By Katie Brooks
For the second year in a row Alexandria Soccer Association is prepping for the United States Futsal Federation national futsal tournament in California. This year though, ASA will send two teams to compete on the national stage. The 2002 boys team will return to defend their 2017 national title and the 2005 boys team will compete for their first championship.
Will Hanna, who coaches both the 2002 and the 2005 team said, “We’re incredibly proud of the work our two teams have put in to qualify for the USSF National Futsal Tournament. Our Futsal ID program has grown so quickly in such a short time and we are thrilled to offer our community and surrounding areas an avenue to play Futsal at the highest level in our country.”
Futsal ID is a competitive futsal program akin to travel soccer. The league and tournaments take place in the winter season although ASA offers futsal training year round. Futsal is played 5v5 on a hard court surface. It’s fast paced and played with a slightly heavier ball to reduce bounce.
After winning the Virginia State Championship, both teams traveled to Atlantic City in February to compete in the Northeast Regional Futsal competition. The 2002 boys cruised through group stage play with two wins and one tie. After winning their semifinal game they advanced to the final to play Sole Futsal Academy Strikers from Pennsylvania. With the final game tied 2–2 with 17 minutes left, ASA began to break things open. Scoring several goals in succession as the result of some quick transitions, the team clinched the title 6–2.
Because of the tournament structure, the 2005 boys team played six games at the regional tournament — more than any other team. After 39 minutes and 57 seconds of hard fought play in the final game, the opposing team scored to clinch the title 3-2. “The team has channeled the disappointment of that loss into preparation for Nationals. They are focused, determined and hungry to compete,” said Hanna.
The boys will head to Santa Clara, California in mid July to compete in the national tournament. In addition to training, they have been fundraising (refereeing, volunteering time and selling snacks) to help pay for some of their trip. The life lessons learned during this time are almost as important as those learned on the court. Hanna said, “We’re so grateful for the community support thus far and speaking from last year’s experience, the support from back home as we travel and play across the country is really amazing.”
And if your child would like to find out more and get involved in Futsal ID, tryouts for U9 – U18 boys and girls will be held on August 18th, 19th and October 6th. Visit alexandria-soccer.org to learn more.