Otto Orf and the Growth of Futsal In the United States
Otto Orf has dedicated his life to the game of futsal — the former U.S. Men’s National Futsal Team member continues to provide youth players with the opportunity to develop their skills and reach for their dreams. Orf currently runs the U.S. Youth Futsal Northeast Ohio region and contributes to the game through his academy and non-profit soccer organization. Known for giving back, Orf has arranged for numerous significant charitable donations.
SoccerToday spoke with Orf on his experience in futsal, which dates back 20 years ago, and the importance of the game for player development.
Here is Part 2 of the 2 Part exclusive interview. Click here for Part 1
Futsal News: The former U.S. Men’s National Futsal Team player, Otto Orf, is a Director of U.S. Youth Futsal‘s Great Lakes Futsal and is a member of National Coaching Staff, serving as the Director of Goalkeeping.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the one moment/experience/decision you would like to turn back the clock and change?
Otto Orf: This does not have to do with futsal, but at the time I signed my contract in Cleveland in 1989 I was offered to live in the stadium and train for a year with Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia and then try to be sold to a European team.
At the time I was regarded as one of the better outdoor goalkeepers in North America.
Although I would not trade my career choice for it, I would love to be able to watch the movie version of what would have transpired had I made that choice.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is more important — fame or money?
Otto Orf: Neither, both can be fleeting and neither can give you true happiness. Do something for someone else or pick someone up when they need a hand and you will get a feeling fame nor money can provide.
Diane Scavuzzo: How long have you worked with US Youth Futsal?
Otto Orf: I have been a member of US Youth Futsal for just over 10 years as an affiliated league, and I started working for the organization after the first USYF Futsal Summit in Milwaukee five years ago.
My role has changed over the years, or maybe it has just become more comprehensive, but I was originally the Director of the Great Lakes Region and held the regional tournament. I then became part of the Futsal ID National Coaching Staff as the director for the boys side, then as a coach for the girls U16 and U18 teams.
Then I served as a coach of the boys U18 and then as the Director of Goalkeeping.
I have loved working in all those capacities and very much enjoy coordinating the international trips for our Youth National Teams to experience.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your challenges working with US Youth Futsal?
Otto Orf: Our country is massive and as in any large organization operating over a geographical and cultural expanse that is of the United States, things do not happen quickly.
What I love the most is that we have the Keith Tozer, the U.S. National Team Coach and many former U.S. National Team members working in cities all around the country.
There are at least two other organizations offering futsal around the country and ultimately it is good for the sport for families to have access and options.
I am extremely proud that our group took the initiative to provide a national coaches education program and to begin the USYF National Team Program through Futsal ID.
Diane Scavuzzo: If you could pick any super power, what would it be and why?
Otto Orf: Well, at a different time I would choose differently, but at this point in my life I would choose the power to heal. As I enter my mid-fifties, my 21-year career as a professional goalkeeper is really taking its toll.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who is your favorite futsal team or player?
Otto Orf: I have been fortunate to have contact with some of futsal all-time greats and Falcao is certainly the one who stands out, but for me it is his three Brazilian amigos who played in the 1990’s that I still remember as the greatest futsallers of all time.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your thoughts on the growth of Futsal in the USA?
Otto Orf: I, like many others around the country and the world, cannot wait for the launch of the Professional Futsal League (PFL).
Futsal leagues, tournament, teams, academies are popping up everywhere.
I am not certain why U.S. Soccer is not pushing the game of Futsal more.
Ultimately my belief is that Futsal will create better technical and tactical players and will benefit our outdoor U.S. Men’s National Team.
I don’t know how long that will take but the way Futsal is gaining traction maybe it will be a legitimate standalone sport in the USA.
If we can figure out how to incorporate men’s and women’s futsal into the collegiate ranks there is no stopping this game.
Diane Scavuzzo: When not working with US Youth Futsal, what do you do? How has futsal grown in your area?
Otto Orf: That is a great question. With my partner I run a USYF league, and a USYF Regional Tournament.
We run an academy, Heart & Sole Futsal, and I help with the USYF Futsal ID Program.
I run a small 501.c3 organization called the HandsOnSports Foundation, which works to provide sports equipment and soccer opportunities to underprivileged and inner city youth, both locally and abroad.
Most recently as of January, I have been made the first Director of Futsal for the State Soccer Association of Ohio (North) and I am working to educate others around Ohio on the value of using futsal and how to create State Futsal Teams.
Two years ago, I started a small company called Futsal Factory and have created some futsal training supplies, which are now used by coaches all over the world! We make custom futsal uniform kits, coaching boards, floor spots and custom logo futsal balls. My latest top secret project is Futsal Central, which I hope to release this coming summer!
Diane Scavuzzo: How many futsal organizations are there in the USA? How can a parent, player or youth soccer coach understand the differences?
Otto Orf: There is U.S. Futsal, USYF, USA Futsal and AAU for the youth and Major League Futsal (MLF) and National Premier Futsal League (NPFL) and in 2019 PFL for the adults in addition to any independent organizations that are out there. It is a similar landscape to soccer in many regards with an alphabet soup of options clouding the decision of the uneducated or unaware.
If you are trying to make a good decision for your child, the best thing to do is always check out the program.
Don’t just listen to what someone says or get hypnotized by a foreign accent as I believe your child’s formative years are too precious to waste on a hasty decision.
Find a coach who knows what he is doing and then make sure your child is enjoying him or herself in that environment. If you can provide that atmosphere, the rest will take care of itself.
Related Article: OTTO ORF – Part 1 on THE POWER OF FUTSAL