What an UNBELIEVABLE President’s Day Futsal Weekend at Central Jersey Futsal.
The holiday weekend started with League play on Sunday with many teams playing the game they have come to love in the Central Jersey Futsal 8-week league play.
That was followed by the President’s Day Futsal Cup hosted by Central Jersey Futsal, where over 340 players had the opportunity to compete for medals for the first time in front of their parents in an indoor setting for quite a while. The tournament saw some fantastic play and talent on display on both the girls and the boy’s side.
The weekend included tryouts for the Champions Cup Series and many ELITE players from top soccer clubs and academies came to try and earn a spot in their age groups for the Nationals and Worlds to be played at the end of July in Orlando Florida. Central Jersey Futsal is one of 24 founding organizations for this National and International event which offers a pathway to the top level of futsal competitions, training, and opportunities to be seen be international coaches.
Lastly the weekend would not be complete without the tryouts for the Women’s Futsal team, which Central Jersey Futsal is the exclusive sponsor. Once again top-level talent competed for a spot in the newly formed Elite Player Program which will begin competition at the upcoming USFF Atlantic City Regionals.
The tryouts included players from previous USFF Regional championship teams and in fact a couple of players are two-time USFF Champions. So, the level is extremely high, and the quality of futsal will set the standard for the area’s female futsal players. Central Jersey Futsal is always at the core of bringing futsal awareness to the soccer community, not only as a primary development tool for soccer but as game by itself. We would like to expose youth soccer players to opportunities and pathways to a higher level of competition and exposure.
We thank everyone who attended, competed, watched and made it a great fun futsal weekend.
The inaugural NJ Futsal Open Cup, which is part of the New Jersey Futsal Tournament Series, was conducted on Monday January 18th 2021. The tournament, which is part of the New Jersey Futsal Tournament Series and hosted by Central Jersey Futsal, had 23 teams registered.
This series of one day futsal tournaments is perfect for teams that are looking for extra games, touches on the ball and competitive fun priced fair for every budget. The tournament series, hosted by Central Jersey Futsal has as core mission is to provide affordable futsal events, $299 per tournament, for all. This is a great opportunity for players, coaches and teams to get tons of extra touches on the ball, and build their soccer development in small sided games where players must think fast, make quick decisions, work their way out of tight spots, get more confidence on 1v1 situations and off course score many goals.
Niko Alexopoulos, director of Central Jersey Futsal, has been utilizing futsal as a means of soccer development and as a sport itself for over 14 years. Niko is someone believes passionately that futsal should be intentionally used as a tool for developing soccer players year-round and come first in the developing process at the younger starter age groups of 3-12 years of age. He has a massive amount of experiences, observations, thoughts and ideas from being submerged in the futsal community as a player, coach and operations director waiting to be released that could truly benefit the futsal community as well as the soccer coach that is just getting into the futsal methodology as a soccer development tool as well as the futsal game itself.
"We, here at Central Jersey Futsal believe in putting kids and families first over profits. This is why we make it a priority for our events to be priced fairly for all to enjoy as well as provide scholarship opportunities for those that are in need." This is a direct quote from director Niko Alexopoulos.
What are coaches saying about futsal and Central Jersey Futsal - In this video learn what ex Albanian Professional Soccer Player Vani Mehmeti has to say.
"I think futsal is great development tool for young ages staring with 5 or 6 years old all the way to 13, 14 and older ages", Vani says.
Just like many other coaches who have developed their soccer skills by playing futsal in their native countries, Vani is a big believer in futsal not only as a development tool, but as a sport as well.
He goes on to mention how US must build more futsal courts and make it easy for youth soccer players to have access to futsal courts everywhere like it is done in many other countries.
Being able to play unstructured and unsupervised small sided games like futsal will help build a player's confidence, creativity, and ability to get out of tight spot situations as well as improve their 1v1 skills.
Developing Elite Players Through Futsal of High Character and Standards on The Court, Field and Life is part of this unique program.
Developing Elite Players Through Futsal of High Character and Standards on The Court, Field and Life is part of this unique program.
We do not seek to just develop soccer players with their technical and tactical skills that will help them reach the elite levels of their soccer game. We seek to also develop and guide their mental and behavioral habits that will help them in their pursue of a college career or beyond.
There are certain characteristics that elite players possess that help them excel not only at the top level of their sport but in life as well. Quality habits that help them shape an elite mentality and work ethic.
This is what the “Character of Champions” is all about.
Program director, Niko Alexopoulos, is a college level coach who knows what coaches are looking for from elite players. “At the college or pro level all players have high standards, but the elite players stand out because of their Character of Champions mentality” he has quoted saying.
