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Adirondack Lynx Soccer Academy

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Dec, 2015

Futsal = Player Development

Futsal is Such a simple game with the potential to have a major impact on player development. The four positions of Futsal. As we know, the game is played as 5-a-side, but two of the positions are titled the same and perform similar responsibilities dependent upon match strategy.

After attending an international futsal tournament in Boston, which included top clubs from portugal, brazil and the US, one of the poignant moments for me was watching the level of play of the US when compared to the European and South American countries. Futsal may be growing here in the states but we are still such novice and need to understand its benefits.
How can we play a game that we don't even know the proper names or responsibilities? To properly grow this sport, we must uniformly organize ourselves if we want to compete with the great teams of the world.
Therefore, It's important to identify the proper names and general responsibilities of each position as recognized around the world so we may begin the maturation process..
1. Goliero: That's right, the Goalkeeper. Probably the most specialized position in this sport. However, unlike the traditional 11 on 11, the goalkeeper must also develop an attacking side of his/her game to match the pace and scaled down size of the pitch. I love the UEFA description in an article published in 2003 called The Art of Futsal Goalkeeping.

"It is often said that you must be mad to be a football goalkeeper. If that is the case, the sanity of the Futsal custodian must surely be even more in question... In the fast-paced and frenetic atmosphere of Futsal, the goalkeeper is on the receiving end of a barrage of fierce shots...and, given the smaller playing area... the Futsal goalkeeper's attacking instincts are crucial." 
2. Fixo: The "defensive" minded player, but not like you would think it to be. We saw in the international tournament these tall, physical specimens stopping ground and arial attacks in statuesque fashion. But much like the Goliero, things move a bit differently on the plastic surface. The Fixo is thinking more distribution, creating space and relieving pressure by moving the ball not just stopping it. Think the bottom point of a diamond midfield.
3. Ala: The most notable position on the pitch in the sense that the ball is possessed the most by these players and the names in the game resemble that of Falcão, Ricardinho, and Javi Rodríguez; Futsal legends. As in the 11-a-side format, the ball is won and lost in the middle and possession is key. Therefore, the Fixos who distribute, attack, AND defend make the Futsal world go round.
4. Pivo: The "Forward", for lack of a better designation. However, I feel this position is much more challenged than in the general sense. Forget the freedom of long runs with the ball crossed from the lengthy sides or from over the top. Forget the give and goes that spread the defense to present a one-on-one with the Keeper. Nope, try having your back facing the goal much of the time, balls racing at your feet with a split second to decide if you shoot or lay them off. You must be much more physical, leaning on defenders and fighting for possession within inches of space. Not the galloping type but a nose for goal? You just might be a Pivo.
However, when it comes to Futsal,  it is time to help our kids become better skilled during those winter months...Lets turn on the music, let the kids play and  "Go All In". That means,we are not just preaching futsal or wearing the Sala shoes. We are learning the language, the culture, the players, the pace and the confidence that is Futsal, we hope you and your kids will too.  We will truly see the benefits as the players move outside in the spring.