Friendship guides Palafolls futsal inside the courts of Spain

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Friendship. A simple word with a simple meaning that has the power to change lives.

In 2007, a group of friends who played for different teams created Palafolls futsal club to play together after years as opponents on the court.

Ten years later they are ready to compete and make new friends in World Futsal Cup VI, just a few minutes away from their home city of Palafolls. In this championship, they have the incredible experience to duel against some of the most prestigious clubs in the world, coming from different countries like Brazil, England, Australia, Colombia and the United States.

“The World Futsal Cup is a prestigious event that helps our sport grow in our region as the greatest clubs in the world come to Spain to be a part of it,” said Ricardo Anaya Fairley, coach of the club. “As a local club, we are always open to help other teams learn new skills and our goal with this tournament is to help grow our players by giving them the opportunity to play against the best of the best.”

Last year, Palafolls played at the World Futsal Cup V. They won two games, lost two and finished in fifth place of Infantil Category.

The club is known for playing the highest level of futsal in Catalonia and has received clubs from other countries like France and Australia for friendly matches.

However, Fairley prioritizes his team and players above achievements in the court.

“Our major achievement is that most of our players stay with us year after year without moving to other competitor clubs in the area,” said the coach. He attributes the retention of players to the friendship that they encourage and the team building.

His team will come together one more time at World Futsal Cup VI where they will will remain united, whatever the result, as they always have been.

Portland futsal club makes it to World Futsal Cup VI

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Four years ago, ten families from the North East Portland community created futsal club Rose City Futsal. At their Portland headquarters, they have three futsal courts but plan to expand with a second location.
“Futsal is a fast growing sport. Portland is very open to it and is growing rapidly here. There are new facilities, teams, clubs and leagues every year," said coach Eduardo Araujo. "We want to build a strong regional league in Portland in conjunction with different facilities. Furthermore, we want to create and establish yearlong futsal players in youth and the adult levels.”
To create this “futsal culture”, Rose City Futsal has established a series of youth teams that  regularly play tournaments in United States. In 2015, they won the World Futsal Championships in Orlando, with a winning team composed of players who were 12 and 13 years old. This is the biggest title of their history and encouraged the team in search new horizons.

This December, the team will travel to Blanes, Spain where they will play at the World Futsal Cup VI against some of the best teams of the world. Facing the best teams from all over the world is exactly what coach Eduardo Araujo is looking forward to.

“The World Futsal Cup gives an opportunity for players to see new levels of play and share the knowledge and excitement when they get back home,” said Araujo.
At the World Futsal Cup VI, Rose City will learn different styles of play futsal and return home with an arsenal of knowledge that will help them influence futsal players and fans in the Portland community.
The excitement generated by World Futsal Cup VI will help Rose City bring the sport of futsal to Portland and the United States.

Alianza Futsal completes a great season with World Futsal Cup VI

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Alianza started this season with a clear objective: to play at the finals at the World Futsal Championships. They made it, but lost the final against Rio by 7-0. However, the  competition was positive, especially with all the memories made at the tournament.

“After the finals were done, it was so nice to see the kids from Australia, Rio and Alianza playing in the pool and talking. I took home the memories of seeing my kids happy and making new friends for life, friends that share the same love for futsal,” said Sheila Quispe, founder of Alianza.

Her son Joel is one of the best players of the team. Together with Johan Velez, goalscorer of World Futsal Cup V, they were selected to participate in the Elite 96 camps and to be part in the Top 12 Experience, allowing them to train with FC Barcelona.

To complete a great season, (which also included the Gatorade 5V5 championship, NYCCUP and 5v5 Univision Cup), Alianza Futsal will play the World Futsal Cup VIin Spainthis December.

“The World Futsal Cup V helped us prepare because we learned to be more physical to protect the ball and we learned tactics from playing other teams such as FC Barcelona, Rio and Japanese Badral/Rad,” said Sheila.

During this season, Alianza faced some obstacles, but the players and their desire to play makes Sheila excited for their future.

“I know many professional teams find players from other countries who have the skills to play but we are the example that the USA also has great players and that they will play with all their hearts for their country,” said Sheila. “Alianza boys play with heart. They consider each other brothers and their close relationship inside and outside the field is what makes them such great players. For us everyone that joins Alianza becomes family, and family always stays together.”

It is with this feeling that Alianza will come to World Futsal Cup VI. They are ready to learn, ready to make friends and conquer a title.

