My husband is a former soccer player and a current soccer fan, and he coached our son’s soccer team through the local YMCA last Fall. We enjoyed it, but in the Spring we decided to avoid a season of rained-out Spring soccer games and instead enroll our 7 year old son in City Futsal clinics near our home.
First: what is futsal? Futsal is a modified form of soccer. The game is played with five players per side on a smaller, indoor court. The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity, technique, ball control. It is different than indoor soccer though because there is no play off the walls, which means the above listed skills acquired in Futsal will translate onto the outdoor soccer field. They offer leagues, clinics, teams and camps at the various locations in Dallas.
Just to be clear, we have nothing against the YMCA or other youth leagues, but we have found City Futsal to be a better fit for our family. Here are the top six-and-a-half reasons City Futsal has been better (for us) than YMCA soccer:
- No Saturday games. We have loved the freedom we have maintained as a family to scoot out of town when the weather is nice since we aren’t planning around a Saturday morning soccer game. Futsal plays pick up games on Friday evenings, and they are voluntary so you can go if it works for you. They divide into teams based on how many people show up, and they rearrange the teams to keep the play even and fast. Which leads to number 2…
- No lashings. The teams are split up by coaches for games with the goal of even matches…if one team starts lashing another, they switch a kid over to even it out. What results is watching great soccer every week.
- The coaches are all trained. When coaches are dad volunteers, they can range in skill and in coaching ability for obvious reasons. At City Futsal, there are no volunteer coaches, only trained, hired, and paid coaches. In addition, the coaches rotate teams that they lead so that every team experiences every coach at some point. This means an excellent level of coaching for all instead of the widely varied levels of coaching seen in Y sports.
- You pick your clinic time. You can see the time and days available and pick the one that is best for your family. We are doing a development league this year that means my eight-year-old gets to play from around 3pm till 5pm twice a week. I love not missing a single family dinner for soccer! We could choose the same program and go only one day or up to 4 days per week.
- The skill level is unreal. If you want your kid to learn good soccer skills, this is the place to do it. My hubby and I watched some youtube videos of young futsalers around the world (the program started in South America and is also big in Europe) and he was instantly sold.
- (My personal favorite) No participation trophies. Your kid’s prize is instead the pride s/he feels when a new skill is conquered. The end.
6 1/2. Mark Cuban thinks it’s a winning proposition. Who am I to disagree?
If you’re interested, most locations should let your kid try out a class or two for free to see how good of a fit it is. And if you like it as much as we do, let me know in the comments what your favorite part of playing in a City Futsal league has been!