A Page -- March 24, 2011

Futsal, a version of soccer that has been 

around since the 1930s, picking up in 

Cleveland and Akron as both a fun game 

and training tool for Student/Athletes

March 24, 2011

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


When indoor soccer first started becoming popular and a viable American recreational and training activity in the mid and late 1970s (including the development of a flourishing pro league, the MISL), mainstream pundits who were more parrots than they were journalists kept repeating the same mantra of “this is junk sports.”

Critics of indoor soccer likened the winter season game to such activities as roller derby, pro wrestling and truck/tractor pulls, deeming them as more “entertainment” than “sports,” due to the smoke, the Darth Vader dancing around the field/court and all the bells and whistles, helping support the argument.

Those who built the sport and helped it grow thought they had a beauty of a hybrid, synthesizing outdoor soccer with ice hockey (use of the boards and contained playing domain) and basketball (the two-point circle, making a goal count for two points instead of one to give American sports fans their beloved aspect of sport – “offense”).

Having only a half dozen players on each side instead of 11 enabled fans to better keep track of the players, which is one of the components that has made Futsal (five a side or three a side in either indoor or outdoor) become more and more popular among American youth and a great training tool for preparing younger players for the broader field and more populous game.

The assumption back in the 1970s and 1980s was that indoor soccer was an “American invention” but actually it goes back a lot further than that period and a lot farther from the Land of the Stars and Stripes.

Note: Futsal has no boards as regular indoor soccer has

The original indoor game is Fustal, which is conducted with a handful of players within the shorter dimensions and NO BOARDS, and has been played in Europe and on other continents for at least eight decades now.

“In some respects Futsal is new since leagues and tournaments are still making the change to adopt this format to attract participants and teams,” said Otto Orf, the director of HandsOnSoccer and the Cleveland Super F Futsal League. “Really, they have been playing it since the 1930s. We are just changing over now from the other indoor game. It is a little better in the sense that it is more like regular soccer because the boards are not part of the game.”

Watch video of Otto Orf explain the history of Futsal and the nature of the soccer offshoot, filmed by Norm


What coaches found was that when Student/Athletes spent long winters playing indoor soccer in cold places like Cleveland, they would get dependent on the boards and sometimes it worked as a handicap for then once they took the other tactical and technical skills they learned to the outdoor game.

This again rubs on the critics of indoor soccer and soccer in general in an abrasive kind of way. Their belief is it is another ploy to keep soccer a “year-round game” and thereby hijacking Student/Athletes from participating in other sports they could be playing in a high school format.

However, with many of the sports now in high schools going to pay-for-play ordeals, families of S/As and S/As themselves are finding that if they are going to pay anyway, they might as well do it with a club or other professionally coached outside amateur outfit instead of getting so-called athletic training from a teacher merely seeking a supplemental income contract via a “coaching” situation. Getting the professional training means they get what they pay for, helping them reach their ultimate goals of getting to the next level – college Student/Athlete-ship or whatever the case might be.

Coach Mike Vincent (with ball) and Alpha Phi Alpha Futsal team

Watch video of Otto Orf explain the difference between Futsal and indoor  soccer, filmed by Norm


Today, this can be attained almost exclusively through year-round training and specialization in one sport. All the JOA volleyball premier baseball, tournament softball (and other outside higher level situations that encourage travel and expanded-horizons competition) have a lot of homage to pay to sports like soccer and ice hockey, which were already doing this in full force by the 1980s if not sooner while most of those in other sports were still playing mainly against those who just lived “down the street.”

Much of this discouragement from playing the same sport year round is merely a hidden agenda, which is the avoidance of hurting the gate at the top high school revenue sport – American football. About 23 years ago here in Ohio, the state association tried to enforce a rule to prevent and or reduce soccer S/As’ involvement with their club teams (particularly during the high school soccer season), but one week later an out-of-court appeal reversed the decision as unconstitutional and S/As were back with their club and HS teams simultaneously.

California is one state that does not have this problem as much since the high school soccer season is during the winter instead of fall high school sports season thereby enabling some of the best athletes in a given high school to play both football and soccer (basketball has only 12 players and because of the warm weather not as many schools have wrestling and hockey teams in the winter), serving as less of a hindrance to other sports. Also with a high Hispanic population in California, it is not as easy to get away with bashing soccer.

Watch video of Otto Orf explain how skills learned in Futsal are transferred to outdoor soccer, filmed by Norm


However, most other states do not have the same luxury; thus, in order to keep the year-round thing going, Futsal has become a great tool, since the weather does not dictate anything --- the same game can be played both indoor and outdoors.

