Are you ready for some futsal?

With the weather finally starting to turn colder, soccer fields will soon become unplayable so the winter is the time for players to continue to improve on their ball control skills by playing the developmental game of futsal.

Having kicked off in 2010 with 24 teams, New York Futsal has grown. It enters its ninth season expecting nearly 200 youth soccer teams to register again under the umbrella of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association.

Part of the popularity of futsal is it only takes five to play.

The league kicks off Saturday, Dec. 2. The younger boys and girls will play at the Joan of Arc Elementary School on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Boys and girls Under-9 teams will compete on Sunday mornings, the U-10 boys and girls will be playing from noon to 3 p.m. with the U-11 boys and girls going from 3 to 6 p.m. and the U-12 girls playing Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m.

At the Tito Puente Education Complex in Spanish Harlem, Boys U-13 play Saturday mornings, Girls Under-13 Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. and Boys U-14 go from 3 to 6 p.m. On Sundays, Girls U-12 play in the morning, Boys-Under-12 play in games from noon to 3 p.m. and Girls U-14 and 15 play from 3 to 6 p.m. plus High School Girls Sunday afternoons. The Boys High School Division plays Saturday and Sunday nights from 6 to 8 p.m.

In a sign of the growth of the game, Tito Puente is the first school in New York City with permanent futsal lines on the gym floor.

New York Futsal also offers training at the Columbia Secondary School and the William T. Sherman School on the Upper West Side.

“Our training and development program has been amazing and it’s Under-7 through high school. Futsal Juniors now starts at Under-4 and it’s 3v3,” commented New York Futsal’s Leslie Hamer, who added that international futsal coach Maciej Woloszy is back with New York Futsal this winter.

Futsal promotes quality touches and ball control in tight spaces and players utilize those skills when they return to playing soccer outdoors. Many of Brazil’s best players ever such as Pelé, Zico, Socrates, Bebeto, Ronaldinho and Marta all played a version of futsal as children.

The registration fee per team is $1,600, which includes 10 weeks of league play and playoffs. If a family registers a child as an individual, the fee is $275 and New York Futsal puts the player on a team and gives him or her a uniform and a coach.

To register to play futsal this winter, log on to:


Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at