History of U.S. Futsal
Futsal is a sport that is a derivative of soccer and played with five-man teams on a basketball style court with no walls and a smaller, low-bouncing ball. Great soccer superstars such as Pele, Zico, Ronaldo and Neymar grew up playing the game and credit futsal with developing their skills.
The first FIFA World Cup was held in the Netherlands in 1989. In 1992, the U.S. Futsal Team set the mark for highest finish for a U.S. Men’s National Team with a second-place finish behind legendary indoor goalkeeper Victor Nogueira and stars from the indoor leagues such as Ted Eck, Jim Gabarra and Dale Ervine. The 1992 team also included Jeff Agoos and Fernando Clavijo who later appeared in World Cups for the full Men’s National Team.
MISL and the other indoor soccer leagues have been providing the Futsal Team with its player pool since the first games played in 1986. Current U.S. head coach Keith Tozer, an indoor coaching legend in his own right, was a part of the inaugural team.
In the past few years, futsal has experienced a massive growth in popularity and in 2008, the World Cup was expanded to 20 teams for the first time. Once seen as an amateur sport, which players would use to hone their skills before transitioning to the outdoor game, many of the participating nations in the World Cup now sport their own professional futsal leagues and play dozens of full internationals each year.