My daughter started playing futsal a few years ago, now she is a National Team Player!
Updated: Aug 10, 2018
In this post, we spoke to Olivia Sloffer mother, Jasmine Sloffer. She shares with all parents what Futsal means to her as a mom and to Olivia as a Phoenix Futsal Club and National Team Player. #onecityoneclub #playphoenixfutsal
Check it Out!!!!!
When did your daughter start playing Futsal? Olivia first played Futsal when she was in 5th grade, so about at 10 years old. She began with her outdoor team playing Futsal in the winter with the Fort Wayne Futsal leagues on Saturdays at Concordia Seminary. At this point, though, she really didn't know much about Futsal and we viewed it more of as just something to do during the winter since the girls couldn't play outside.
Who introduced Futsal to you and your daughter? Olivia's coach at the u11 age group was Kristin Shifflett and she was the one who first decided to have the girls play Futsal in the winter. We are thankful Coach Kristin took the opportunity to get the girls involved with this program! Then, Carlos Cruz became her outdoor coach for the u12 age group and that's when we began to understand that Futsal was more than just something to keep in shape and get touches on the ball in the winter. Coach Carlos's passion with Futsal has really inspired Olivia throughout the years and has sparked the same passion in her.
Did you see improvement right away? If not, after how long did you notice your daughter's improvement? Futsal has improved Olivia's game in numerous ways. One, her footwork has improved tremendously. This was an improvement that was seen right away. As a goalkeeper, she needs to be comfortable with her feet but it isn't always an emphasis. With Futsal, she is forced to be good with her feet since she is involved with so much of the game and has the opportunity to come out onto the court to play a more offensive role at times during the game. The improved footwork from Futsal has certainly helped her outdoor game! Another improvement has been her reaction time in the goal. Futsal is such a fast paced game that she has to react quickly to make saves. I have seen her reaction time improve, which has had a huge impact on her outdoor game. Futsal has also given her the opportunity to just be more comfortable with the ball. During a Futsal games she gets numerous shots taken on her, which gives her a ton of opportunities to get touches on the ball. The last improvements I have seen that Futsal has had on Olivia is in her confidence, attitude, and mental game. As a goalkeeper, Olivia takes each goal personally and rides home from games aren't always pleasant! With Futsal being a more high scoring game, it has helped Olivia be better about processing and handling goals scored against her. The whole experience of Futsal has helped with the areas of confidence, attitude, and mental game. The first year Olivia was selected to attend the National ID camp, she was selected as an alternate for the team. She was devastated that she wasn't selected as a team member and wouldn't be traveling with the team. At the end of the National ID camp, Keith Tozer (technical director for the US Youth Futsal National teams) told the players that if they receive an email saying they weren't selected for the team they have two options - 1. Make excuses and/or give up, or 2. Use it as motivation to work harder and come back the next year to prove why they should be selected for the team. Olivia kind of started with option 1, but then decided this was something she wanted. She reached out to Otto Orf (the US Youth National Team's goalkeeper coach) and asked what she needed to work on. She spent the next year working on all the aspects he told her to. She was very driven and determined to improve her game. The next year she was selected for the team and traveled to Costa Rica where she was also selected as one of the captains for her team. She just returned from Colombia from this year's national team trip, where she was also selected as one of the captains. She has seen that hard work and perseverance not only work to improve her game, but are recognized and appreciated by the coaches. This confidence and attitude have certainly carried over into her outdoor game and have helped her continue to improve an an outdoor goalkeeper.
Any other thoughts you would like to share about how Futsal is involved in your soccer/mom life? Futsal has become involved in all areas of our lives. For Olivia, she has had the opportunities to make connections with other players and coaches all over the world! She has had several coaches from all over the country ask her where she is looking to go to college and, if it is near where they are located, have told her if she chooses that school to make sure to let them know and they would love to have her involved in their Futsal clubs. It's been great to see that anywhere Olivia ends up, she will likely have connections with someone close by. I would say I have also loved getting to know parents from all over the country. It is fun to go to the larger tournaments and have it feel almost like a reunion! Also, the travel experiences outside of the country have been amazing. I have also enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful coaches who are so passionate about what they do and just love getting kids passionate about Futsal. When Olivia first traveled with the team to Costa Rica, that was her first time out of the country. She has certainly grown as a person with these experiences and they are helping guide her as she looks for colleges and contemplates future careers.
Any thoughts and comments that you would like to share regarding the Phoenix Futsal Club? We feel very fortunate to have been with the Phoenix Futsal Club since the beginning. Our girls started out losing every single game of the Regional tournament by huge margins (double digits!!) to this past year finishing as finalists at the National tournament. The first year the girls played a team that had 3 national team players on it and I remember the girls consoling themselves after a huge loss by talking about how that team had those national team players. Now, Phoenix is that club and Olivia's team is that team that has those national team players on it. At the national events, players and coaches now know who Phoenix is and know we're from Fort Wayne and know we are a team to be taken seriously! Also, this club is truly a family. We love going to the tournaments and cheering on the other teams, and seeing those teams come to cheer on our team. We've enjoyed many meals with families from all different teams and it is awesome how supportive each family is of the program and all the players and teams. Some of Olivia's best memories are centered around her experiences with Phoenix. I often tell other parents to look into participating in Phoenix because the training is the best to be found, especially when you add in the bonus of the extremely dedicated and passionate coaches who are involved! We feel so fortunate to have been a part of the journey and to be a part of this club!
Jasmine Sloffer, August 9, 2018.