Coach Farrell is a current semi pro soccer and futsal player who knows what elite player mentality is and coaches that methodology to the players she mentors. The fact that not only is she a coach but actively playing at a high level makes her extremely relatable to youth players as they can harvest from her playing experience and how she incorporates the Character of Champions mentality in her approach to her game and coaching style.
We are every excited to have Farrell Pomponio join our Elite Player Training Club as a lead trainer and the Director Of Coaching for the girls. Farrell brings an enormous amount of experience both as a coach but as an active current semi pro player both in soccer and futsal.
We strongly believe that all female players now will have a role model as a coach who is actively playing as well as coaching. They can have an opportunity not only to gain from high level training inspired from Farrell's current semi pro level playing but also be mentored by her on many different topics that are required by player who is looking to play in college or beyond that.
Elite Player Training Club players, both boys and girls will have a new pathway of knowledge into higher level of playing.
Farrell Pomponio has been in love with the game of soccer ever since she was a little kid, but as she got older, she also fell in love with the game of Futsal. She played for the South Jersey Barons Academy team and was a 4-year Pinelands Regional High School varsity letter holder and starter. She has also played for New Jersey’s 1991 age group Olympic Development Team, as well as New Jersey’s Futsal Team where they won the state championship in 2007.
After multiple scholarship offers, Farrell decided to stay local and play college soccer, where she received a scholarship to play at Georgian Court University. Her freshman year she was a member of the tournament team, in 2011 she won the MVP award, she was selected for All-CACC first team, and received Honorable Mention in 2012. Farrell was a 3-year starter and captain and would have been a 4-year starter if she did not suffer a potential career ending and life altering injury.
She suffered a major injury to the spine which included periods of time where she was unable to walk. This led her to undergo two spine surgeries, which included reconstructive surgery, after the first surgery went horribly wrong leaving Farrell unable to get out of bed and unable to walk for days at a time. Doctors told Farrell there was no guarantee she would be able to return to the sport she loved so much, especially at a high level, and her focus should be on doing daily tasks and getting through a daily routine that she hadn’t been able to do in the condition she was in. With lots of rehab, had work, and determination, Farrell made it back to finish her 4th and final season of college soccer. She was not the player she was before or the player she wanted to be, but she made it back on the field, and that was a big victory.
Farrell was not going to settle for just making it back to finish her last college season, and then hang up the boots. After college, Farrell continued to rehab and worked relentlessly to make improvements in her physical abilities and went on to play semi professional soccer. She played 2 years in the WPSL before moving into the UWS where she has most recently been playing. Farrell has also played some professional futsal starting out in Virginia with VA United FC, and then went on to stay and play local and was a starter for her team as they won the US Regional Futsal Tournament Championship in 2018 with FC Copa and 2020 with Brazuca Futsal.
When Farrell is not playing the sports she loves, she is working with youth players to help them unleash their potential. Farrell has been coaching and training players for over 10 years.
The game of soccer is changing at a rapid pace. Therefore, the role of the goalkeeper in it as well. Futsal is gaining and extreme level of popularity, not only as a game but as the best tool to help a player with soccer development. Field players are embracing futsal as their salvation with their soccer challenges. However goalkeepers seems to shy away and when they are asked to participate in goalkeeper training and they seem to gravitate towards turf or grass training.
Only a small number of goalkeepers prefer futsal specific goalkeeper training and in fact are brave enough to take on the challenge. Yes, I did use the word brave, as one must have no fear to stand in a futsal goal and face extremely fast shots from very short distances and angles. But then again only few will ever become elite at their chosen craft.
Futsal will massively accelerate the level of development for a a goalkeeper and help them excel in their outdoor soccer game.
Futsal will help them stand out and massively develop.
One of the most overlooked positions is still the goalkeeper position by many coaches. That is a common mistake that we see in outdoor soccer teams trying their hand at futsal for the first time. They enter events without their goalkeepers ever have attended a futsal specific goalkeeper training. A lot of them have never even attended a regular goalkeeper specific training.
A good number of teams attending futsal events for the first time will most likely not even have a goalkeeper. They will rotate field players at the position. That is great and should be promoted at the younger age groups and lower level events. However when teams enter higher level events whey should have a goalkeeper that knows and understands the position.
Learn more about the Elite Player Training where a goalkeeper can train in a futsal specific environment and massively improve their skills.
The Elite Futsal Player Training kicked off this Wednesday November 11 2020 and it will be acting as a feeder program for the Champions Cup Series teams. Elite Futsal Training is 100% club neutral and is open to both girls and boys ages U8 to U18.
Top level players represented academies like PDA, STA, Cedar Stars and others in this first training session. Players that have won regional and national US Technical competitions, and players that are currently on a USYF National team. This definitely is a high level opportunity for elite players to train with other elite players and further develop their soccer skills as well as become proficient in the game of futsal.
