Our journey to the Futsal National Championship and what it really means.
Our 2005 and 2002 boys futsal ID teams have landed in Santa Clara, California. They’re getting acclimated to the time change and prepping for the United States Futsal Federation national championship that kicks off tomorrow. A lot, and we mean A LOT, of time and effort has gone into qualifying, training, raising money and preparing for this trip.
Some might think that without two national championship trophies at the end of the tournament, it’s all been for naught.
In the calm before the competition, let’s take a minute to talk about what this experience and the opportunity to play on these teams really means to the 17 young men representing us in California.
The Futsal ID season began last August when the boys tried out for their respective teams. From the very beginning Coach Will Hanna (who coaches both teams) talked to the boys about what it means to have a championship mentality. For three months (during regular season play) they trained, played league games and attended tournaments without forgetting that their end goal was the national tournament in California.
They learned about commitment, teamwork, exhaustion, self-discipline, hard work and even experienced a little bit of heartbreak. The skills, confidence, and life lessons they learned during this time have been invaluable to their development as young adults. Learning how to sacrifice, mentally prepare, and set goals to achieve their dreams are experiences that will serve them well later in life.
Once the teams qualified for the national tournament, they needed to raise money to travel across the country. Some of the boys refereed and worked at ASA tournaments in the Spring, each team used a digital fundraising platform to solicit family and friends, several of the boys and their families sold snacks at an ASA event. Again, what an incredible lesson to learn and how cool to see a community come together to support them as they organized and fundraised.
Throughout the fundraising and prepping, they continued to train. Coach Will has been holding training sessions at an outdoor community court in Alexandria where people from the community hop in to play from time. Almost a year after the tryout last August, despite hot weather and the occasional distraction, the boys still show up to training focused and ready to work with their championship mentalities.
As we wrote about here, our Futsal ID program had a wonderful season overall. There were so many teams who didn’t qualify for the national tournament who put in work, sweat and tears throughout the season. Thank you to the coaches (some of which are still putting in work this summer by arranging scrimmages for their teams!) who set a strong example and teach the lessons we’ve talked about here. We hope that every single one of them has a goal of taking their teams to the national tournament next year.
Finally, the 02’s and 05’s are off to California! Two of the boys experienced their very first flights yesterday. They’re traveling further away from home than they ever have. How cool to have this experience, if it can’t be with their own families, with their teammates and coaches, while playing a game they love.
As the boys boarded the plane yesterday, looking professional in their matching polos, we couldn’t help but think how proud we are of all they have accomplished thus far. In the coming days they have some tough games ahead… but they’ve also got a group trip to Alcatraz planned, some beach time, team meals and of course all of the down time spent together in between.
Do we want them to bring home those trophies? ABSOLUTELY.
But win or lose, we’re so proud of all the work they’ve put in to get to this point and we’d like to think that in 50 years, when the trophies are tarnished and rusting, the lessons and relationships they’re learning and building will be more important than any title.