally involved, all the time,” said Horth.

Horth and co-coach Alan Yates expect to see a lot of improvement when the girls head outdoors again.

“They’re going to be a lot quicker. They’re forced to pick up on the speed of it . . . they have to be there and move the ball quickly or they’re going to lose it,” said Yates.

B.C. championships, which are expected to draw 14 teams, will be played under a round-robin format and the Warriors will compete against the Cowichan Eagles for a trip to the nationals in Ontario in April.

The championships, which feature boys and girls teams in under-14, under-15 and under-16 divisions, gets underway at 9 a.m. today at Mal-U gymnasium. The games are open to the general public.

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