For the third summer in a row an Alexandria Futsal ID team has been crowned US Futsal Federation National Champions. This year the 2004 boys team, coached by Peja Radivojevic, brought home the cup!
The tournament, held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, got off to a tough start for the team with a tight 1–3 loss. They boys regrouped, settled in and never looked back after that initial game. The team advanced out of group play and into the quarterfinals where they defeated CCSC Azteca 4–2. After a very well played semifinal match against Sole Futsal Academy the team had 20 hours to prep for their final match against local rivals, DC Hyper.
Director of Futsal ID Will Hanna said, “I was very impressed with the team’s ability to handle adversity throughout the entire tournament. Coach Peja has done a tremendous job developing this group over the past year. This team has fallen just short of the championship game the past 4 years now. Throughout the entire tournament the boys kept a level head but their maturity and attention to detail was really on display in the final match. The opposing fans were holding nothing back with their banter and our boys remained composed and stuck to coach Peja’s game plan. I could not be more proud of the development of this team and coach Peja.”
The 2004 boys have been working towards this championship for four years. The ASA technical team is extremely proud of the dedication and maturity the boys demonstrated not only in this tournament, but over the past four years as they’ve grown as a team and continued to work hard despite setbacks along the way. Coach Peja said, “I’m truly so proud of this group. It took the entire group to achieve this goal and we did it together!”
Two summers ago ASA sent one Futsal ID team to Nationals; last summer, two teams; this summer SIX teams represented ASA at the top tournament in the nation. The number of teams competing is a testament to the hard work of the Futsal ID coaching staff over the past several years and the incredible growth of this program. Earlier in 2019, the Futsal ID also program sent a record number of teams to both the Virginia Futsal State Cup and the USFF Northeast Regional tournament this year.
“The program has seen significant growth due to our community’s understanding of the impact futsal has on the overall growth and development of a player,” said Hanna. “Not to mention, people are falling in love with just how fun this game is to play and to watch. ASA has been able to provide opportunities for summer and winter futsal programs, not just at the competitive level but at the recreational and intermediate levels as well. With the foundation of an Alexandria Futsal League players at every level have access to enjoy and grow within the sport. The success of the program and individual teams at the State, Regional and National level has been inspiring for our players and now, more than ever, there is a desire to improve and bring more championships back to our city and club.”
The 2005 boys advanced to the semifinals and the 2008 boys just missed out on advancing due to goal differential. The 2009 girls advanced out of group play and lost a close semifinal match to Brazil CT.
Coach Mark (2009 girls) said, “I’m thrilled for the team’s success. We underwent a comprehensive training program over the last two months to prepare for the national tournament and built momentum from the winter futsal season. The future is bright for this group and the team is eager to get back on the court to challenge for a 2020 State, Regional and National Championship!”
[Side note — the 2009 girls came out to support all of Coach Mark’s Sporting Maryland professional men’s games. A highlight of the tournament was Coach Mark jumping into the stands after one of his goals to celebrate with the girls!]
The 2006 and 2007 boys competed well and held their opponents to close matches but did not advance out of group play. (The 2006 boys resoundingly beat opponent Vancouver Futsal Academy 12–0).
This experience, at the highest level, is unparalleled for the development of ASA’s Futsal ID program and individual player growth. Many ASA players will use their skills on the field this fall before transitioning back to futsal in November. If you’d like to become involved in this program we’ll be announcing Futsal ID tryout dates soon. Additionally, we’re hiring Futsal ID coaches. Interested? Send your resume to Director of Futsal ID, Will Hanna, at [email protected].