With ‘license to skill’, Blaby Bullets breaks English stereotype

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Blaby Bullets, located in the Leicester area, wants to show in the World Futsal Cup VI that one futsal club could put together different styles of the game.

“We aim to break free of traditional English stereotypes. Admiring Spanish structure and tactics, combined with Brazilian freedom, flair and creativity we aim to develop creative, technical and intelligent players,” said coach Ian Bannister.

One special phrase is highlighted always by Bannister and shows the principles of the club and the freedom that his athletes have when they have the ball in their feet’s: license to skill.

The club was founded in 2011 but had just soccer in the beginning. Futsal was added in 2013 as a crucial part of the player development pathway. Now the sport is very popular in the Leicester area, with 88 teams competing in all competitions from age Under10 to Under14 in the 2016/2017 season.

“The reason for the foundation of the club was promoting a love of the ball from a young age (individually and as a team) whilst encouraging creativity, decision making and a ‘license to skill’ has allowed all players the chance to maximize their development through regular soccer and futsal training and competition,” said Bannister

One big challenge ahead

Blaby Bullets won some tournaments in their home country including a championship at St. George’s Park, the home of the England national soccer team, this August. Showing their potential in a huge place was proof of their talent and their power in the country.

The next challenge is very big: World Futsal Cup VI, tournament that will be played in Blanes, Spain, this December, and have great teams from different countries. This will be the first international experience for the majority of the squad and they are very excited to travel and have unforgettable matches.

“World Futsal Cup VI is a fantastic opportunity for the Bullets squad to test ourselves against some of the best teams in the world,” said Bannister. “Furthermore, we intend to enjoy the whole experience, culture and the simple things like staying away together as a team. Some of our players have never even been abroad before.”

In preparation, the boys of Blaby Bullets have come together for futsal sessions, training games and team building days, including swimming, tennis and relaxing at a local leisure club. The plan is to compete well with freedom to impress the fans using intelligent, creative and skillful play against some of the best teams in the world.

Freelance Futsal Int'l will face international opponents at World Futsal Cup VI

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Since its creation in 2014, Freelance Futsal Int'l has proved that futsal is for everyone. The club was created after the Kix4Chix Int'l, (formed as a girls-only academy), had such great success that they drew a large influx of boys who wanted to join the club and be part of the journey.
Now, Freelance Futsal Int'l has multiple academy locations throughout Australia with founder Nomes Langham doing the coaching at each of these locations. Her dedication to the sport and her players is unparalleled.

"Our belief system is to create opportunities for all children, especially those less fortunate. Bringing children together and growing their futsal knowledge and skills whilst teaching them about professionalism and acceptance are our main goals and we are lucky enough to have a large number of supporters around Australia and ever expanding around the world," said Langham.

This year, the club expanded operations beyond the Australian border in order to carry on this mission of inclusiveness. Their first international experience was in Orlando where they competed in the Cadete Category at the World Futsal Championships, winning the gold medal in their division.

"Playing at the World Futsal Championships was a great experience for us; as our first collective international campaign to gain a gold medal in our division was a bonus," said Langham.

Now their next challenge is World Futsal Cup VI where they will face teams like the Japanese Badral/RAD, the Colombian Futsal City Atlas and Spanish FC Barcelona.

Langham is proud and confident of the team she has assembled, with players selected from Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Their participation in the tournament will help the team gain momentum in Australia where Langham hopes to carry on a spirit of diversity and inclusion for the sport.

Her young players will represent one of four continents playing at the tournament to complete an unforgettable year.

City Futsal is ready to impress again at World Futsal Cup VI

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Brazil and Spain are some of the best futsal teams in the world, but this December a Texas club will arrive to challenge them in the fight for the title at World Futsal Cup VI.

City Futsal, based in Dallas, Texas had great campaigns in the last editions of the World Futsal Cup and the World Futsal Championships. Their mission is to promote and spread the game of futsal through training programs and the production of tournaments and events.

The club has academies in Carrolton, Richardson and Dallas where they provide training at the adult and youth level, including specific trainings for goalkeepers and an Individual Player Devolopment Program (FDSP).

“We are proud of the multiple local, regional, national and international tournaments we have competed in and either come out on top or competed well with our objectives being successfully implemented and executed by the players,” said Manuel Mariel, owner of City Futsal.

