After each Columbus Futsal goal, it is tradition for the attending members of the youth academy to run down the sideline in celebration, many of them waving flags and all of them wearing their league jerseys.
The kids were tired just nine minutes into the game on Saturday evening in the gymnasium of New Covenant Believers Church as Columbus jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, including a hat trick by forward Gui Karaoglan. It can often be difficult to find time to rest while taking in a futsal match. Columbus alone averaged a goal every two minutes of play.
Columbus rode the early lead to a 20-9 victory over Cadence. Saturday marked the first ever meeting between the two teams. Subsitutes were an issue for Chicago, as it only had one substitution compared to Columbus’ seven. Columbus got back into the win column after a 17-9 road loss to the Ann Arbor Mudpuppies on January 27.
Columbus Futsul puts on a show on the hardwood. 20 goals in a match can be breathtaking, and a change of pace for any soccer fan. Small facets of futsal beg intrigue as well, such as rocket-like penalty kicks that seemed almost dangerous to everyone except Columbus goalkeeper Ygor Talasca.
Fast-paced to say the least, the game of Columbus seems to be built from behind by Talasca, a fan favorite. Futsal allows for long throws by the keeper, flipping the field at any given moment. On multiple occasions, Talasca stepped up and attempted a one-touch power shot on the opposing team’s net, scoring once.
Building out of the back as well, Columbus’ Zak Boggs brings defense and a story. Boggs spent three years in MLS with the New England Revolution before leaving for England and the University of Leicester, to study cancer research on scholarship. He now studies for eight hours a day and moonlights as a Columbus Futsal defender.
An Ohio native, Boggs enjoys playing in the city he often traveled to for soccer opportunities in his youth. Being watched by kids that are following in his footsteps is meaningful for the decorated soccer veteran.
“It’s good to have the kids there,” Boggs said. “That’s what’s so cool about it is that it’s such a grass roots thing. They make signs, they make it a good atmosphere. We try to make an event of it. Twenty goals is pretty sweet. We just wanted to show out for the fans.”
What drew Boggs to the game of Futsal later in his life is what now draws a younger generation to gyms around the country: speed and excitement.
“It’s fast-paced, it’s a thinking game, it’s strategy, it’s where you’re putting your pieces,” Boggs said. “It’s very technical, but it’s also very tactical with the movement and everything. It’s like a microcosm of soccer.”
Columbus Futsal CEO/Owner Dante Garcia should have a few more slashes in his title. Garcia coaches the first team, along with the youth academy. Not to mention the fact that he also plays. He spent the first half in street clothes coaching, while also running over to be the PA announcer after each of the many Columbus goals.
Garcia entered the game in the second half and, of course, scored a goal. He picks his spots on gameday, waiting for the right time to step in. He often needs to allow time for his mind to calm down after his many matchday duties before kick off. He’s a fan-favorite as well. What academy kid wouldn’t want to see a coach in action?
“It’s funny,” Garcia said. “There might be something slowing me down earlier in the day, and I just have to shake it off and get my mind clear for the game. I feel like a lot of the guys have a player mind coming into the game, so I just let them do their thing. If the game is calling me, then I go. It’s a natural thing.”
The youth players in attendance are the driving force behind Garcia the first team of Columbus Futsal. Garcia told the team earlier in the week that the kids were making signs and planning to bring drums for support. The team vowed to raise its level, and delivered with an 11-goal rout.
Garcia emphasized the importance of young players being able to see the level and tactics of the first team in order to improve and grow their own games. He believes that futsal is the foundation for skills in soccer, along with being a growing sport in its own right. Futsal is where flashiness meets fundamentals, and you have to see it to believe it.
“If you want to see the game in its purest form, the jogo bonito, the skill moves, everything, the YouTube highlights, come on out,” Garcia said.
Columbus will travel to Michigan for its next match against Grand Rapids ABK on February 10 at 7 p.m. before returning home on March 10 against the Ann Arbor Mudpuppies.