U.S. Youth Futsal scouting local talent for international team

U.S. Youth Futsal scouting local talent for international team
Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 8:42 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Some of the top futsal coaches in the country are in western Massachusetts this weekend, searching for the top young prospects to compete at the international level.

Western Mass News caught up with coaches and players who told us what they are looking for when scouting local talent.

At Springfield College, kids took their skills from the soccer pitch to the hardwood to show off their skills to some of the best futsal coaches in the nation.

Craig Canavan is an international team coach with U.S. Youth Futsal. He told Western Mass News that, while the sport is extremely similar to soccer, kids need to refine their ball control and passing to make it to the next level.

“It’s their first touch, if they’re getting their foot on top of the ball, if they’re using the sole of the foot,” Canavan said. “Maximum control over the ball. Their first touch, their speed of play, they’re constantly under pressure.”

This is the eighth year that U.S. Youth Futsal has had state identification trials; however, this is only the 2nd year it has been done in western Massachusetts.

Director of the Western Mass Futsal League Brent Dillard told Western Mass News that the best players from this camp will move on to a national futsal trial in Kansas City, where players have the chance to take their talents to the international stage.

“Recently, we’ve had some players here in western Mass. that have attended trips in Barcelona, Madrid, Buenos Aires, and most recently, this last winter over in Lisbon, Portugal,” Dillard said. “We don’t know what the next trip is, but it’s going to be one overseas that people are going to be excited for.”

Mila Dillard is one of the local players that has taken international trips to Spain and Portugal. She told Western Mass News that camps like these are a great way for young players to improve their overall game, by taking the skills learned in futsal and bringing them back to the soccer pitch.

“It’s a great experience,” she said. “I get to talk to kids that I know from New England in the area, friends who I can connect with at tournaments, and it’s always really great to have these coaches come out and fly out to these types of things because I learn every time.”