The games are also shorter and players become less tired. In the 11-man game, sometimes S/As get discouraged by the sport from a lot of standing around and not seeing the ball but in Futsal there is far more passing and a great deal more of each participant almost always being near the ball and thereby at close to touching it if not getting to play a ball and pass.

Orf and HOS are in the process of doing three things with soccer and all of them involve the use of Futsal. Orf just brought over Rick Holland from England (yes, it can get confusing) to be his associate director of Fustal and to help grow the involvement of youth in the leagues.

Rick Holland

Listen to audio of Assistant Director Rick Holland give an overseas perspective of Futsal


First, they are trying to build the sport in the inner city, where it has not had a strong presence. Since many in that potential clientele are already used to playing a five-man game (basketball), it is only natural to transition this group to soccer by use of another five-man game, Futsal.

Second, in addition to his regular 29 summer youth camps Orf will be conducting this summer, the former Cleveland Crunch champion goalie will be training entire high school teams and in order to break them off into units or on nights when several group members might be missing because of summer work or family vacations, Futsal becomes another great training tool.

Third, HOS still has outreach as part of its program, and while the U.S. has been a little behind most of the rest of the world in terms of soccer growth, it is not always the case. Orf also takes the game to underdeveloped countries and while many of them (particularly the Latin American ones) know soccer, Futsal often is new and in the smaller villages where travel and number of participants are often not as bountiful, Futsal comes in handy.


With a full nine S/As returning in the 

senior class, Gilmour's baseball team at 

least has experience/leadership on its side 

in its quest to make a return trip to the 

State's Final Four

By Kristy Booher

With a strong core of players returning this season, the Gilmour Academy baseball team is setting the bar high in 2011. Second-year head coach Jay Fowler, a 2000 Gilmour graduateand four-year baseball letterman, was an assistant with the Lancer team that made it to the OHSAA Division III State Semifinals in 2008. Now, after a decent showing in his debut as head coach in 2010 when Gilmour went to the sectional finals, Fowler is confident his team has what it takes to make it even further this season.


“We have three main goals,” said Fowler, “The first is to return to the state tournament. We have a nice mix of older guys with experience and fresh faces that are eager to prove themselves. As always, we will go as far as the senior class will take us.”

That senior class is made up of nine players all ready for the chance at a return trip to the state tournament after having felt the excitement during their freshmen years. Expected to return to the starting lineup again this season are Jeff Rousseau (catcher/pitcher), Cam Carmen (first base), Matt Debick (second base/shortstop) and Matt Pestotnik (outfield). Other seniors expected to contribute include Frank Pines (third base/second base), Kevin Dagg (third base), John Mohorcic (catcher) and Matt McLaughlan (outfield).

Fowler realizes it’s more than talent that wins championships and he believes his team has what it takes to meet the goals they’ve set for themselves. In addition to making a trip to the state tournament, the Lancers have plans to win the Cuyahoga River Baseball Conference (CRBC). The team’s third goal of the season, which is attainable without question, is to out hustle every opponent.

“One of our team strengths is effort,” said Fowler. “These players work hard each and every minute of every game and every practice. They go into every situation expecting to outwork every opponent. Combine this with their talent and we’ll win more times than not.”

The Lancers begin the season, weather permitting, on March 28 with a home game against higher-level opponent St. Vincent-St. Mary who is on the schedule twice this season. The second meeting with the Division II foe is on April 4 on the road. Gilmour takes on even more upper-level competition with games against Division I opponents St. Ignatius (April 5) and St. Edward (April 26). Gilmour also goes up against Division II Walsh Jesuit twice (March 29, April 25) and Benedictine (May 2, May 3). Overall, the team has a total of 25 games scheduled between the home opener on March 28 and the final regular season game against Geneva on May 11.




By Nick Minerd

PITTSFORD, NY – Four members of the Case Western Reserve University baseball team have been selected to the 2011 University Athletic Association All-Tournament Team, announced by the UAA office on Wednesday, March 23. The Spartans were runner-up at the five-day event (March 9-13) in Clermont, Florida.

Tallmadge product Matt Keen

The Spartans (4-2 UAA) tied with UAA Champion Emory University (GA) for the most selections. Case’s honorees include senior third baseman Chad Mullins (Fredericksburg, OH/Waynedale), senior catcher Steve Bills (Greensburg, PA/Hempfield), junior outfielder Sam Alexander (Alexandria, VA/T.C. Williams) andsophomore shortstop Matt Keen (Tallmadge, OH/Tallmadge).

Mullins, also an all-tournament team selection last season, batted .435 (10-of-23) with a homerun, six runs batted-in and three stolen bases in three attempts during at this year’s championship. In 21 games overall in 2011, Mullins is leading the team with a .477 average, six homers and 40 RBI. Already a two-time UAA Hitter of the Week,Mullins entered this week ranked tied for second in the nation in RBI, fourth in homeruns and ninth in base-hits.

