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Hints that Professional Futsal League will Gain New Owners from National Basketball
The Professional Futsal League's connection with the National Basketball Assn. was strong from the start with Dallas Mavericks' General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson being the lead investor, but it may get stronger still with the addition of new NBA owners.
PFL Commissioner Keith Tozer gave the hint and added that an announcement would be coming soon.
"There will be other NBA people," Tozer said. "And people are going to say, really?
(Photo: PFL Commissioner Keith Tozer.)
There are many strong points about the new Futsal league, which starts its first season in November, 2016, but the NBA connection is probably the strongest.
Nelson is the driving force of the new league and according to reports is actively leading the way in getting it established.
"I talk with Donnie on a daily basis, and he is extremely active," Tozer said. "Donnie and I met with the (NBA) Developmental owners in Chicago in the early fall. He's actively out there talking about it. It's kind of interesting because years ago I wanted to take Futsal into the Shark Tank and get in front of Mark Cuban and say I've got this product. And lo and behold Donnie is one of our leaders. He loves the game. Obviouslhy he's a basketball guy, but basketball and futsal are very similar."
The PFL-NBA connection will be showcased further on Saturday, March 14, in the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas, on the second day of the PFL's International Challenge. FC Barcelona will meet PFL Team Mexico at 2 p.m. in a futsal match, followed by an NBA Developmental League basketball game at 5 p.m. between the Austin Spurs and host Texas Legends.
"Showing the model of how you can play before an NBA game on a basketball court," Tozer said.
Tozer is wearing more than one hat as Commissioner of the PFL. He is also U.S. National Futsal Coach and Technical Director of the U.S. Youth Soccer Federation. This places the PFL in the closest possible connection with player development and the National Futsal Team.
"We have about 20 months before the season starts, and we do feel that it's important to start identifying players and referees," Tozer said. "We thought we would start identifying, developing, educating and giving referees a lot of experience in high-level games. If we continue to bring international games to the United States, then we can keep giving experience to referees. Our refereeing component is very important to us.".
Tozer said the PFL is also working on identifying and developing professional-calibre players to create a pool for an expanding ownership.
"We feel we have a great opportunity to start identifying future players, so thst when the league gets ready, we can go to the teams and say, here are goalkeepers, here are midfielders, pivos, alas and fixos (forwards, wingers and defenders in Portuguese)."
The International Challenge will be preceded by a players combine from which two players each will be chosen to play for the U.S. and Mexico.
"I love people realizing heir dreams," Tozer said, "and here's a great opportunity for some players to come down to Dallas and be in a combine and actually get on a roster and play against either the U.S.A. or Mezico or Barcelona. It's a great opportunity."
Tozer said the PFL is looking ahead to holding similar combines and International Challenges throughout the U.S. leading up the inaugural season.
"We want to do one possibly on the West Coast in Los Angeles, in the North in Chicago and in the East in New York."
The PFL is also reaching out beyond U.S. borders to identify pro-level players. Combines will be held in Central America, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Spain.
"We definitely are going to be proactive in helping our teams build their rosters," Tozer said.
Copyright Tim Sheldon and Futsal On-Line. All rights reserved.
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