"Our main objective is not to ‘win’ competition but to develop intelligent, self-reliant players for the future. Our achievements are measured by success of the individual player and growth of the sport of futsal being used for the development of future U.S. soccer stars,”

Their performance in past tournaments

In August, City Futsal impressed at the World Futsal Championships with four victories, one defeat, 53 goals scored and nine suffered, winning them Silver in the Cadete category. They had a fantastic victory of 14-0 against Santos, with their only defeat against Brazilian champion, Rio.

Last year, they had a great performance in World Futsal Cup V, finishing in third place. In the finals, they played an intense match against FC Barcelona. The Spanish side won by 5-3 in one of the best matches of the tournament. In the dispute for the bronze medal, they succeed against Alianza, another American team, in another great game (9 x 5).

“It is always a privilege to be able to not only play on the same court as Barcelona, but to be able to compete at their level and minutes away from almost beating them to move on to the final. Nobody likes to lose, especially the group of players who participated in last year’s World Futsal Cup, but the experience the players and myself as a coach gain from those games will forever help us through future opportunities and experiences,” said Manuel.

This year, the teams participating in World Futsal Cup VI await the return of City Futsal. For these young players, this will be an opportunity to face old opponents in the quest for gold.

Santos, the home of Neymar and Pelé, will show off their future stars in World Futsal Cup VI

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The world knows Santos as the first team that Pelé and Neymar played for. With their long history and titles, they count on fans all over the world.

Neymar, Robinho and other stars in Santos' history have another thing in common: they started their career playing futsal. The team is known for giving opportunities to young players and has a futsal academy that generates impressive players for the soccer club.

Part of this futsal academy will come to Spain in December to compete in World Futsal Cup VI, one of the most prestigious youth tournaments in the world.
Last year they showed great skill and were crowned champions of the Benjamin category with four games, four victories, 33 goals scored and just three goals suffered. The Brazilian club also had the best goalkeeper (João Paulo Oliveira) and MVP (Caio Gomes) of last edition's tournament.
“Santos impressed everyone with their performance last year. They competed in the youngest age group but their level of play was far beyond their years,” said Doug Reed, tournament director.
This year, fans in Spain expect another great performance from Santos. We are sure they will not disappoint.

Futsal Dinamo to represent Croatia in World Futsal Cup VI

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In 2012, Croatia hosted the UEFA Futsal EURO (European Championships). That same year, Futsal Dinamo was created. Since then, coaches and players have laid the foundation for a club whose fans and members own and run operations. To talk about this interesting model, we sat down with Joraj Cosic, director of Futsal Dinamo. In a candid interview, we talked about the players he’s bringing to World Futsal Cup VI, his dream for the club and how he’s preparing his players for what will be their biggest tournament yet.
UNITED FUTSAL: What should our readers know about you?

Cosic: Futsal Dinamo was founded in 2012. It competed with limited success in Croatian second futsal division, but in spring of 2014, the club took-off properly when Bad Blue Boys, the Zagreb-based supporter group of NK Dinamo, got involved in the club. Since then we secured a comfortable promotion to the top tier and have been competing for the title.

UNITED FUTSAL: How are you different from other futsal clubs?

Cosic: We are a fan-owned club that functions on 'one member – one vote' principle. Every member of the club is its owner and has a possibility to vote and steer the club in the direction in which majority of fans wants to see the club moving. Since the Bad Blue Boys were repressed out from our stadium, the idea was to gather all Dinamo fans around our futsal club so that the tradition of supporting Dinamo survives through our futsal club.

UNITED FUTSAL: That’s an interesting model. Why choose to be a fan-governed club?

Cosic: Our mission is to represent our name and colours wherever we play and to promote fan-owned governance as an ideal and long-term success model of sports club governance. We believe that club is above all individuals when it is run by its fans/members and that no individual can hold exclusive rights on Dinamo because fans are the club.

UNITED FUTSAL: Croatia made its debut in the World Cup in ’94, how has the futsal landscape in the country helped to define the club and its goals?

Cosic: Compared to some other countries it is safe to say that futsal is very competitive in Croatia. There are many very talented players that emerge every year and it is very interesting to follow the development of these young players. Professional futsal is still in its infancy since not all clubs can afford all the expenses of professionalism. However, we have put ourselves in the mix and through innovations and high level of competitiveness, we strive to move everybody towards more a professional approach. Luckily, others will follow and we will be able to better position Croatia on a European and World futsal map. Talent is here, we just have to utilize it.

UNITED FUTSAL: I imagine you have very regimented training sessions, what is your secret to preparing for World Futsal Cup VI this December?

