The Whitehorse Futsal League season kicked off on Oct. 16 at Yukon College with four of the league’s five teams in action.
Born out of the Whitehorse Senior Metro League, the WFL is a futsal league rather than an indoor soccer league — a change that organizers hope will help Yukon players find a pathway to national and international opportunities in futsal, a code of association football played indoors with global popularity and the high-profile competitions to match.
Asked what the goal of the new league is, president Andrew Mott’s answer is simple — grow the game.
“The mission of the league is to support the sport (and) grow interest in the sport regardless of age or ability,” said Mott.
Although the men’s league is the centerpiece of the league for now, Mott said he hopes the girls division — currently consisting of two teams — and planned youth clinics help expand interest in futsal.
“If you ask me, futsal is the sport in terms of football up north,” said Mott. “I love soccer – great game, people love it – but I think there is plenty of opportunity if that’s what people want to play. … Whatever we can do as a league to support that, that’s great because there are transferable skills, but futsal is its own sport and it needs to be given its own set of respect and it needs to not be seen as a tool for something else.”
Futsal has gained popularity here since its inclusion at the Arctic Winter Games and the growth of the men’s league is indicative of that.
After struggling to field four teams last season, Mott said the men’s league has five full teams this year and has had to turn down players.
As far as development goes, the league already includes a side with some of the territory’s best teenagers — TSE Academy.
“The TSE team has some younger guys on it because they’re at that age — 16 to 18 — of becoming men,” said Mott. “They’re the next generation, so it’s working to help develop and set a tone so kids can come out and watch and be inspired.”
In addition to building youth programming, Mott said he hopes to get a coed league started in the future as well.
Although some of the paperwork has yet to be formally finalized, the WFL is completely under the Yukon Soccer Association umbrella like many of the other organizations in the territory.
“Futsal needs to have its own league,” said Mott, explaining the intention isn’t to subvert or undercut programs like Whitehorse FC’s indoor leagues.
“We’re looking to support (Whitehorse FC) and provide an opportunity to play (futsal),” said Mott. “You don’t want to step on any toes and cause for there to be a loss of numbers for a group.”
The WFL men’s league has two games every Wednesday at Yukon College, starting at 7:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. respectively. The league’s five teams are TSE Academy, Yukon College, Futsal Idolos, The Blues and N.60 Grizzlies.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com