Archive for Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Recreation programs to offer indoor soccer in Tonganoxie

January 10, 2007

New indoor soccer leagues soon will be available in Tonganoxie.

The Tonganoxie Recreation Commission will be offering a futsal league this winter to third- and fourth-graders, while Unlimited Fitness will offer the league for preschool through high school-aged youths.

The game, which is played in gymnasiums, uses the same boundaries as a basketball court, with goals that are 3 meters wide and 2 meters tall.

According to the futsal Web site, www.futsal.com, the sport's origins can be traced to Paraguay in the 1930s. The term futsal is an international term used for the game, a combination of the Spanish or Portuguese word for "soccer," futbol or futebol, and the Spanish word for "indoor," salon or sala.

"If you can coach soccer, you can coach futsal," TRC director Gayle Parker said. "People will freak out a little with a new name, but it's soccer."

The recreation commission likely will begin its league Jan. 27 or Feb. 4 and play its third- and fourth-grade games, which will be co-ed, at the new middle school gymnasium. The registration deadline is Friday.

Unlimited Fitness, which will play its games in the former junior high gymnasium, now the Tonganoxie High School west campus, offers several levels of play. Games will begin Jan. 27 and will be played on Saturdays through Feb. 24. The registration deadline is Jan. 19.

Preschool through fourth-graders will have 20-minute instruction and practice before their games and will be co-ed. Fourth through eighth grade will have separate boys and girls teams, if enough youths register. High school teams will have separate boys and girls teams.

Tiffany Parker, special programs director at Unlimited Fitness, said that when she worked with youth recreation in Lawrence, she coordinated a futsal league there.

"Basically I know that the outdoor program with parks and rec is pretty successful," Tiffany Parker said.

And, with the Tonganoxie High School soccer program beginning its first season in the spring, she thought futsal would be a good program to offer them.

"We just want to offer the girls a chance to get in and play before they start their season," she said.

Unlimited Fitness also is trying to attract youths from other area schools, such as McLouth and Basehor-Linwood.

Tiffany Parker, who worked in youth recreation for roughly nine years, started at Unlimited Fitness in the fall. She also has coached THS volleyball with her husband, Brandon, since 2001.

"We did preschool through second grade before Christmas," Tiffany said about Unlimited Fitness. "And now we're trying to do futsal. We're trying to keep kids active."

Gayle Parker said that Ken Mark, recreation board chairman, noticed recently that Lawrence had a futsal league and asked the recreation commission to look into starting a league in Tonganoxie.

Gayle Parker said that fifth- and sixth-graders currently are playing in TRC basketball leagues. In the fall, when the third- and fourth-graders start are playing basketball, Gayle hopes to have fifth- and sixth-graders playing futsal.

"Soccer is such a big sport here in town that people really seem to enjoy it," he said. "It's a good aerobic exercise for kids."

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