Have you ever wondered where two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho learned his incredible footwork, dribbling, and ball-handling skills? Well, they came from the indoor futsal court. Fortunately for Colorado College intramurals, futsal has made the journey up from South America and landed in the El Pomar Small Gym for the pre-holiday tournament. The tournament is taking place throughout block four. The 19 teams, which naturally sport classic CC IM names like the “Half Chubbies” and “Kim Jong’s Illness,” include talented CC soccer players and professors alike.
Futsal, a soccer spin-off of Brazilian origin, is an intense, fast-paced, five-on-five indoor battle that Ronaldinho cites as a major influence in his development as a soccer player. The sport is essentially a condensed version of soccer, crammed into a small, hardwood court with four players and a net-minder to each side. The smaller space, the hard court, and the smaller ball all combine to create a sport of quick moves and fancy footwork.
“It’s a fast-paced, flashy game,” former CC men’s soccer player Sawyer Connelly said. Futsal at CC is living up to the sport’s reputation of intense gameplay. According to Connelly, who also works as a referee in the futsal tournament, many of the teams have former CC men’s soccer players and players who were on their high school’s Varsity squads.
“Though at this level it’s not a very technical sport,” Connelly said, “it is extremely fast-paced and high-scoring. Shots on shots.”
When asked how the sport compared to outdoor soccer, Connelly said, “Outdoor is more strategic. You have to set up the attack in order to score.”
In futsal, however, the smaller space makes setting up plays more difficult and places an emphasis on footwork and ball-handling skills in order to get past defenders.
“The faster-paced game means that you need more field knowledge,” CC women’s club soccer team captain Alli Weibel said. “You have to be decisive and be aware of how you’re moving to get open for other players.”
Another futsal competitor, Griffin Ludwig, said, “[It is] more intense, but less physically exhausting. Outdoor has much more position play.”
“There is more room for error outdoors,” Weibel added. “The constant proximity to the goal makes it easy for the other team to score off turnovers.”
Though the sport may be foreign to non-soccer enthusiasts, it is just like any other CC IM. The pre-holiday futsal tournament is competitive, but maintains the attitude that everyone is there for a good time.
The gender ratio, which is an issue that many IM teams face, also plays a role in strategy. Like most IMs, the under-represented sex must have two players on the court at all times. In this case, teams are always looking for competitive female players. “If you want to win, you have to have good female players,” said Ludwig.
With the elimination of the turf room in the old El Pomar Sports Center, the traditional indoor soccer tournament has been replaced by its more exotic cousin, futsal.
Regarding the switch, Weibel said, “I think people are really happy. I enjoy [futsal] more because of the added creativity and faster pace.”
Thinking that futsal might be your next intramural endeavor? Don’t worry. Even though you are too late for this block’s tournament, the official futsal season begins the second week of fifth block. Get online and fill out your roster by Jan. 25 to get in on all the fast-paced, high-scoring action.