Former Captain of the US Futsal Team Sean Bowers On Why Futsal Training Works
Sean Bowers is a former MLS defender and the Former Captain of U.S. National Futsal Team. Bowers believes futsal made his soccer game better and explains why playing futsal helps youth players improve their game.
Who is Sean Bowers? In one short sentence, he is a busy man.
Bowers is the former Captain of U.S. National Futsal Team from 1996 to the 2004 Futsal World Cup. He is also a former MLS Sporting Kansas City player when it was called the Kansas City Wizards. A highly decorated player who received many awards for his accomplishments (NPSL Rookie of the Year, four-time Defender of the Year and a six-time All-Star player in four different leagues) probably more to the point, today Bowers is the General Manager of the San Diego Sockers and the founder of the highly popular 619FUTSAL organization in America’s Finest City as well as a Regional Director with US Youth Futsal.
What motivates a man who does so much? A strong belief, a deep work ethic and a commitment to excellence. With a real passion for futsal, Bowers’ leadership has grown 619Futsal into a strong force in the futsal world. Bower’s 619Futsal Academy is one of the largest and most successful in the USA.
“We have seen nearly 20,000 youth players walk through the doors at 619Futsal,” said Bowers.
Believing that every youth soccer player can benefit from training and playing futsal, Bowers and his team have made a difference in the lives of thousands of kids in San Diego and the surrounding area.
Bowers believes futsal made his soccer game better and wants players, their families and youth soccer coaches to understand why playing futsal helps youth players improve their game.
SoccerToday Interview with Sean Bowers
Diane Scavuzzo: When you first received the call up to the U.S. Futsal team, had you played a lot of futsal?
Sean Bowers: No, in fact, I had a lot to learn and that is one of the reasons I so clearly see the reasons why playing futsal is so valuable for soccer players.
Futsal helped me become a better player.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are the reasons youth players should play Futsal?
Sean Bowers: There are so many important reasons why youth players should be playing Futsal.
Futsal is so different than the outdoor game. It is so much faster and every player playing gets involved in the action.
The number of touches, quick decisions making situations, technical skill needed to get out of small spaces, playing under pressure and speed of play to name a few.
Diane Scavuzzo: Can you help our readers who may not know enough about futsal to understand how playing it helps to develop a youth soccer player?
Sean Bowers: Of course. Most parents who come to 619Futsal for the first time are unfamiliar with futsal. In fact, years ago when we started, a lot of youth soccer coaches were unfamiliar too.
The dynamics of the outdoor are all part of Futsal: the importance of technical, tactical, IQ are all important.
Since the game of Futsal is played in smaller dimensions than the outdoor game and with only five players including a goalie on the court at a time, playing futsal requires players to have quick decision making, creativity, and constant movement.
In 45 minutes of soccer, a player may only touch the ball a few times. It can even be a bit boring for a young player to not have more touches on the ball. In futsal, five minutes never goes by without a player touching the ball.
Diane Scavuzzo: How important is accurate passing when you are playing Futsal?
Sean Bowers: The space is small, and passing accuracy is extremely important as there is not a lot of areas to run on to the ball. This is a skill that can improve quickly in futsal.
Futsal really builds confidence. When players repeatedly receive the ball and pass under pressure, their decision-making in 1v1 situations improves and so do their ball skills.
Diane Scavuzzo: How else does playing futsal help develop youth soccer players?
Sean Bowers: Playing Futsal naturally creates players who are faster at soccer because there is so little time in Futsal to react with the ball. Even reaction time without the ball is limited.
When you watch a youth Futsal game and compare it to an outdoor soccer match the benefits and differences crystalize clearly.
While watching soccer played on a big field, even quick passes look slow when contrasted with what happens on a Futsal court.
Every action is faster in Futsal. So, the speed of decision making is increased when playing Futsal and this helps train youth soccer players to think better when on the field.
The majority of possessions in Futsal are quick 1 or 2 touch combinations with teammates.
In Futsal, players who put their head down and try to dribble and add three or more touch combinations usually find themselves losing the ball.
Diane Scavuzzo: When you think of all the pro soccer players who have benefited from Futsal training — Pele, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi — can you see their Futsal training when they play on the pitch?
Sean Bowers: All of those players not only played and trained in Futsal growing up but when you watch them play, you can clearly see many of their Futsal techniques.