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Sports

What Is Futsal? Akron's First Place Vulcans Want to Show You

photo of Akron Vulcans
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU
Akron Vulcans Pivot Kevin Blackwood (right) helped the team shutout Mit West Futsal Club at Goodyear Hall last Saturday. The team is 5-1 in its inaugural season.

Futsal combines soccer-like play on a basketball-like court with baseball-like scores. A semi-professional league known as the National Futsal Premier League came into existence in 2008. This year, Akron has joined the league with The Vulcans. At this point, they’re 5-and-1 on the season.

photo of Nick Miletti
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU
Assistant Coach Nick Miletti says having the Vulcans in Akron gives people in their youth programs something to aspire to.

At their most recent home game, Hiram College soccer player Isrrael Morales explained how futsal works. He says it’s much faster paced than soccer and only has five people on each team. “It’s less about position and more about moving. You have to be able to think on your feet. It can definitely catch on here in Akron.”

DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!
He cites the rowdy crowd of loyal fans known as the Seven Sons, founded by Trevor Thoma and Jake George. They got involved through their friendship with the Vulcans’ Head Coach, former Cleveland Crunch goalkeeper Otto Orf. The Seven Sons model themselves on the Hudson Street Hooligans, supporters of the Columbus Crew. George says the sport likely has a bright future in America given its basketball-like pace.

photo of Bob Lute, Norma Lute
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU
Bob and Norma Lute remember going to see the Cleveland Force and Crunch indoor soccer teams at the old Richfield Coliseum. They say futsal could catch on much quicker due to its higher scoring and faster pace.

Gaining popularity with young people
Kevin Brastine coaches the Field Middle School soccer team, and says the popularity of the Vulcans’ 

Saturday youth programs show how quickly the game is gaining fans.

“When I was a kid, not many people played [or coached soccer.] We show up here [at Goodyear Hall] on a Saturday morning and the place is full – all three courts are taken up.”

Assistant Coach Nick Miletti adds that having a semi-professional team like the Vulcans in Akron gives young people something to aspire to. “We’re crossing our fingers that someday we’ll see this in the NCAA. Until then, we’d like this to be an option for kids.”

photo of Akron Vulcans players
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU
Teammates Juan Pablo Emma, Luciano Julian Gonzalez Maciel, and Kevin Blackwood celebrate near the end of their 10-0 victory over Mit West Futsal Club on Saturday, February 15.

What's that name?
The team’s home at Goodyear Hall also provides a miniature history lesson for fans of the team.

“We wanted to pay homage to the vulcanization of rubber. And the Vulcan God was actually the one who made the weapons for the Greek Gods. Ultimately, [Coach Orf] liked how it coincided with the fact that we play in Goodyear Hall.”

The Akron Vulcans host the Cadence Futsal Club from Illinois on Saturday, February 22. Kent State students can use the code KSU2020 for a discount at checkout.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTbe3wb3ohI