Massachusetts scored two fantastic victories at the 2013 USFF Regional Futsal Tournament held in Wildwood, NJ on Monday, Feb. 19. The local New England Futsal Hawks U17 Boys and the Open Men’s Safira FC won their divisions in two highly charged finals thus qualifying for the Nationals in California in July 2013.
The U17 Hawks defeated last year’s National Champions, NJ Futsal Elite, by 7 to 3 score. The game was intense, but the Hawks mastered the Elite with goalie Daniel Sprague’s exceptional saves, Chris Doire’s phenomenal foot skills, Brendan McDonough’s articulate runs, Cole Booth’s speed and precise shots, Drew Humphrey’s agility and Alex Thompson’s strength and blocking abilities. The Hawks coach, Mirian Sousa from Wrentham, said that the team pulled together with amazing cohesion and speed to find holes in their opponent’s tough defense. It was an exciting game attracting a large crowd from all the Massachusetts teams present who cheered loudly for the underdog Hawks.
The men’s Safira FC Futsal added another title to its collection after defeating Massachusetts-based Expos by 3 to 2. This is the fifth consecutive regional championship for the two-time national champion Safira FC. In a game of finesse and skill, the men demonstrated unsurpassed footwork and scoring skill under intense pressure, attracting a large crowd of enthusiastic fans.
The New England Futsal Academy U15 girls also put on a good show. This bracket had the most teams of all, with ten premier teams from across the region. They were all excellent teams! The NEFA girls were in good shape up to the semi-finals, winning every game in the first phase with a total of 15 goals. Their heart-breaking loss in the semi-final to the NJ Tigers was their only defeat all weekend.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, futsal is a 5v5 version of soccer played on a basketball court. Futsal is an 80-year old worldwide sport played in the US for several years, but just recently taking hold in this country. Futsal is the great secret to developing soccer skills and finesse to work the special low-bounce ball in a small space. This USFF sanctioned Regional Tournament, second only to Nationals, is the most prestigious Futsal Championship in the US. Distributed in five regions, this yearly tournament draws highly competitive premier state qualifiers every year. The sport is growing in the country and this year alone, the Northeast region had its biggest turnout with 180 teams from 15 states.