(l to r) Alexander, Bills, Mullins

Bills hit .273 during the tournament with a pair of RBI and walks. For the season, he is a .278 hitter with 12 RBI and a .972 fielding percentage behind the plate.  

Keen, last year’s tournament MVP, finished fourth during this year’s championship with a .448 average (13-of-29) and totaled six RBI and three steals. He is hitting .407 for the year with 20 RBI and leads the team in stolen bases (9-of-9).

Alexander, left- hit .357 (10-of-28) in Florida with eight RBI. Overall, he is batting .365 with a homer, 20 RBI, 10 doubles and ateam-high four triples.

After yesterday’s doubleheader split with Grove City College (PA), the Spartans sit at 14-7 overall heading into a key weekend of action versus No. 2 nationally-ranked Heidelberg University. The Spartans host the Student Princes for a twinbill starting at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 at Nobby’s Ballpark. The two teams then meet on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for a single game in Tiffin.

Aubree Jones named OAC Field Student/Athlete of the 


By Lenny Reich

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio -- Mount Union junior Aubree Jones (Falconer, NY/Falconer) was named Ohio Athletic Conference Women's Track and Field Athlete of the Week.


Jones won the discus with a throw of 129-3 at last weekend's Stark County Championship meet held at Walsh University in North Canton.

Jones helped lead the Purple Raiders to the team title at the event.

Mount Union next complete on Saturday, April 2, when it hosts the OAC Gold Meet at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance.

Mount Union-Walsh postpone baseball game to Wednesday

March 23, 2011 

ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Mount Union's baseball home opener scheduled for TODAY (Mar. 23) at 3:30 pm against Walsh has been postponed to next Wednesday, Mar. 30, at 3:30 pm at 23rd Street Field in Alliance.

OAC-NCAC challenge track meet has been postponed

The OAC-NCAC Challenge Track Meet scheduled for Saturday at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, has been canceled due to pending inclement weather.

Temperatures are predicted to be in the low 30's with rain and snow expected.

The Purple Raiders next meet will be Saturday, Apr. 2 when they host the OAC Gold Meet at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance.

Fredonia Spoils Home Opener for 
Oberlin Women's Lacrosse
Story Reported by Mike Mancini
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3/23/2011 6:46:34 PM
Box Score

Oberlin, Ohio – Despite the horrific weather conditions, the visiting Blue Devils of Fredonia scored early and often as they cruised to a 16-2 win over the Oberlin College women’s lacrosse team on Wednesday afternoon. 

The blistering cold temperatures and steady rainfall had little effect on the Blue Devils as they took a 14-0 lead into halftime. 

In the closing minutes Oberlin did get on the board courtesy of a free position goal from Alice Zicht. Sophomore Ilyssa Meyer would add another OC tally, but it was too little too late. 

Rookie Sarah Andrews also won three draw controls for the Yeowomen. 

Oberlin will now hit the road for three straight games over spring break week. First up will be Waynesburg on Saturday at 1 p.m. 

Bishops Bounce Yeomen
Story Reported by Mike Mancini
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3/23/2011 9:02:45 PM
Box Score

Delaware, Ohio – The Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops scored early often as they cruised to a 17-3 win over the Oberlin College men’s lacrosse team on Wednesday night at Shelby Field. 

Senior Rob Bond scored two goals, won eight face-offs and scooped up five groundballs for the Yeomen, but the home Bishops proved why they are one of the top teams in the country. 

OWU (4-2, 1-0 NCAC) took a 10-0 lead into the break. Dylan Holmes would take an assist from Mickey Fiorillo with 9:22 left in the third quarter to get the Yeomen on the board. 

The Bishops, who had 10 different players score at least one goal in the game, out-shot the Yeomen 47-17 and won the groundball battle 31-23. 

The Yeomen will look to get back on track on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Ferrum College.

Softball & Track Announce Cancellations
Story Reported by Mike Mancini
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3/23/2011 11:18:07 AM
Oberlin, Ohio – Mother Nature just won’t let up as the latest weather forecast has forced the cancellations of today’s softball game at Thiel and Saturday’s home track meet. 

The Yeowomen were slated to travel east to take on the Tomcats at 3:30 p.m., but that has now been postponed. No make-up date has been set. 

The Oberlin track and field teams were supposed to start their outdoor season on Saturday, March 26, but with just a high of 32 degrees and chance of rain, the meet has been canceled. 

Both teams will hit the road for Spring Break as softball heads to Florida for 10 games starting on Sunday. Track will compete at the Washington University Invite in St. Louis on April 1 and 2.