NEWS
USA - August 24, 2018 09:00World Intercontinental Futsal Cup 2018: The ChallengersPart 1: Futsal EliteReport by Steve Harris - Futsal Japan


An Unlikely Challenge from the USA

Though the United States national team has almost disappeared from the world map of futsal, CONCACAF will be represented at the WIFC by an American team called Elite Futsal. Elite Futsal were runners-up in the 2017 CONCACAF Club Championship after being beaten on two late goals by Costa Rica’s Grupo Line Futsal, a team that was either disbanded or penalized (depending on who you talk to).

So Elite Futsal won a berth at the confederation club championship that starts next week in Bangkok, Thailand. Impressive for an American team? Yes, but this is a team with a very Brazilian flavor. Head coach David Januario played futsal professionally in Brazil, where he made impressive friends such as former Brazil international and futsal legend Vinicius Teixeira. Vinicius joined Elite Futsal for the 2017 US nationals and helped the team to the title.

Futsal Elite is good at winning both games and friends – and though they won’t be bringing Vinicius to the WIFC, they will have two powerful additions. David Januario tells the story: “We liked what (Grupo Line players and Costa Rica internationals) Milinton Tijerino and Diego Zuniga did at the CONCACAF tournament. We talked a little bit with them at the airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the day we left the tournament and invited them to come and play for us at the US National Championship this year as guest players. Milinton came and did great! Zuniga could not come, as he had prior commitments. But they are both ready to play for us at the WIFC.”

Vinicius with Elite Futsal (Photo courtesy: Utah Elite Futsal)





Utah + Brazil = Elite Futsal

Elite Futsal is known domestically as Utah Elite Futsal, but the “Utah” part of the name was not used at the CONCACAF Clubs nor will it be in the team’s name at the WIFC. Team owner Ray Fuchs, a Brazilian who has lived in the state of Utah for over 20 years, explains: “Since we started back in 2003, we have won five national titles, 10 over-35 titles and several youth titles. One year we took a total of 20 teams to the futsal nationals. It’s growing fast. Lots of kids. We had more than 600 teams in our leagues.”

The players who have represented Utah Elite Futsal at domestic national tournaments in the USA tend to be professionals in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) – the ice hockey version of football. For example, Brazilian-born Ricardinho Sobreira plays for the Milwaukee Wave, the former team US national team head coach Keith Tozer. According to Ricardinho, “All but three of the players of Utah Elite Futsal are Brazilian - and even those three speak Portuguese.”

Ray Fuchs is quite optimistic about Elite Futsal’s prospects at the WIFC: “We are looking forward to it. We understand that the best players in the world will be playing there so it will be very hard to advance, but our goal is to be competitive and advance to the second round. Many of our players play professional indoor so we feel like we have a chance.”


Ricardinho in action for Milwakee Wave (Photo courtesy: Milwakee Wave)




The Details

ELITE FUTSAL

Coaching Staff
David Januario (head coach)
Jefferson Novaes (assistant coach)
Saulo Davi (physiotherapist)
Leonardo Martins (athletic trainer)

Players

GKs
Danilo Da Silva
Eduardo Bragaglia

DFs
Thiago Goncalves
Jonatan Santos
Felipe Gonzalez
Juan Gonzalez

MFs
Ricardo Sobreira
Jonatas Melo
Diego Zuniga
Milinton Tijerino

FWs
Hewerton Moreira
Guilherme Da Veiga
Junior Alencar
Christopher Reyes


CONCACAF Futsal Club Champs highlights of Elite Futsal





CONCACAF Futsal Club Champs semifinal


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