Futsal’s finest to hit the Jersey Shore

Photos:  Courtesy of Alan Ehrenworth

Northeast Futsal fans will convene on the Jersey Shore February 16-18 in Wildwood, New Jersey to watch 170 teams vie for a bid to Nationals. The Northeast Regional Tournament, sponsored by futsal’s governing body U.S. Futsal, is expected to draw players from over eight states and fans from around the region.

For the third year in a row, the Wildwood Convention Center will host the tournament that features both male and female athletes spanning several age groups. The youngest players will compete in the U-8 division, the oldest in National Open Men and National Open Women. Former professional indoor players as well as former college players are expected to compete in the Open Men category.

Teams from each division will compete for their winning titles in hopes of advancing to the National Tournament, scheduled for July 12-15 on the opposite coast in Anaheim, CA.


Futsal, known to some as five-a-side soccer, derives from the Portuguese word “futebol de salão,” which literally translates to “hall football.” While the sport’s name has foreign origins, its increasing popularity in the US is here to stay. Just ask Alan Ehrenworth, the Northeast Regional Tournament Director. “With U.S. Soccer getting behind futsal with the Academy System, it is only going to benefit the organization [MLS],” said Ehrenworth when asked on the future of futsal in the United States.


Play underway during last year’s tournament at the Wildwood Convention Center.

Futsal has accrued popularity in the US largely thanks to social media. Footage that went viral of a young Ronaldinho particularly showcased the speedier tricks and movements made possible by the indoor surface.

“It’s just a great game of skill and quick reflexes. It’s not boring. It’s an exciting game…the players come out so much sharper,” Erenworth added.

Fustal plays a 5 v 5 system, meaning the players on the basketball-sized court get a lot of time on the ball and a lot of practice trying to maintain possession on the slicker surface. For this reason fustal is often used as a developmental program for younger players as they are taught to both think and act quickly. 

The sport continues to gain momentum with Alex Para at the helm, who serves as U.S. Futsal’s President and C.E.O. A former soccer and futsal referee, today Para oversees the future of futsal in America where it’s a comparatively nascent federation, having begun in 1981. Seeking to catch up to the global competition, U.S. Futsal continues to promote the sport at home by labeling it ‘the way the world plays indoor soccer.’

Tournament Information

The tournament offers a large talent pool, with teams traveling from points as far away as New Hampshire and Virginia. A not-to-miss game pits the local Philly team AFA against Denison Cabral FA, the Maryland-based team led by former professional indoor player Denison Cabral, scheduled for Sunday, February 17, at 4:50 P.M.

Fans can expect to be impressed because according to Ehrenworth, this sport can’t disappoint: “If you can play, you will get noticed. People that are out there want to play…and if you aren’t good, you can’t be hidden. You really have to be on your A-game…that’s why when teams come they are all really good. Teams with good players thrive for the sport.”

Fans interested in attending the tournament should be prepared to pay a entry fee ($10 per day or $20 for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). Seven futsal courts will be set up in one area of the Convention Center.

For more information on the tournament, head to the Northeast Regional Tournament website here. Fans heading to the tournament this weekend can download the schedule here.



  1. Thanks for reporting this. CU there! My son’s AFA team won last year the U15 division and hopes to win the U16 one this year! His coach plays on the AFA team you mention, and the game you mention is not to be missed!!!

  2. It was a great event.

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