About United States Youth Futsal and United States Adult Futsal - formerly known as Super F League, USYF is the largest US Soccer affiliated futsal organization in the United States. Launched in 2004, USYF offers amateur soccer players an opportunity to play organized futsal in local leagues.
Opinions expressed on this blog do not necessary represent the opinions of United States Youth Futsal.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
After trip to Spain for a futsal coaches' clinic, Massachusetts Futsal director of officials Soorena Farboodmanesh is inspired to raise level of the game here
Soorena Farboodmanesh works with referees in Massachusetts Futsal Association,
his perspective on how the game is played is influenced by a recent trip to
MFA’s director of officials and the reigning Massachusetts State Referee Committee
Referee Administrator of the Year, was among a group of United States Youth
Futsal representatives who attended a coaches’ clinic in Spain in September.
The group visited a professional training facility and attended Spanish Futsal
Super Cup games. But Farboodmanesh and the others were first exposed the game’s
subtleties during clinic lectures by the technical staff of Liga
Nacional Futbol Sala.
And language was hardly an obstacle, he and the others say.
“They made it so easy for us,” said Farboodmanesh. “We got
it. The translator helped a lot, but we would’ve gotten it anyhow.”
From a coach’s viewpoint, Farboodmanesh learned that in
Spain professional futsal players specialize in the game, just as outdoor
professionals do in the U.S. and other countries.
“In places like Spain, they play futsal as futsal, for the
game itself, not because there’s no outdoor soccer,” he said.
Few, if any, also play outdoor soccer on a competitive
level. That’s a big contrast to the U.S. or Canada, where players focus on
outdoor soccer for nine or 10 months a year, then transition to a 10-week
futsal season when winter arrives.
The specialization also means the games are played, coached
and refereed differently. As a referee trainer, one thing Farboodmanesh
observed is that in Spain futsal is more of a skillful, finesse game than it is
in North America, where outdoor soccer has a big influence on the indoor game.
“In other countries, it’s less physical than what we do
here,” he said. “That is one of the things that we constantly remind our
referees. The technique of the players in Spain and Brazil, it is so much
greater than it is here. If there is contact, the referees really apply the
rules over there, the futsal rules.”
The result is that contact is reduced and the emphasis is on
skillful individual play and combinations between players.
Farboodmanesh, a resident of Newton, Mass., refereed his
first outdoor games at 21 in his native Iran before transitioning to futsal two
years later. In 2001, he emigrated to the U.S. to study computer engineering
and has stayed here ever since. He is now working on a graduate business degree
And, almost 20 years later, he’s still involved in the game
During the clinic sessions in Spain, Farboodmanesh said he
learned the game is coached differently than it is here. Professional practices
are broken down into game-related situations where a team may work on set
kick-in and corner-kick plays for 20 to 30 minutes during a training session.
Since the game flows with little time to verbally organize, teams develop
signals to label the desired runs on set pieces.
Farboodmanesh, right, with Jon Parry, part of the USYF trip to Spain.
Overall, training sessions are more structured than they are
in North America, with greater emphasis on drills and game situations than
“In Spain, futsal coaching is more structured than the ‘let
them play’ over here,” Farboodmanesh said.
As with professional sports in the U.S. and Canada, there is
also an emphasis on scouting and films that prepare players for the tendencies
of opponents. A scouting coach will review specific things like “No. 6 is a
right-footed player, No. 10 is a left-footed player” or how often a team that’s
behind is likely to use its goalie as a fifth field player.
Futsal could well become that sophisticated here some day,
but for now Farboodmanesh, 40, said his emphasis in Massachusetts is to refine
the work of his league’s 70 referees. The league registered just under a
combined 200 teams last winter for two sessions.
As a referee instructor – Farboodmanesh doesn’t assign games
– teaches courses, critiques officials and leads certification and
And, as is the case with North American players, referees in
the U.S. and Canada transition from the outdoor game to futsal and often bring
habits and reference points with them.
“The referees that we have do a very good job outdoors as
far as game management goes,” Farboodmanesh said. “Inside, they have to make
game-management decisions faster. In refereeing, game management is the most
Depending on his referees’ ages, Farboodmanesh said he might
emphasize skills such as talking to coaches, limiting physical contact and
communicating with players to prevent fouls and keep competition-fired tempers
from spinning out of control.
As referees progress, there’s a potential reward for them –
a trip to the U.S. Youth Futsal National Tournament, which will be held at a
seven-court facility in Gardner, Kan. in February 2013. Farboodmanesh said he’s
refereed at nationals since 2008 or so, after being named MFA’s Referee of the
Year and becoming its director of referees.
“Every year, we pick two referees, a young referee and an
adult as our Referees of the Year and we pay for them to go to nationals,” he