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Futsal is Growing Worldwide, and U.S. could be a Major Player

By Tim Sheldon

ZURICH (6-15-12) - FIFA reported that Futsal is growing in the world, in different ways in different countries, and we see from recent interviews and news stories that the U.S. may end up being a major player in this growth.

FIFA said that results of a survey indicated that 150 out of 209 member countries are "are now playing the sport with varying levels of organisation, an 18 per cent increase on 2006."

In addition, former FIFA Futsal Director Victor Beceiro said in a recent interview that the U.S. is one of the world's countries most capable of developmenting and marketing Futsal.

"The U.S. is one of the most attractive countries for Futsal," Beceiro said. "Futsal can really succeed there without too many obstacles."

Recent stories have also indicated that a Futsal infrastructure is developing in the U.S. and is beginning to produce a modern "prototype" player who grew up playing Futsal and is showing those skills on the outdoor field.

Other sources indicate that there will be more entrepreneurial activity in Futsal in coming months. Los Angeles has been mentioned as a target site for a quadrangular tournament involving four of the top Futsal clubs in the world.

Another indication of growth is the news that U.S. Futsal Coach Keith Tozer is working on a plan to send professional indoor players to play in professional leagues in Guatemala and Brazil in order to upgrade the competitiveness of the U.S. Futsal team.

Tozer said this would be an important first step that could lead toward the development of a professional Futsal league in the U.S.

Beyond this, there is a plan being shared from a European Futsal association that details a system for developing Futsal academies, and that plan is being read and studied in this country.

Futsal has grown at an uneven pace in the U.S. since the early 1980s, but despite some setbacks we're seeing evidence that the sport seems to be entering an era of growth that may match or even outpace the growth of the sport worldwide.

It's still very early to estimate the timeline and magnitude of growth, but the indicators are there, and we may see some key signs of growth in coming months.

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