Support for a pro Futsal team in Vancouver growing


Reported by Tanner Bokor

The Richmond Olympic Oval and FIFA have one thing in common: they’re all part of the growing sport of futsal.

Alexander Elliott and Michael D’Agostino, co-founders of the Vancouver Futsal Association, hatched the idea to bring futsal to the west coast of Canada after playing professionally in Germany six years ago, and launched the league officially in 2010.

The Richmond Olympic Oval hosts futsal tournaments throughout the winter. Photo by Tanner Bokor.

Futsal gaining popularity due to weather conditions in B.C. 

“Given the weather out west and the technical benefits that it has to players, we had some immediate interest as to find ways to get youth more involved in the sport,” said Elliott, who is also the head men’s soccer coach at Quest University in Squamish and a member of the 2012 Canadian national futsal team.

Futsal is a sport similar to soccer that uses a smaller, heavier ball on a smaller court, usually played indoors and with a smaller net to score into. The sport emerged in the 1930’s in Uruguay as a recreational game to be played during rainy days at local YMCAs. The sport has been growing even more popular globally, most recently with the FIFA Futsal world cup being held in Columbia this past September.

Elliot says that futsal helps builds skills not only for futsal die-hards, but helps supplement building skills for soccer plays.

“It’s about technical ability in tight areas,” said Elliot. “The game makes you think really quickly, and forces you to be creative in tight spaces.”

The arena inside the Richmond Olympic Oval. Photo by Tanner Bokor.

Futsal is more popular back east

Peter Lonergan, marketing and communications officer with B.C. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in B.C. and a partner of VFA, says that while futsal is building momentum out west, it is a more popular sport elsewhere in Canada, thanks in part to year-round programming for soccer players in the province.

“From a futsal standpoint, back east, due to weather and available facilities, it’s a lot more prevalent, I’d say,” said Lonergan. “Here, we’re lucky, as our season runs right the way through winter, and in our interior season, it runs through to summer, where we offer indoor programming as well.”

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