MT. VERNON —
Jim Duncan wants his soccer players to focus on skill development.
This offseason Mt. Vernon athletes have an opportunity to do that through a new outlet – futsal.
The soccer-based game started in South America in 1930, according to futsal.com. It came to America in the 1980s, and now is being played for the first time in Mt. Vernon. The playing surface is about the size of a basketball court. It is played with smaller goals than outdoor soccer. Each team is comprised of five players each and is played without goalies.
The game also uses a smaller, heavier soccer ball. Players in Mt. Vernon have been meeting a couple times a week at FFC Gym, which is owned by Drew Millwood, to play the game.
Duncan, who coaches both the Mt. Vernon boys and girls high school teams, said benefits include learning to dribble in a compact space and quick thinking. The game also keeps every player on the court involved in the game at all times.
“This game, futsal, since it's such a tight and compressed game it forces everybody to touch the ball with both feet in tight situations,” Duncan said. “With the repetition of them being forced to get involved in the action, it just develops in them these skill sets that they need. Once we can play in a tight, pressure situation on a floor this size, the size of a basketball court, we can take this game and place it anywhere on a large soccer field. And if we can play like this anywhere on a soccer field, then that helps us be a complete team as well.”
Duncan, who has been consistently involved with Mt. Vernon soccer and took over the head coaching position last summer, said he has searched for a place to play the game for some time. About six months ago, Duncan talked with Millwood.