Spotlight Interview With US Youth Futsal’s Jon Parry
Futsal used to be the best kept secret in the world of soccer — the greatest professional soccer players all played Futsal to help develop their technical skills.
Today, the benefits of playing futsal are widely recognized as coached and youth soccer players across the USA embrace the fast-paced game like never before. With the help from those who have been pioneers in the game, youth development is benefitting from the growth of futsal.
Futsal News: As the game of futsal grows to unprecedented heights in the United States, those who are developing the game for tomorrow are outlining a pathway for the game’s success. Jon Parry is a former member of the U.S. National Futsal team and a pioneer in organizing the sport in the youth market — pushing the boundaries and growing U.S. Youth Futsal (USYF) into a national powerhouse.
Jon Parry — The Coach:
Parry holds his USSF “A” License and is currently enrolled in the Elite Formation Coaching License with the French Football Federation.
Parry is U.S. Youth Futsal Executive Director — and organization that has registered more than 50,000 youth players. Parry is also the USSF Development Academy Director for MLS’ Sporting Kansas City as well as the Director of Coaching of Boys for Sporting Blue Valley Soccer Club in Overland Park, Kansas.
Jon Parry — The Pro Player:
Parry was a member of the 1996 United States Futsal National Team that played in the World Championship in Spain and the 1998 team that competed in an international tournament in Brazil.
He played professional indoor soccer for eight years and scored over 400 goals in his professional career. He was an All-Star on four occasions. In 1992-93 he led the Kansas City Attack to their first National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) indoor championship.
Parry also played for five years in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) with the Sacramento Knights, where he is the leading scorer in franchise history with 127 goals and 84 assists.
Jon Parry — The Interview:
SoccerToday spoke with Parry on his experience in Futsal and U.S. Youth Soccer’s mission.
Diane Scavuzzo: What was it like to play for the 1996 United States Futsal Team that played in the World Championship in Spain?
Jon Parry: It was an amazing experience to represent the USA and see the technical level of the best players in the world.
Diane Scavuzzo: You and Peter Vermes founded U.S. Youth Futsal — Why did you start it?
Jon Parry: We truly believe Futsal is an incredible way to develop players.
We wanted to provide programming that would allow youth soccer players to develop through the game of futsal.
Diane Scavuzzo: How many players are registered with your organization?
Jon Parry: For this past 2016/17 season, U.S. Youth Futsal registered over 50,000 youth players.
Diane Scavuzzo: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Jon Parry: U.S. Youth Futsal — I am very proud of what we have
created — a platform that provides players, coaches and referees the opportunity to continue their development.
Players can play locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Coaches can be educated through our coaching courses, along with referees having the ability to receive more opportunities to be assessed and educated.
Diane Scavuzzo: Geographically, are Futsal players more concentrated in one area of the country than others?
Jon Parry: USYF currently has leagues in 32 states. Our leagues continue to grow rapidly, but we would like to increase our presence on the West Coast.
Diane Scavuzzo: What has been your biggest challenge?
Jon Parry: Our biggest challenge has been to educate people about the game of futsal and the programming offered by US Youth Futsal.
Multiple organizations are trying to mimic what we have done by intentionally trying to cause confusion, and their motivation is not always in the best interest of the game.
There are organizations that we tried to work with for years and they had no interest in doing so … now, they are registering players and finally creating programs for the game.
Diane Scavuzzo: As the Academy Director of Sporting Kansas City, you are the head coach for the U16 & U18 Development Academy teams – how does playing futsal help elite players develop?
Jon Parry: Currently our academy teams play Futsal during the winter months to complement their outdoor development.
We try to put our Academy players in situations where they need to play quickly, which helps their overall decision making.
We do this by playing our younger teams up an age group, which we feel helps develop our players technique and soccer IQ.
Diane Scavuzzo: In Kansas City, you are selecting players for the U.S. Youth Futsal National rosters to represent the USA in July — Can you describe the opportunity?
Jon Parry: It’s an opportunity to play with some of the best futsal players in the U.S. and be trained by high quality futsal coaches. The teams will go to Costa Rica this summer.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you look for in a youth futsal player?
Jon Parry: We look for several components when we are identifying players for Futsal I.D.
Youth players need to have special qualities that separate themselves from the others.
We want players that are coachable and have an incredible attitude — they need to have a passion and show grit towards the game and their teammates and coaches.
They need to have a high futsal IQ, be technically proficient with the ball and have speed and quickness.
Diane Scavuzzo: What advice can you share?
Jon Parry: You need to have a tremendous work-ethic in everything you do! If you have passion and grit, you can persevere through anything!
Diane Scavuzzo: How many futsal organizations are there in the USA? How can a parent, player or youth soccer coach understand the diﬀerences?
Jon Parry: I am focused on helping to improve every platform that US Youth Futsal offers.
Diane Scavuzzo: You have a USSF “A” soccer License – what licenses are there in futsal?
Jon Parry: I have my USSF A, French Football Federation – Elite Formation Coaching License, US Soccer’s Academy Director’s Course.
U.S. Youth Futsal currently offers Level 2 and Level 3 coaching courses.
We are considering offering a Level 1 course by partnering with a couple different countries who offer high level Futsal coaching education.
Diane Scavuzzo: Anything new for this summer?
Jon Parry: Yes, U.S. Youth Futsal is launching a new program this summer, which will focus on Futsal specific academies that will offer 60+ futsal trainings year-round.
This will provide players the opportunity to develop their futsal skills, which we feel will complement the outdoor game in a club neutral environment.