The Red Deer College Queens soccer team had a solid fall season this year but the team decided to kick around the idea of another sport to keep sharp and learn a bit more.
So far, so good as the Queens are one of four teams out of six headed to the provincial Futsal championships at Olds College March 15-16.
It’s the first year for the Queens in the sport which originated in Portugal and Brazil and coach David Colley says the girls are learning skills with this indoor sport which they can transfer to the outdoor game next season.
“The forwards appreciate this a lot more because they’ll find themselves outnumbered in tight areas, especially around the penalty box and this sport really does encourage the person playing the front position to hold up the ball and feed it off to the wide players,” he said. “It’s also the quick movements, the quick treatment of the ball and take the player on.”
The game consists of two 20-minute halves and the clock doesn’t stop until the final two minutes of the game.
There are no throw-ins when the ball leaves the court.
Instead the players kick the ball back into play and three balls are used so when one goes out of play another is ready to be put into use almost immediately.
The ball used in futsal is also different being smaller and heavier than a regular soccer ball and Colley says this design also adds some more skill which can be applied when out on the soccer pitch.
“It doesn’t bounce much, it’s two bounces and it’s steady on the ground,” he said. “It’s designed to encourage people to play quick passing moves along the ground which is how skillful players should play the game outdoors too.”
First year Queen Tara Berger has played futsal before and really enjoys the fact this game is all about foot skills, something which is a strength of hers.
“It’s way more fast paced than outdoors and it really tests your endurance,” she added.
She also points out the quick movement off the ball in futsal is going to benefit the Queens when the outdoor season gets underway in the fall.
“It really tests your ability to think on your feet,” she said. “In the outdoor game the more movement off the ball, the more possession you have .”
Colley wants his girls to take away the vision and ability to think further down the line with or without the ball.
“It’s like chess. If you can think four moves away, then any player that thinks only two moves away is going to get beaten by you.”
With just five players aside in a gymnasium it can get crowded so your decision making needs to be fast, added Berger.
“Your team mates have to be quick for you too, be moving so you can get the ball to them,” she said.
Colley says the Queens have been working on their finishing around the goal because they get plenty of scoring opportunities but haven’t cashed in enough to his satisfaction.
“It’s just picking where we need to place the shots and following up on the rebounds,” he said.
The Queens finished third overall in the two tournaments leading up to the championship with four wins, three losses and three draws, scoring 27 goals while giving up 17.
Lakeland College led the way with a 9-1 record, scoring 32 times and allowing only 10 goals.