RRC’s futsal team welcomes newcomers to South American sport
Taylor Allen, BEAT REPORTER
Futsal is by no means a mainstream sport, or even a common word.
Paige Proctor, who has played outdoor soccer and futsal for Red River College since 2015, said she didn’t even know what futsal was until she tried it last year.
Rebels women’s outdoor soccer and futsal head coach Doug Lawrie de- scribed the game to her as a combination of soccer, basketball and hockey.
“I was actually surprised with how much I enjoyed it,” said Proctor.
Futsal is similar to soccer but instead of 11 players on a field, five players and a goalie from each team compete on an indoor court. The court is similar in size to a basketball court. The sport uses a smaller and heavier ball, smaller nets, there are no offsides, and players can make substitutions on the fly.
The game originated in South America in the 1930s, and soccer superstars such as Pele, Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have credited futsal for developing their soccer skills.
Proctor also credits futsal for improving her footwork and helping her become a better outdoor soccer player. Proctor was named to the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) All-Conference team for outdoor soccer this past season.
“It definitely helps being a good soccer player, but once you get on the [court], it feels like a completely different game,” said Proctor. “It’s just so much faster.”
Proctor says futsal is more fun to watch than outdoor soccer.
Proctor and the Rebels women’s team won the MCAC futsal champion- ship last season. Proctor believes the team has a good chance to repeat as futsal champions because the team has shown a lot of chemistry in its exhibition games.
“We have some players that don’t know all the rules yet, but after a couple practices, I think we will be ready,” said Proctor.
Proctor said Manitobans are more familiar with indoor soccer, which is played on turf and a larger field than futsal.
Anderson Pereira, who has played soccer and futsal at RRC since he came to Winnipeg from Brazil in 2014, said futsal is more popular than soccer in Brazil.
“Futsal has more amateur players in Brazil than soccer does,” said Pereira. “It’s easier to get a futsal game going and in Brazil we have futsal courts everywhere. Futsal is huge in Brazil.”
Pereira says futsal players need to be able to control the ball, to have good foot skills, and to be able to think fast. In outdoor soccer, players can rely on their speed to beat defenders because there is more space. Futsal doesn’t allow players that luxury.
“Anything can happen in futsal,” says Pereira. “For goalies, it’s a nightmare.”
Pereira and the Rebels men’s futsal team lost in the MCAC futsal champion- ship game to Université de Saint-Boni- face last season. Pereira says winning the championship is the team’s goal for the upcoming season.
“With the roster we have, we can do it,” said Pereira.
Many of the same players were on RRC’s men’s soccer team, which is com- ing off a silver medal performance at the MCAC championship in late October.
RRC’s women’s and men’s futsal teams kick off the season on Jan. 13 at Providence University College at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. respectively.