America’s Man of Futsal – Keith Tozer – Becomes SoccerToday’s Newest Columnist
Who is Keith Tozer? A life-long passion for soccer has led Tozer to becoming the voice of futsal in our country. Today he is Commissioner of the new PFL, Head Coach of U.S. Futsal Men’s National Team, the Technical Director for U.S. Youth Futsal as well as a FIFA Futsal Instructor. A former professional soccer player who played in the Major Indoor Soccer League, American Soccer League and American Indoor Soccer Association, Tozer is a widely respected indoor soccer and futsal coach.
According to US Soccer, “A veteran of indoor soccer since 1978 (when the MISL launched), Keith Tozer former head coach of the Milwaukee Wave has more victories than any other coach in the history of North American indoor soccer.” Tozer left the Wave to focus on Futsal in April, 2014. With futsal exploding in America, SoccerToday wants to share insights from the man at the top. It is with great pride we announce Tozer’s new column on Futsal launching next week. Here is a bit of insight into the man himself:
Diane Scavuzzo: What ignited your passion for soccer and how old were you?
Keith Tozer: As the typical youngster growing up in America, I played football, hockey, baseball and ran track. I started playing soccer around the age of thirteen in Charlotte, NC because one of my older brothers, Tom, was a soccer player. I never played on a youth team but started out directly as a freshman at South Mecklenburg High School.
We moved back to Clifton Park, New York after my freshman year and then I played at Shenendehowa High School where my passion for the game quickly developed. Fransico Marcos (founder and president of United Soccer Leagues – USL) called me and wanted to know if I would play on the US team in a tournament called Oneonta 74 in Oneonta, New York. At this tournament, competing against so many great youth international teams, my desire to train and play even harder developed.
Keith Tozer: Well, my hats are many. Most recently I have been named the first commissioner of the Professional Futsal League, PFL. I am also the Head Coach of the U.S. Futsal Men’s National Team, Technical Director for U.S. Youth Futsal as well as a FIFA Futsal Instructor. I also work closely with CONCACAF most recently developing the first CONCACAF Futsal Coaching Certificate Program.
Diane Scavuzzo: Please tell us your most memorable experience as a player….
Keith Tozer: Being the first player drafted in 1978 in the MISL and playing in the first game with the Cincinnati Kids versus the New York Arrows and scoring a goal.
And, as a coach… I have so many but winning the Gold Medal in the 1996 CONCACAF Futsal Championships in Guatemala, winning the NPSL Championship in 1998 in Milwaukee and representing the U.S. at the 2007 Pan America games in Rio De Janiero, Brazil are among the most memorable.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goal for Futsal in America?
Keith Tozer:I have three important goals:
1. Grow the PFL into the premier Professional Futsal League in the world.
2. Win the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship and qualify for the World Cup.
3. And, to help our country develop special players for our outdoor national team through Futsal so that one day we win the World Cup outdoors.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the single largest challenge you face regarding the new pro Futsal league? What excites you the most?
Keith Tozer: I wouldn’t call it a problem, but we have only twenty-two months until we start the PFL in November 2016. It seems like a long time but those months will move very fast. The opportunity and possibilities of the PFL are very exciting and I could not be more proud to be its first commissioner.
Diane Scavuzzo: Soccer’s popularity is growing in the USA and there has been an increase in kids playing the sport. Has Futsal also grown?
Keith Tozer: Futsal in the U.S. is growing each and every day. Many say it is the fastest growing sport in the world. We already have more gymnasiums then most countries in the world plus new Futsal facilities are being built each and every day.
U.S. Soccer has created the U14 Futsal Academy tournaments and many other youth Futsal organizations are also experiencing great growth in their programs. U.S. Youth Futsal — as well as other youth Futsal organizations — are offering coaching education, player development as well as national and international tournaments. U.S. Youth Futsal most recently created youth academy teams that are now playing in international tournaments.
As 2015 kicks off, the future looks very bright for the game of Futsal.
Diane Scavuzzo: What have you enjoyed most in your work in Futsal?
Keith Tozer: Travelling the world and meeting so many wonderful people who are just as passionate about the great sport of Futsal. And, I look forward to sharing my experience and advice with SoccerToday’s readers.