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Indiana Soccer Launches In School Futsal Program For Elkhart Community Schools

Futsal recently found a home in another Indiana school corporation as Elkhart Community Schools welcomed the sport into elementary and middle school physical education curriculums early last week.

Indiana Soccer Director of Education Steve Franklin, Director of ODP Todd Sheely, and Indiana Futsal Director Justin Becht led a group of Elkhart teachers through futsal instruction that they can take back to their physical education students.

“Getting kids active and out there doing something is the key. That goes for any sport or activity that will get them off the couch and off a device for at least an hour a day. Futsal will be fun for the students in our community to play. They have a huge interest in soccer, so this will be exciting for them,” said ECS teacher Christy Grubb.

Futsal provides countless opportunities for development. While requiring fewer players and less space, the game encourages the player to make lots of decisions in a short period of time thus stimulating their cognitive development. It also gives players the chance to not only develop ball control and spatial awareness, but greatly assists with balance and mobility.

Sheely, who also serves as an ECS teacher and Head Boys Soccer Coach at Elkhart High School, is looking forward to the benefits of futsal within the school corporation.

“I think this is another opportunity for kids to maybe find their niche in school and feel good about themselves, because students that feel good about themselves are going to feel good in the classroom,” Sheely said.

In addition to the on-court instruction, ECS teachers received a bag of futsal balls and a pair of goals courtesy of Indiana Soccer. The equipment, along with a provided curriculum, will allow the teachers to immediately implement futsal into their physical education classes.

“This was so fun and refreshing to have a [professional development] that pertains to us and it was well presented. I feel ready to teach futsal today if I wanted to! Actually, I will be starting it next week,” said ECS teacher Caroline Stopiak.

“Futsal is a game that pushes the player’s heart rate to around 80% of their maximum heart rate. Science indicates that when one’s heart rate increases to 80% of maximum and is held there for 20 minutes or more, the chemistry in the body changes. This chemistry change enhances physical fitness but equally, if not more important, it enhances cognitive fitness. With improved cognitive fitness, the student is more capable of memorization, learning etc. It is encouraging to see school administrators and teachers embracing new ways to support children and their holistic development. Indiana Soccer, its Board of Directors and its 140 member clubs are thrilled to assist our schools in their commitment to support all aspects of a child’s development” stated Dave Guthrie, Indiana Soccer’s Executive Director.

Elkhart Community Schools is the second district in Indiana to adopt futsal into their physical education curriculum. Vigo County initially brought the US Futsal Grassroots course into their corporation in early 2020.

To learn more about using futsal in your communities or schools, contact Justin Becht at justin@soccerindiana.org.

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