A Whitehorse boys soccer team excelled in the high-pace, high-pressure game of futsal and came away with gold over the weekend.
Whitehorse 2 – a 2001 squad – downed a Juneau team to take gold in the Whitehorse Futsula Tournament on Sunday at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
“I’ve played it before,” said Whitehorse 2’s Ewan Halliday. “It’s a lot faster than regular soccer. It’s a game that can change quite quickly.”
Futsal (or futsula) is a form of soccer played on a small field – mainly indoors –
with five-player teams. Unlike other indoor soccer, the field is surrounded by out-of-bounds areas, with no passing off walls.
The four-second rule is king in futsal. Kick-ins, corner kicks and goalie balls all have to be put back in play within four seconds, making it very high paced.
“It’s more technical and it’s fast,” said organizer Victor Lavanderos. “It’s the first time we’ve played a futsal tournament. I’m impressed by the games, there were some pretty fast games.
“We’re getting close to the other cities: Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto. They already started futsal two years ago. We’re trying to keep up with them.”
Whitehorse 2 grabbed the title in the 14-and-under tourney with a 4-1 win over Juneau in the final.
The home team drew first blood, with Halliday scoring two minutes in with a corner kick. Teammate Felix Maltais then added one late in the first half and early in the second to make it 3-0. Whitehorse’s Dawson Weir put in the fourth late in the match to make it 4-1.
“It was my first tournament with (the Yukon) Strikers and I’m pretty happy that we were able to win,” said Whitehorse goalkeeper Aaron Rich. “I think I played well in goal and we came out with the win.”
“In futsal there’s always a lot of pressure because the ball can go from one end of the field to the other in a matter of seconds and they can have a goal from their half all the way over here.”
A total of 11 teams – five from Whitehorse and six from Juneau – took part in the event.
Whitehorse’s female squads didn’t fare as well in their side of the tournament. Juneau’s three female teams placed in the top three spots following the round robin and two played in the final.
Juneau 1 defeated Juneau 2 by a score of 4-2 for the girls title.
“We have a strong relationship with Whitehorse teams,” said Juneau 1 coach Chris Barrows. “There are couple times a year that we have soccer teams playing back and forth, so we have a long history, Juneau and Whitehorse.
“This was the first time a lot of the girls played futsula and we really enjoyed it. And we really appreciate the hospitality from all the housers who housed a lot of these kids in their homes and for the Whitehorse club to allow us to come up for a tournament.”
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