Futsal is coming to North America, get ready.
A new league with high profile investors is looking to lure the top Futsal players over to the United States. Investors include NBA owners Mark Cuban and Jim Buss, and top soccer clubs such as FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Boca Juniors, and more.
Confirmed markets include New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, and Miami. Other cities across the country are in the works to get franchises with all cities under consideration having an NBA and NFL team [writers note: Atlanta meets that requirement guys]
From the sound of talks, it is a big deal:
"This is really uncharted territory," Donnie Nelson, General Manager of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, said to the Dallas Morning News.
"You are really creating the Magna Carta of a brand-new league. You find yourself sitting there looking around the room thinking, 'Wow, this is really historical-type stuff.'"
For those who do not know, Futsal is a variation of indoor soccer played 5 a side. It uses a smaller, weighted ball, and is played by most member associations of FIFA. The United States has a national futsal team, and they are ranked 39th in the world. Their best ever finish was second at the 1992 futsal world cup.
Now, you have to wonder, what will this prestigious Futsal league do for the growth of the sport and soccer in the United States? What if the league really catches fire and encourages our top athletes to take up the sport?
Stay with me here. What if one of those athletes was LeBron James?
Just imagine the world's best basketball player, currently, who is also one of the best athletes in the world playing Futsal. If we dropped Lebron into today's Futsal league he probably would not fare well, but what if he was playing Futsal his entire life? He could have been the best Futsal player there ever was.
Now on top of this, many soccer players use Futsal as a training, and play both sports. Each variation requires different technically different skill sets, and honing both makes you a better player of both sports. Now imagine a Futsal-dominant LeBron also excelling at soccer and donning the Stars and Stripes. Maybe, just maybe, with such a dominant player the United States could have shocked the world and made a World Cup Final, or even win one.
This argument rings hollow because it takes 11 gifted players to field a national team. But think, LeBron would not be the only athlete that was drawn to play Futsal with such a powerful league to cheer on. His friends, and by extension, hopefully, their friends will be interested as well. If you think real hard you can just see Chris Paul, James Harden, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Steph Curry playing Futsal. If they are playing Futsal, maybe they will play some soccer too.
And maybe, just maybe, we can win it all.
The unnamed professional Futsal league is expected to begin play in 2017. If you love American Soccer and/or LeBron James you should attend a game.