As the director of Central Jersey Futsal, I have watched over the years, girls’ teams increase in numbers and in their quality of play.
I thought about why we are witnessing such a growth in the girl’s futsal game and these are the five top reasons I came up with.
The biggest and most important reason in my opinion is the hardly any concussion effect. In outdoor soccer where players must head the ball as part of the game, concussion numbers are through the roof. It has gotten so bad that US Youth Soccer instituted a rule change that players could not head the ball until the age of 11. That means all 10-year-old players and younger are not allowed to head the ball which takes away a major part of the soccer game as well as the fun of it, but safety must come first.
The number of concussions is even higher among female players at all ages. Yes, even the older more developed ages all the way to college and pro players.
Well problem is solved, as futsal uses a low bouncing ball and the game is mostly concentrated around foot skills. The ball does not get lifted off the ground at high levels very often and for those players that do lift the ball, the recipients of those high balls are taught to control the ball with other parts of their bodies rather than their head.
Furthermore because of the limited playing space it is not often that players will try and serve a high ball for a header. Long balls and high crosses are not a normal part of a futsal game.
SIZE IS NOT NEEDED
It is well documented that American soccer coaches love size gifted players. On both sides of the game, boys and girls, American youth teams have been traditionally known to be dominated by tall, fast, physical kids, relying mostly on the size and not on their skills.
This is where futsal is a game changer as it primarily needs quality skills from its players to be successful and size comes a far distant second. Futsal is the breeding ground for the development of skills which will massively aid the outdoor soccer game of any player.
Now, smaller female players with great technical skills have an outlet to play and excel after they have been constantly told by outdoor soccer coaches that although they are good players, their luck of size will not get them far in the game.
HIGHER IQ AT YOUTH AGE
It is well documented that girls mature faster at the younger starter ages than boys do. In fact, the college recruiting process starts a year earlier for the girls than the boys. Girls are much more coachable and their ability to absorb information is much higher at the younger ages.
Futsal requires earlier and faster information absorption so female players can find themselves excelling at futsal much younger than boys. Exposing female players to futsal development at the starter ages of 3 to 7 years of age will set them to a path of skill development that will make them fall in love with the sport much quicker than boys.
This reason goes hand in hand with the previous one mentioned. Because of the IQ girls seem to possess at the younger ages, futsal is the perfect tool to not only provide a much higher accelerated rate of skill development but allow the female player the chance to succeed at a younger age. This will naturally provide the female player the desire to compete harder at higher levels.
Lastly a smaller female player with out of this world skills, developed at a young age through futsal, may give her that opportunity to have her size overlooked by coaches.
FUN, FAST, FURIOUS
This next reason is why all soccer players, parents and coaches fall in love with the sport. Futsal is extremely fast paced, with constant nonstop action, and lots of goals. Players are around the ball and are involved in the action all the time. There is no down time. No time for a player to get bored. They must always be engaged in the game. Players surveyed on why they play soccer mentioned as top two reasons, kicking the ball and scoring goals. Futsal satisfies both of those needs on a much higher level that soccer does.
This also happens to be the number one reason mentioned by all parents that watch a futsal game for the first time. They all love the nonstop action and goals.
Loving something you do will make you do it for ever. Experiencing futsal and falling in love with it is why the sport will have a much higher appeal rate than soccer as well as retention rate. Futsal will help not only develop top soccer players but keep youth soccer players involved in soccer much longer and help decline the drop off rate.
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Niko is someone who believes passionately that futsal should be intentionally used as a tool for developing soccer players year-round and come first in the developing process at the younger starter age groups of 3-12 years of age. He has a massive amount of experiences, observations, thoughts and ideas from being submerged in the futsal community as a player, coach and operations director waiting to be released that could truly benefit the futsal community as well as the soccer coach that is just getting into the futsal methodology as a soccer development tool as well as the futsal game itself