Cosic: We have a serious approach to this Cup. We will hold a number of intra-squad tournaments to get the best possible selection of young players to represent our club in Barcelona. Our expectations are that the tournament will be a competitive one with many different playing styles from around the world. We are excited to be part of it and really looking forward to the start of the tournament.

UNITED FUTSAL: From what we’ve seen, your players are in a good spot for the tournament; have you trained with international teams?

Cosic: Yes, we played in one tournament in Croatia, with teams from five different countries. It was a great experience for players and staff, but the World Futsal Cup VI is totally different story. Our Club will have our own international tournament for U17 and U19 category in December. Its great way to make a new friendship and partners.

UNITED FUTSAL: What do you hope your players get out of this experience?

Cosic: Since this is our first appearance on such tournament, we will strive to take as many positives as possible, but letting these young players enjoy themselves, play futsal and gather experience for their future career is the most important thing that we expect to get from this tournament. There is no doubt that our young players will come out as better players and people after this tournament is finished.

UNITED FUTSAL: No doubt. They will meet many teams and get exposure to different styles of play from the best youth teams. But tell me, as a coach, what will be (or what has been) your club’s greatest achievement?

Cosic:  Some of our most notable achievements are a dominant promotion to the top tier a few years back and our participation in every season playoffs since then. I think the best is yet to come and I am confident that we are on a correct path. We are getting closer to the title every year and clinching that one will be our best achievement so far. It is what we owe to our fantastic fans and ourselves. I would also highlight our open approach to the fans and our members. We want all our fans and members to feel as a part of the community and Dinamo family. I think that our strong foundations are our best achievement.

UNITED FUTSAL: You mentioned you’re selecting the best players from your club for the tournament, anything you can tell our readers about them?

Cosic: I can only promise you that they will represent our trademark attacking style of play and that they will give their best to promote our club in best possible fashion on this big international scene.

Family and sports blending: DC Hyper founded by father to pass futsal legacy to son

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Former professional player, Wilson Matos has been living in Washington D.C. since 1997; However, his passion for futsal never diminished, and when he saw that there were no clubs in the area, he created DC  Hyper in 2014. His hope is to pass on his love of the sport to his son.

“Futsal in D.C. is getting popular now. After great results from the club over the last three years in local, regional and national tournaments, more academy kids are signing up for our futsal program,” said Matos.

To say that their results have been great is humble of Matos--their results have been quite impressive.

They have been finalists of all the major futsal tournaments they played in the U.S. at the regional and national level. This past year, they won the Benjamin category of the 2017 World Futsal Championships with five victories in five games. In the Alevin category they had three victories and two defeats.

In 2018, DC  Hyper plans to travel to Brazil where players will complete training sessions with Pulo do Gato, a club from the city of Campinas.

Testing themselves in Spain

The same players that won the U.S. tournaments this year will go to Spain in December to test themselves at World Futsal Cup VI. Matos knows his player's opponents are mighty but he is confident that his young players will impress the crowd in Europe.

“All our players are USSDA players so they are all training at the highest level outdoors at least three times per week and they spend two days of the week training futsal with us,” said the coach. “I'm aware of the level of play we will be facing in Spain so we are getting ready to compete against any team.”

Badral/RAD developing World Futsal Cup VI players into professional futsal players

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In 1998, players from Maikai University formed futsal club Badral/RAD. Now, with almost 20 years under their belt, they have participated in multiple international tournaments.
The club's plans for the future are ambitious, with their sights set on World Futsal Cup VI this December.

“We want players who compete in World Futsal Cup VI to reach the professional level in the future and go on to win titles in Japan,” said Kenzuke Takahashi, head coach.

Last year, Badral/RAD played in the Juvenil, Infantil and Cadete categories at World Futsal Cup V, reaching the semifinal in these last two and playing against seasoned clubs like Corinthians and FC Barcelona.

One of their players, Shutaro Nakashima, made headlines after being recruited by pro Brazilian outfit Intelli Futsal after the tournament.

The level of play at the World Futsal Cup has historically drawn top talent, bringing elite scouts and coaches to the matches. Intelli is one of the most prestigious clubs in Brazil and was home to Falcão, the biggest futsal star of all time.

After seeing the success that Nakashima enjoyed last year, the young squads of Badral/RAD dream about the possibilities provided by World Futsal Cup VI. They have been tirelessly training for months and are ready to showcase their skill in Spain.