This winter, GDS students and faculty competed in the school’s first ever futsal tournament. After years of pick-up indoor soccer games after school, Assistant Principal for School Life and men’s varsity soccer coach Quinn Killy and supporting students, many of whom were players on the men’s varsity soccer team, finally decided to start an organized league.
The indoor soccer games transitioned into futsal, a variation of indoor soccer, this year due to increased student participation. A few students brought up the idea of the switch to Killy before the season began. Because of the high volume of participants—freshman Sam Pastreich estimated that over 30 players joined—Killy was motivated to turn the informal games into an organized league.
Indoor soccer games have been a tradition at the school for many years but stopped this year when Killy made the transition to futsal. Unlike this year’s futsal games, the indoor soccer matches were recreational and started with just a few soccer players and a faculty member present.
Futsal is a lot like indoor soccer, but there are a few key differences between the sports. In futsal, there are fewer players on the court, the ball is smaller than it is in indoor soccer, there are no offsides penalties and the court is smaller, which often make the game more intense and fast-paced.
The main reason that futsal has been able to keep its popularity at GDS is due to student participation, according to Killy. “It is totally student interest,” he said. “If there was no interest, then it wouldn’t happen.”
Futsal is open to all GDS students, but many of the participants this year were members of the men’s varsity soccer team.
The weeks of intense futsal matches started in mid-January and finished in early March because of many breaks in the tournament’s action due to scheduling conflicts. This year, there were six official teams, including an all-faculty team. The faculty team consisted of teachers and staff members from the lower, middle and high schools.
Senior Jeremy Grace, a player on the men’s varsity soccer team who participated in the futsal tournament, said that he appreciated the diversity of the participants in the tournament. He cited the fact that the teams ranged from a faculty team to a team made up of only freshmen. “It has been awesome; you have Quinn and staff members on the team and the freshman team,” he said. “It has been really fun.”
Although the faculty team never won a game, they added more competition for the students, Killy said.
Although futsal has become popular at GDS, it is not recognized as an official winter sport in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference or the Independent School League. Since Killy coaches soccer in the fall, he is not allowed to coach futsal during the offseason. In order to align with the leagues’ rules, Killy also decided to involve only GDS students in the futsal tournament. “For me to be involved in it, it has to be open to all GDS kids and it can’t involve coaching,” he said.
Though interscholastic futsal may not be an option for the future at GDS, Grace wants the sport to live on at the school even after he graduates this spring. “I definitely want them to continue it on,” he said. “I would definitely be in support of it coming back next year.”