Indiana Futsal, a department of Indiana Soccer, was honored to serve as a presenting sponsor during the Indiana SHAPE INSHAPE23 Conference, held Nov. 9-10 at The SportZone Indy facility in Indianapolis.
Representing Indiana Futsal during the two-day event were Justin Becht, Director of Futsal, and John Koluder, Indiana Soccer Special Member Benefits Director. Throughout the conference, the duo introduced the sport of futsal and its benefits for students of all ages to the more than 350 Physical Education instructors and administrators in attendance from all corners of the Hoosier State.
Attending INSHAPE23 allowed Indiana Futsal the perfect opportunity to introduce its Futsal-for- All initiative to a receptive audience of educators. Since 2019, Futsal-for-All has donated educational resources and equipment to schools, allowing them to facilitate an active and fast-paced sport into their PE class curriculum and after school programs at no cost.
“We appreciate Indiana Futsal’s partnership to introduce futsal and demonstrate the skills needed to teach and play the game within the classroom,” explained Maria Rarey, INSHAPE Event Chair and DeKalb High School PE teacher. “Futsal allows our Indiana teachers to incorporate a game for their students that isn’t commonly played in the traditional PE setting. The sport’s continuous movement allows our physical education classes to build their endurance while enjoying a new game.”
Over the last five years, the program has established futsal in over 260 schools to the benefit of more than 144,000 students across grades K-12. However, those figures are just the start of Futsal for All’s ambitious goal, which is to set up the program in every school to serve Indiana’s more than one million students.
“Fewer than 5 percent of Indiana students K-12 are taking part in a member club of Indiana Soccer. Many times, the lack of participation is due to not having access to the world’s ‘beautiful game’. Supplying access through the over 300 school corporations in Indiana is an effective way to provide access to the many benefits that the world’s game supplies developing students,” stated Dave Guthrie, Executive Director of Indiana Soccer.
Partnering with some of the state’s largest school corporations in cities including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Terre Haute has accounted for much of Futsal for All’s progress towards its statewide goal to this point. Indiana Futsal is now focused on filling in the gaps, and the many connections made during the INSHAPE23 conference will go a long way towards fulfilling Indiana Futsal’s statewide goal.
“Some of the best feedback we’ve received on Futsal for All has come from schools in locations where students and teachers were totally unfamiliar with the sport before we introduced it,” said Becht. “This is Indiana, so every school has a gym with a basketball court – which means they also have a futsal court. It’s been encouraging to see futsal embraced by communities of all stripes, and that motivates us even more to keep working on delivering it to every area of the state, especially in underserved communities.”
To close out its stay at the conference, Becht hosted a comprehensive 45-minute workshop that educated attendees on the basics of the sport and allowed them to learn firsthand by playing the 5-v-5 sport on one of venue’s many futsal-friendly courts. The presentation gave a glimpse of the US (United States) Futsal Grassroots License course the Futsal for All initiative provides to facilitators at partner schools, which also earns participants three “Professional Growth Points” as part of their continuing education requirements.
“Finding champions in each community is so vital to getting this program launched, but it is often the hardest part of the process,” said Koluder. “INSHAPE23 allowed Indiana Futsal to meet educators from dozens of areas statewide who are not only eager to partner with us to get the ball rolling in their own schools, but also willing to connect us corporations near them to help quickly expand our reach.”
To learn more about how Indiana Futsal can implement the Futsal for All program in your community’s schools, reach out to Justin Becht at firstname.lastname@example.org.