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Futsal program continues to grow



Posted 1 year ago

Sarnia's youth futsal program is about to kick off its 20th year, with registration this weekend. Futsal, a form of five-on-five indoor soccer, is growing in popularity both locally and internationally, says Andy McKay, indoor director for the Sarnia Boys Soccer Club. "There's a Canadian national team ... and the sport is recognized by FIFA as a form of soccer. It even has its own World Cup," says McKay, adding he "fell in love with the sport", played in a gymnasium, because of its quickness. "It's an incredibly fast version of soccer," says McKay, "with a lot of emphasis on footwork and passing." McKay, who also coaches outdoor soccer in the summer, says he is particularly impressed by the futsal goalies who are "just flying all over the place. They have such quick reactions."

McKay says the goalies also venture out of their nets quite frequently -- sometimes all the way down the floor to attempt a shot on the opposition goal. Because of the wide open nature of the sport (and the smaller playing surface), McKay says scores can range much higher than outdoor soccer. "I coached a game last year that finished 15-14 ... and that was a semifinal game. It was really exciting," says McKay. "But you also get 1-0 and 2-0 games." Because of the sport's growing popularity, McKay says the program will increase from four divisions to five this year, with 6-8 teams per division. "We have the numbers to make that work now," says McKay, adding he expects between 350- 400 kids -- both girls and boys, as it is a co-ed program-- to register.

The majority of the games will be played at Lambton College, with Alexander Mackenzie and St. Pat's high schools also being used on occasion. Most of the games will be played on Saturdays, with some of the games in the older divisions being played on Sunday. Also this year, for the first time, the Sarnia association plans on forming four "travel" teams to play in an indoor soccer league in London. Those teams will be playing a seven-on-seven version of indoor soccer on a larger playing surface. Registration for boys and girls, ages 5-17, will be held this Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. both days, at the Point Edwards Travel and Tourism Centre.

Parent volunteers are also welcome to join.

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