CHICAGO (Sept. 1, 2021) – U.S. Futsal National Team head coach Dusan Jakica has selected 16 players to represent the United States at the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania. The team will hold a pre-tournament training camp from Sept. 1-8 in Bratislava, Slovakia before traveling to Vilnius, Lithuania- site of the USA’s first two World Cup matches.
The roster is led by captain and veteran goalkeeper Diego Moretti, who has played futsal professionally in Italy for the last 17 years. Luciano Gonzalez (Italy) and Tomas Pondeca (France) also play futsal in Europe. Gonzalez led the USA with five combined goals and assists at May’s Concacaf Futsal Championship in Guatemala, while the 19-year-old Pondeca, who leads the team with six goals this cycle, was named Young Player of the Tournament.
Twelve players on the roster helped the USA qualify for its first Futsal World Cup since 2008- including all eight goal-scorers- by defeating the Dominican Republic 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Concacaf Futsal Championship. The Futsal NT finished runner-up to Costa Rica at the qualifying tournament.
U.S. FUTsAL MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (HOMETOWN; CLUB)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Diego Moretti (Ancona, Italy; Unattached), 11-Robert Damron (Northville, Mich.; Michigan Futsal Factory), 12-Estevan Vazquez (Fort Worth, Texas; Mesquite Outlaws)
ALAS (7): 3-Jeremy Klepal (Lansing, Mich.; Lansing City FC), 6-Luciano Gonzalez (Mendoza, Argentina; Citta di Massa C5/ITA), 8-Daniel Mattos (Chicago, Ill.; Milwaukee Wave), 9-David Ortiz (Dallas, Texas; Dallas Sidekicks), 10-Tomas Pondeca (Dallas, Texas; Paris Acasa/FRA), 14-Diego Bobadilla-Mireles (Holland, Mich.; St. Louis Ambush), 16-Alencar Ventura-Junior (Tewksbury, Mass.; Safira Futsal)
FIXOS (3): 4-Eduardo Buenfil (San Jose, Calif.; Unattached), 5-Julian Escobar (Hicksville, NY; Harrisburg Heat), 15-Guilherme Veiga (Milwaukee, Wisc.; Milwaukee Wave)
PIVOS (3): 2-Raphael Araujo (Bound Brook, N.J.; NY Ecuador FC), 7-Everson Maciel (Milford, Conn.; Safira Futsal), 13-Zach Reget (Kenosha, Wisc.; Florida Tropics)
Head Coach: Dusan Jakica
Assistant Coaches: Pablo Da Silva, Otto Orf
The Futsal NT was drawn into Group F of the 24-team World Cup field and will face Argentina, Iran and Serbia.
USA SCHEDULE - GROUP F
Tuesday, Sept. 14 - USA v Argentina (Vilnius Arena; Vilnius, Lithuania)
Friday, Sept. 17 - USA v Iran (Vilnius Arena; Vilnius, Lithuania)
Monday, Sept. 20 - USA v Serbia (Klaipeda Arena; Klaipeda, Lithuania)
This year marks the USA’s sixth appearance at the FIFA Futsal World Cup. The U.S. finished third in 1989 and reached the final of the 1992 tournament, taking home the silver medal in its highest-ever finish at the competition. The USA’s other FIFA Futsal World Cup appearances came in 1996, 2004 and 2008.
Tomas Pondeca leads the USA in scoring during the current cycle with six goals. The Dallas teenager scored in back-to-back friendlies against Slovenia in March 2020 and twice against Moldova at the 2020 Futsal Week Winter Cup in Porec, Croatia. He then scored against Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic during the Concacaf Futsal Championship.
Eduardo Buenfil is second on the team with five goals. He netted his first international tally against Montenegro, added two more against Moldova and another against Morocco at the 2020 Futsal Week Winter Cup. He also scored against Nicaragua in Guatemala.
Jeremy Klepal and Julian Escobar tied with Gonzalez for the team lead with three goals each at the Concacaf Futsal Championship.
Daniel Mattos is the only player to return from the 2016 team that fell to Canada in a two-legged series during the 2016 Concacaf Futsal Championship Qualifiers in Costa Rica. Mattos scored in both matches.
Mattos earned his first cap on March 24, 2016 in a friendly against Argentina and scored his first goal in a rematch the next night. His most recent goal came against Montenegro in March 2020.
Julian Escobar and Diego Bobadilla-Mireles made their Futsal NT debuts against Croatia on Jan. 24, 2016.
Goalkeepers Estevan Vazquez and Robert Damron as well as alas David Ortiz and Bobadilla-Mireles were not on the USA’s 2021 Concacaf Futsal Championship roster. Vazquez made his Futsal NT debut against Slovenia in February 2020, while Ortiz and Damron are looking for their first international caps.
Seven players play professionally in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL): Bobadilla-Mireles (St. Louis Ambush), Escobar (Harrisburg Heat), Mattos (Milwaukee Wave), Ortiz (Dallas Sidekicks), Zach Reget (Florida Tropics), Vazquez (Mequite Outlaws) and Guilherme Veiga (Milwaukee Wave).
Two players have coached in Major League Soccer academies based in New York: Raphael Araujo coached New York Red Bulls Youth training programs and Regional Development School camps from 2015-17 while Escobar has coached U-9 to U-15 youth programs with the NYCFC Academy since 2018.
Five players are age 35 or older, including 43-year-old Everson Maciel, whose bicycle kick goal during the 1-1 draw with El Salvador in May was selected as ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Play of the Night. He is followed by Diego Moretti, who turns 39 on Sept. 8, Guilherme Veiga (38), Alencar Ventura-Junior (turns 36 Sept. 18) and Mattos (35).
On the other end, three players are 20 or younger: David Ortiz (turns 21 on Sept. 20), Robert Damron (19) and Pondeca (19).