United States Youth Futsal’s 12th annual U.S. Youth Futsal National Championships is taking place this weekend. Games started Friday and last through Monday at the New Century Fieldhouse and the Roeland Park Sport Dome.
There are 147 teams from across the country representing 19 states and Canada as well. The teams are the best from 685 team that competed in 8 regional championships in December and January.
National Titles will be awarded for boys and girls in the U9 through U19 divisions.
Referee development program
Four US Soccer Futsal Certified Referees will be among the referees for the tournament. FIFA Futsal Instructor Ed Marco is overseeing the referees. Marco is the U.S. Youth Futsal Referee Coordinator and Trainer. FIFA Futsal Referees Shane Butler, Lance VanHaitsma and Sergio Cabrera round out the four experienced officials.
The USYF Referee Academy is a new project starting with this year’s National Finals. The Referee program currently sponsored and funded by USYF was started 2 years ago and they expanding the program to start looking toward the future and continue to build their foundation.
"USYF has been a great supporter of the Futsal Referee program with US Soccer.” Marco explained. “Through this partnership we all have benefited with the proof being our Rookie FIFA Referee being selected and appointed to the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup. It shows what just a little support and planning can achieve. Now imagine what we can now achieve with our new Referee Academy."
“This year I selected 8 young promising and enthusiastic Referees to pair with two FIFA Futsal Referees who by the way are also World Cup Referees. The FIFA Referees will manage a group of 4 each and work a few matches with them all, but most of all spend the entire event mentoring and getting to know and understand these young officials and giving guidance and advice as needed. It's truly a rare opportunity for them,” Marco explained.