Indiana Soccer and its subsidiary program Indiana Futsal in partnership with International soccer star & Fort Wayne native DaMarcus Beasley and the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department, announced the construction of Fort Wayne’s first public, small-sided “futsal” soccer courts. The courts, which will take the name of soccer star DaMarcus Beasley will be developed in Packard Park on the city’s south side by repurposing underutilized tennis courts into small-sided soccer “futsal” courts for use by the community.
Indiana Soccer started with the implementation of a small-sided “futsal” event back in 2014 at the Indiana State Fair in which over 100 participants – youth and adults represented different countries. A year later, the idea expanded into the creation of the first International Mayor’s Futsal Cup. The idea was to use a World Cup format to gather people residing in Indianapolis who were from different parts of the world to represent their country in a fun, but competitive environment. Since the first Futsal initiative, Indiana Soccer through Indiana Futsal, implemented three Mayor’s Cups and hosted three US Futsal Federation - Midwest Regional Tournaments. Indiana Soccer has been affiliated with US Futsal Since 2015.
Dave Guthrie, Indiana Soccer’s Executive Director, stated that “The partnership with Fort Wayne’s Parks Department is a true joy. The people of Fort Wayne should be proud of the hard working, compassionate people that serve in their parks department. Guthrie further stated that the game of Futsal provides access the beautiful game to a significant number of players who otherwise would not have access. The game allows the player to make hundreds of decisions in a very short period of time thus making the game – the player’s game.”
Futsal is a soccer-like game with roots in South America that is spreading in popularity across the United States--especially in urban areas with limited space for traditional soccer fields. Futsal is very similar to traditional soccer, but is played with fewer players (5 players per team) and is more fast-paced, placing an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique. Futsal courts are often located on smaller, hard-surface playing courts such as playgrounds, basketball gym floors and underutilized tennis courts, as in the case of Packard Park.
DaMarcus Beasley grew up playing soccer with the Fort Wayne United Soccer Club and went on to play 19 years in 6 different countries. Beasley holds the honor of being the only American soccer player in history to compete in four World Cups for the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team. In providing this sponsorship for his hometown, Beasley explained, “Kids of all ages, backgrounds and neighborhoods deserve a chance to play soccer. I have great memories of playing in Fort Wayne growing up, and I’m hoping to help give other kids that same chance.” Beasley also played high school soccer for South Side High School just up the street from the new park project.
The Beasley Courts at Packard Park are being funded by Beasley, Indiana Soccer (Indiana Futsal) and the City of Fort Wayne, as well as a kick-start donation secured by the Homestead High School Boys Soccer Team. The Homestead team raised the initial $10,000 donation for the project. Groundbreaking for the Beasley Courts is scheduled in the coming weeks with an expected completion date in early June. A grand opening event is being planned for June on a date to be determined to accommodate Beasley’s professional soccer schedule with Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. Immediately upon completion in June, the Beasley Courts will be available for youth-focused organized summer futsal clinics being planned by the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department and for open play by the public, providing a free, fun opportunity for soccer for local residents, including the several hundred neighborhood children living in the vicinity of Packard Park.
For more information about how to create a court in your community, contact the director of Indiana Futsal Justin Becht at Justin@indianafutsal.org or call him at 317-975-2012.
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