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Futsal fever catching on in Sudbury

The vast majority of Sudburians, including many with a familiarity with soccer, would have little clue in describing the sport of futsal.
The sport of futsal has been gaining popularity around the country and Sudbury is starting to put itself on the map, hosting a 22-team tournament between Nov. 27 – 29. Supplied photo.

The vast majority of Sudburians, including many with a familiarity with soccer, would have little clue in describing the sport of futsal.

It's a virtual certainty, then, that the hosting of a tournament, locally last weekend, that gathered teams from the Toronto area, Ottawa and Gatineau, the Rouyn-Noranda corridor, as well as eleven local squads, would come as something of a newsflash to them.

But that was exactly what organizers Jim Cress, Rino Battisti, Wayne Trainor and Mike Graham managed to accomplish, staging the first annual event, and setting their sights on more down the road.

"Futsal is the only indoor soccer that FIFA recognizes," said Battisti. "Futsal is meant to be played on a hard surface, so it requires a ball that is more dead (heavier) than your typical soccer ball."

"It's usually played in smaller areas than your indoor soccer, so there is more contact with the ball, more with other players."

In fact, the event that took place from Nov. 27 - 29 utilized school gymnasiums at Félix-Ricard, Collège Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur and Valley view Public School.

With 22 teams competing in the local loop, and an equal number of entries in the tournament, it's clear that there is a groundswell of interest in this fast-paced game.

"2017 is going to see a semi-professional futsal league in Ontario, so we're starting to see a lot more interest in the sport," said Cress. "I thought it was a good idea to start knitting together the various leagues (in different cities) through tournament play."

While most of the Northern Ontario participants have only been introduced to futsal in the past 10-15 years, such is not the case for Danny Radu, a native of Romania, and arguably the most gifted of the local ball-handlers.

"I've played since I was three years old," said Radu. "That was my main sport. That's the type of soccer I like, because you have to be really skilled to play. Outdoor is a different story than futsal."

Radu and his teammates with the SDSC NCI Crushers claimed third spot in the "Competitive Adult" division, running away from Team Tsunami 8-3. The Crushers, however, managed a 5-5 draw with the OFC (Ottawa Futsal Club) Centurions, and falling 5-2 to the championship winning Toronto United Futsal Club.

Radu was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Sudbury could attract this level of competition. "It's a good beginning for Sudbury to host a tournament like that," he said. "It shows that we're interested in playing futsal, and we really want to compete with everyone out there."

Following are final results for the remaining five pools of play:


Recreational Youth - Junior
Champions - GSSC Impact U14 Girls
2nd place - Espanola Phoenix U15 Mixed
3rd - Ottawa Lightning U16 Girls

Recreational Youth - Senior
Champions - SDSC Celtic U14 Boys
2nd place - Rouyn Noranda - Boreal White U13 Boys
3rd - Espanola Phoenix U14 Mixed

Recreational Adult
Champions - Ottawa Talons F.C.
2nd place - SDSC - Team Big Rod
3rd - SDSC - 4th Street

Competitive Youth - Senior  

Champions - Toronto United Futsal Club U18 Boys 

2nd place - SDSC Celtic U16 Boys
3rd - Ottawa Centurions U17 Boys

Competitive Youth - Junior
Champions - Sudbury District Soccer Club U15 Boys
2nd place - Ottawa Centurions U15 Boys
3rd - Rouyn Noranda - Boreal Red U13 Boys


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