Thursday, September 11, 2014

National Team Takeover: Keith Tozer

U.S. Men's National Futsal Team
Head Coach Keith Tozer (l) and
Assistant Coach Vava Marques
My futsal journey started in 1986 when I had the honor of representing the United States in Budapest, Hungary with the U.S. Men's National FutsalTeam in one of the first international futsal tournaments. Since then I have been the head coach of the U.S. for 17 years coaching in five CONCACAF Championships, two World Cups and the 2007 Pan American games. In addition to my coaching duties I am also very proud to be the Technical Director of U.S. Youth Futsal as well as serving as a FIFA Futsal Instructor.

This past summer has been nothing but amazing for so many reasons regarding U.S. Men's National Futsal Team matches, U.S. Youth Futsal Youth National Teams, U.S. Soccer Futsal coaching education, player identification and so much more.

After playing five matches in Argentina, the national team has played a total of 10 matches in the past three months! This has been such a great opportunity to identify players, gain valuable game experience and tactical analysis as well as building team chemistry. In the past, we sometimes didn't play 10 games in three years! U.S. Soccer is now very much committed toward qualifying in the 2016 CONCACAF Championships.

We had great U.S. Youth Futsal I.D. camps this past year throughout our original five regions, culminating with the National I.D. Camp in Kansas City where we had all regions represented and subsequently selected the first-ever U.S. Youth Futsal National Teams. The talent level was fantastic -- in fact we selected John Leisman from to the full men's national team for our trip to Argentina and John did quite well scoring his first goal at the senior level! The U.S. Youth Futsal coaching staff has been created with some of the best former national team players like Sean Bowers, Jon Parry and Otto Orf. The future looks bright for our youth players direct path to the full men's national team. I firmly believe that we are not far away from creating a full women's national futsal team to create the same path for girls.

We have conducted two U.S. Youth Futsal coaching courses last year in Boston and Dallas. Just recently I presented a futsal module for the first time in U.S. soccer history during the outdoor "B" license course and now we will offer U.S. Youth Futsal Coaching Certification courses in all the regions starting in Boston in October. Last Sunday in Brasilia, Brazil, the Argentina and Brazil Men's National Futsal Teams contested the first-ever international futsal match played in a outdoor stadium and drew more than 55,000 spectators. Brazil won 4-1 but most importantly it showed how much the game of futsal has grown world wide in just the past 10 years. As you can see there has been so much growth within the game of futsal regarding coaching education, player development and identification, creating youth national teams, regional coaching staffs, national coaching certification courses that the future is very bright for the game of futsal! VIVA LA FUTSAL!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

National Team Takeover: Brian Harris

Brian Harris
Brian Harris
ello from Argentina! My name is Brian Harris and I'm a fixo for the U.S. Men's National Futsal team. I play for the Missouri Comets in the MASL (Major Arena Soccer League) and I'm a defender.
Our final full day started with breakfast and afterward we had a great walk through for our game that night. Danny Waltman challenged me to a whipping childhood cancer challenge which consisted of taking a pie to the face. In Argentina they have a different kind of cream. The video is coming.

That night we played a local pro team that was a quality side. After he game we were invited to the Governor's house for a nice dinner. 

The overall trip was an amazing experience. We played four games against the fifth-ranked team in the world and there was vast improvement for each individual and most importantly, the team. I look forward to the day that we are able to train and play futsal on a regular basis -- especially given how fast we picked up on things and improved.

Also, that says so much for the coaching staff as they do an awesome job preparing us for each training and each game. It has been a great journey and was nice to end with a win.