The future's so bright for New Jersey Futsal with the number of soccer players increasing every year discovering the game of futsal and using it as a development tool to reach the top levels in the game of futsal as well as soccer.
One of the challenges futsal specific coaches/trainers face is getting players into a futsal specific session. Not an outdoor soccer training session played indoor but a futsal specific session, performed with a futsal specific ball on a futsal specific training environment and futsal specific playing surface with futsal specific activities.
It is crazy when players step into these sessions for the first time and parents realize that there are other coaches, trainers and programs that can help their child’s soccer development along side with their outdoor soccer team training.
It is not against the law to want your child get better, however you would think that many parents have been thrown into mental prison this entire time with their reactions once they learn of futsal and it’s development benefits towards the outdoor soccer game.
The fear of going away from a club atmosphere is the biggest problem. Afraid if you do not sign up for their clinics you will not start the next game. The fear of having your coach find out that you step away from their “optional” training session for someone or something else.
Furthermore, it is always great to see and hear the responses and reactions from players and parents after their first futsal training or game. Some of the most common player remarks are how much fun it was to play, how quick of a game it is, the fact that they get to touch the ball countless times and how many goals they scored. On the parents side common remarks include that they never realized how much their child would love the game, how many times they would get to touch the ball, how they are involved in the game every single moment instead of daydreaming on one side of the field while the ball is on the other side, the fast pace actioned packed situations and off course the amount of goals scored which make all children smile.
Wake up and smell the coffee. Explore and see what else is out there. Your child will know RIGHT AWAY if it is something that will benefit them. Learn from everything and everyone. Stop being brainwashed by the same thing over and over.
If your coach and your club truly want what’s best for your child’s development they will not only be open to alternative methods to develop your child’s soccer skills but will encourage it as they want the best players on their teams.
Think about it…
Your club wants the next best thing. The next standout player. That player is the player that does everything to make them better. The number of kids and their parents who were scared to seek, discover and enter the outside world of training, away from their club team and coach are the same kids who are cut and when you ask the coach why they were cut or what can they do to get better, the coach will tell you to train more and work on certain things.
Ironic do not you think?
Any coach or program that does not allow you to see what is out there should be a clear red flag. Why would that ever be the case? Maybe they have the fear of you learning what else is out there? Maybe they are scared to lose out on your extra $300.00 for their ‘optional’ training program?
Another mystery is why would your coach/club charge you an extra fees to make you better? Isn’t that what the 3-4x week training sessions are for? So now you must pay another cost to train with the same kids and the same coach probably doing the same type of sessions you did during team training? Why can’t you go out there and see what is available for yourself?
When your kid enters high school, you will punch yourself for not seeing all the possibilities out there to make them better.
Following is a quick video on how creating space in futsal will massively develop a player's outdoor soccer game. We often see players on the futsal court trying to play a position and stay at that position while their teammate possesses the ball. (This is what they been may have been taught by their soccer coaches). That creates and amplifies the problem that since the futsal playing space is restricted the player possessing the ball will not have options and will be forced into trying to keep possession under the defender's pressure. Although this develops the players ability to keep possession with own personal foot skills it does not allow the team to advance the ball and penetrate.
In the outdoor game of possession, although there is a basic shape a coach will use with players primarily maintaining their position, players are also asked to pass and move, recognize and make timely runs, overlaps and basically move away from their primary position in an organized fashion. Meaning, if the left back over laps maybe the midfielder will drop back to cover that position, if both the back and the midfielder play together to advance the ball, one of the center backs will shift to cover the left back position of maybe the defensive midfielder, (if there is one), will drop to cover that spot.
The bottom line is that in an organized manner although players have primary positions they will shift and move out of positions to either advance the ball or cover for each other.
Learning how to recognize and create space with timely runs off the ball, thus providing additional options to the ball handler in the futsal restricted space will massively develop a player's outdoor soccer game.
We are excited to announce that our new registration platform will be gotsoccer. With almost everyone familiar with the platform and a member of gotsoccer this partnership will make the customer experience seamless and easier to navigate. Please visit gotsoccer to view all the new events that we have added and register today. One can find a list of our new programming here: www.centraljerseyfutsalleague.com We look forward to a great fall/winter futsal season. #centraljerseyfutsal #yearroundfutsal #futsalfirst #madebyfutsal
Niko is someone who believes passionately that futsal should be intentionally used as a tool for developing soccer players year-round and come first in the developing process at the younger starter age groups of 3-12 years of age. He has a massive amount of experiences, observations, thoughts and ideas from being submerged in the futsal community as a player, coach and operations director waiting to be released that could truly benefit the futsal community as well as the soccer coach that is just getting into the futsal methodology as a soccer development tool as well as the futsal game itself