WAVE YOUTH FUTSAL LEAGUE BEGINS THIS WEEKEND

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Milwaukee Wave Youth Futsal launched its first league on Friday night, and is the largest first-year league in the country with 128 teams, said Wave Coach Keith Tozer.

Teams from top southeast Wisconsin clubs such as SCWaukesha, Bavarians, Brookfield Soccer Association, Croatians and North Shore United are participating, along with others at three locations — University Lake School in Hartland, University School of Milwaukee in River Hills and Badger High School in Lake Geneva. Games are Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday.

“It's been unbelievable,” said Tozer, who runs the league and, not coincidentally, is the U.S. Futsal national team coach. “I've been telling people, I've been trying to sell futsal for 17 years, like a vacuum cleaner. One out of every 100 households would buy it. Now we can't keep it in stock.”

Milwaukee Wave Youth Futsal League provides competition for players ages U8-18 in A and B divisions, but growing the sport is about more than playing. Tozer said coaching curriculum, referee certification and player ID for national teams also are components of Milwaukee Wave Youth Futsal. The league is under the banner of US Youth Futsal, and while that's separate from US Soccer, Tozer is working with his counterparts at US Soccer to dovetail the Wave Youth Futsal League with the national movement.

“A year ago, U.S. Soccer proclaimed that futsal will be part of our youth development program here in the U.S., similar to what Spain did years ago, and obviously what Brazil has done for may many years,” Tozer said. “I think it's a very important teaching program for player development in our country.”

Wave Youth Futsal also planned a series of weekend tournaments at the school locations and at the U.S. Cellular Arena, but Tozer said the league enrollment has been so high, the tournaments haven't been played — which is a great problem to have, he said.

The league continues for eight weeks, plus a championship weekend at a location to be determined.

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