While this year’s winter season has brought an unusual amount of snow and ice to the region, the feet of hundreds of DC Stoddert Soccer youth players have been hot, thanks in part, to the club’s CITY FC winter futsal programs.
Led by Roy Kelly, Co-Founder and Technical Director, CITY FC has provided fun and engaging futsal training activities for more than 250 Stoddert Nation youth on Saturdays in area gymnasiums across the Nation’s Capital. Players who participate in the CITY FC program work together to acquire new technical skills through small-sided games and training activities that correspond to the game of Futsal, which is a fast-paced, five-on-five indoor soccer game that is played with defined boundaries, a smaller ball and no walls.
"Futsal is a fantastic way for young players to super-charge their technical development and tactical understanding of the indoor game and related aspects of outdoor soccer.” said Kelly.
CITY FC coaches have been addressing various technical aspects of soccer that include passing and receiving, dribbling, turning, shielding the ball and learning how to develop a softer touch with the foot so as to maintain control of the ball. Kelly further explained how participants are being placed in faster paced, small-sided games prior to full court scrimmages in order to encourage more communication among teammates and to build teamwork.
“The simple fact that there are fewer players now dealing with a more confined space, means more touches on the ball, constant involvement on offense, defense and transition, and conditions that promote inventiveness and creativity to escape tight situations. Throw in set-plays, offensive rotations, timeouts, and a variety of other strategic devices and players develop a new level of thinking and problem solving they rarely get in the youth game outdoors."
The CITY FC program has been active since 2007 during which time Kelly partnered with Dan Driscoll, both of whom were coaching locally, to develop a Futsal-based model for youth with an emphasis on academic preparation and mentorship.
"We started City FC in 2007 to provide an organized club soccer and futsal experience for DCPS high-schoolers, while also offering formal and informal mentorship to help them along in school and life."
In just eight years, it has expanded to serve youth and families in the Stoddert Nation while also striving to unite youth across the District and increase the number of educational and recreational opportunities, including but not limited to soccer. Kelly estimates that more than 3,000 youth, ages 8-18, have participated in the program and given back to the game in one form or another.
"Futsal has been played around the world for decades with professional leagues in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Sadly, I had never heard of it until I was out of college and studying abroad in Spain. It was there that I got the chance to see the game and play pickup after classes, and when I did, I honestly felt kind of cheated that I had grown up without it in the States. I would have been a much different, better all-around player. But don't cry for me, I still play now and love it! I also love sharing the game with our kids through City FC."
This winter, CITY FC employed a total of seven coaches at three gymnasiums across the city to teach the fundamentals of passing, receiving, dribbling, shooting and teamwork to boys and girls, ages 6-15. Most of children never played with a Futsal ball before or had seen the game up close and personal. Thanks to Coach Kelly and his dedicated corps of CITY FC coaches, the kids are playing a little bit more ‘Jogo Bonito’ and soon to bring that back to their teams during the upcoming spring season.
To learn how you can enroll your son or daughter in the CITY FC futsal program, contact Roy Kelly or visit the CITY FC page on the DC Stoddert Soccer website.