World Futsal Championships at ESPN Wide World of Sports
Youth and adult teams from more than 30 countries compete for titles in world’s fastest-growing sport
USA Futsal, an organization dedicated to promoting the game of Futsal (a sport similar to soccer played mainly indoors with five players per side) in the United States, announced on Tuesday, May 6, that the first-ever World Futsal Championships will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla., August 7-10, 2014. This will be the first in a five-year stretch that the four-day event will be held at the sports complex on the grounds of Walt Disney World Resort.
The 2014 championships will feature 160 youth teams and 32 adult teams. Over 30 countries from Europe, Asia, and North, Central and South America will be represented at the event, competing across six age groups in both male and female divisions. In addition to the championship tournament, USA Futsal will host an International Futsal coaching course and a referee certification, August 5-6 at Disney World.
The World Futsal Championships will be held in front of a large number of coaches, international scouts and famous Futsal players from around the world. FC Barcelona, the most recognizable Futsal club in the world and reigning champions of the 2013 World Futsal Cup, will compete in the championships. Gabriel Lima, the 2014 UEFA Euro MVP, and LNFS (National Futsal League) President Javier Lozano will be on hand for the event.
“USA Futsal’s staging of the World Futsal Championship at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a landmark event for the sport in the United States,” said USA Futsal President Rob Andrews. “Following the momentum of the FIFA World Cup this summer, these championships will provide tremendous exposure for the game of Futsal and help drive its growth and popularity in this country.”
Futsal is a variation of the game of soccer with five players per side. The game is played primarily indoors on a surface without walls or boards that is slightly larger than a basketball court. Unlimited substitutions are allowed during a match and there is no penalty for offsides. In Futsal, a goal is scored on average every six minutes and a shot is taken an average of every 43 seconds.
Futsal was created in Brazil and Uruguay in the 1930s. It is the only indoor soccer game recognized by FIFA, and is played by 170 of the federation’s 209 member associations. The sport has a large and passionate following worldwide, with many top professional soccer players such as Pele, Ronaldo and Messi crediting their experience playing futsal with helping to develop their footwork, ball control and decision making.
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