Summer Youth Academy Kicks Off This Week with Biggest Numbers Yet
Two years ago futsal was relatively unknown in the Lansing area. Fast forward to now and you will find a thriving Youth Academy and Professional team that travels from the Midwest, to Canada, and all the way to the East Coast to participate in the National League of Professional Futsal. So why is it growing?
I think that the sport is just really exciting. We have a ton of people who love coming to the pro games but hate watching soccer. The game is faster, has more goals, but still has a "purity" to it. Unlike (in my opinion) arena soccer because of the walls.
- City Youth Academy Director and Pro Player Jeremy Klepal
The game itself does help accelerate technical and creative skills in youth soccer players. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Neymar attribute their soccer success to playing futsal as they were growing up.
The thing about futsal is that it puts players in situations where they are to think fast and act fast. The ball moves so quickly on the court that in order to succeed you have to be thinking ahead and then have the technical skill to be able to act on that decision. It is that environment in futsal that helps develop soccer players. 1000 decisions and 1000 touches per training session. That's our motto
- Jeremy Klepal
Academy to Pro
One of the unique things about City, is the integration of the Professional team and the Youth Academy. The pro side features former local soccer players who have collegiate soccer experience all the way to pure futsal players who have professional international experience. It is that mix of talent and styles that propels City forward and inspires youth players to want to move up and play at that level. Already, coach Jacob Derby, has officially moved three youth products into the professional squad; Dylan Lack, David Saltsman, and Bu Reh. Both Dylan and David have earned starting spots in various professional games to their credit!
Futsal is small right now in the USA, and our vision is big for City. We want to establish a strong connection between the Youth Academy and Professional team to provide a pathway for players to be able to move through the ranks to the top team. When you come to a pro game you are going to see a lot of the youth players watching the game with passionate support. That is the cool part. They feel a part of all of this, and they are!
Futsal as a Development Tool
The clear spot for Futsal in the "sports world" is as a soccer development tool. You can see the proof in soccer stars like Iniesta, Messi, and Xavi who attribute their success in soccer to playing futsal. That simple fact attracts soccer players to futsal. If they can do something to dramatically improve their technical ability and creativity in the off-season of soccer then they are going to do it. The less clear spot for Futsal in the "sports world" is as a standalone sport. Some think it has the merit to do that and others see it as soccer's "little brother". After talking to some of the most avid supporters and fans of City, it is clear what they think. Futsal is going the distance.