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THEORY OF CHANGE

Futsal is the Solution

The first public school futsal court in the United States, built by the American Futsal Foundation.

History Shows Us The Way Forward


“Futsal was born out of a need. We didn’t have a place to play, so we created a way to play in a smaller space. We created a game that enhanced technique, without violence, and we formed a team for America. The President liked the idea and decided to invest in us. And like America, other teams followed us. On July 28, 1954, the Carioca Federation of Futebol de Salao was founded inside a small café. We needed it – to create official championships, register players, organize our sport. Shortly after founding this Federation in Rio de Janiero, futsal had grown to the point of becoming the 2nd most practiced sport in the city.”

 

These words describe the genesis of futsal in Brazil. Futsal was created by common people in search of a simple solution to a community’s problem. With a need to get their youth off of the streets and into an organized sports activity that children would love to play, grassroots pioneers created the infrastructure that would produce some of the greatest and most entertaining talent the world had ever seen.


The American Futsal Foundation seeks to create for our youth this same infrastructure in North America that has existed for generations in South America. We have the same needs here today that they had some 66 years ago in South America, and we have the resources to realize the same solution. The American Futsal Foundation has been formed to create the infrastructure necessary to reach new players, to teach futsal to children, families, and coaches, and to provide organized and regular competitions from grassroots to international championships.

To achieve our goal, the American Futsal Foundation provides the necessary design-planning and funding to integrate futsal into the public-school infrastructure. Billions of dollars' worth of taxpayer-funded facilities exist that are in need of rehabilitation. Our facility improvements not only expand their use and functionality, but also make them safer places for children to enjoy all indoor sports - including Futsal.

Futsal combines attributes from many different disciplines including handball, basketball, and soccer to create a wonderfully unique sport of its own but does so without favoring physical traits such as height or speed. Futsal's small court space and incredibly fast pace make it both enjoyable to play and entertaining to watch. Futsal truly is a sport for everyone! 

I. Target Population


          • Kindergarten through 8th grade at-risk students enrolled in public schools

          • ‘Alt-athletes’ of all sizes and gender


          • Athletes held back due to financial constraints


          • Athletes seeking to explore and develop new talents

II. External Context

 

     A. Youth Health – Declining Activity


          • 300% increase in adolescents affected by obesity


          • 1 in 5 school-aged children in the US suffers from obesity


          • Physical inactivity and obesity are risk factors for cancer, heart disease, stroke,                   joint and bone disease, and depression

         

          • $66 billion per year increase in combined medical costs associated with treating                preventable, obesity-related diseases


          • $580 billion annual loss in economic productivity due to obesity- related diseases


          • 24% of children aged 6-17 engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per               day, down from 30% in 2008


          • Girls across all races and ethnicities are likely to be less active than boys


          • 20% of girls are meeting the CDC’s daily physical activity recommendation


     B. Youth Sports – Declining Numbers


          • 38% of children aged 6-12 played a sport on a regular basis in 2018, down                     from 45% in 2008


          • Children aged 6-12 in households with income < $25,000 are half as likely to
             play sports on a regular basis as those from households with incomes >
             $100,000


          • 63% of children from low-income families (incomes under $50,000 annually) are
             shut out from competing in after-school sports


          • There are far fewer after-school athletic programs available for girls than boys

          • 25% of parents with annual incomes <$50,000 say that their daughters do not
             participate in organized sports due to lack of sports offered in their community


          • 35% of US Americans are racial minorities, and only 19% of female college
             athletes are minorities

     C. Youth Sports – Increasing Costs


          • $17 billion a year is spent on youth sports


          • 400% increase in total spending 10 years


          • 25% increase in total number of recreational players in 10 years


          • 300% increase in the cost per recreational player in 10 years


          • Real Estate development is near all-time highs 


          • Wall Street-backed entities are capitalizing on the youth sports boom


          • Affluent private clubs are merging to form multi-million-dollar conglomerates


     D. Youth Sports – Effects of Professionalization


          • 36% increase in total number of elite players in 10 years


          • 257% increase in the cost per elite player in 10 years


          • The average child spends less than 3 years playing a sport and quits by age 11,
             usually due to lack of enjoyment


          • The highest source of pressure that a child feels comes from coaches


          • Families are spending $150 per hour and more than $10,000 per year for
             private sports training for their children


          • By middle school, team sports are dominated by athletes who have received
             professional training


          • Youth who perceive their physical competence as not as good as their peers are
             more likely to choose to become sedentary

III. Activities


          • Create safe spaces to play for kindergarten through 8th grade public school
             children


          • Provide training for public school physical education instructors


          • Offer instruction to all middle school students


          • Organize inter-scholastic competition among school clubs


          • Establish regular league play and tournaments for youth players


          • Partner with local communities and global entities to foster futsal’s self-sustained
             growth for youth players


          • Obtain state-wide approval for futsal as a sanctioned athletic sport in all public
             schools

IV. Medium-Term Outcomes

 

     A. Create – Regional Framework


          • $200,000,000 of existing infrastructure rehabilitated in Orange County, Florida
             to accommodate futsal


          • 32 middle school futsal clubs established


          • 16 after-school futsal programs established at feeder elementary schools


     B. Reach – Students and Families


          • 50,000 children introduced to futsal


          • 800 public middle school students receiving professional instruction


          • 1,000 public elementary school students presented with futsal


          • 3,000 local community children receiving professional training and participating
             in friendly competition


          • “FootStart™ Program” lecture series to invite families with children age 7 and
             younger to learn about futsal’s benefits and to teach the importance of positive 
             player reinforcement at home

V. Long-Term Outcomes


     A. Create – National Replication


          • School gymnasiums rehabilitated and adapted to house the fastest-growing indoor
             sport in the nation


          • System-wide public-school implementation of futsal for children of all ages


          • Futsal’s many benefits help to alleviate the health crisis facing our youth


     B. Reach – School Systems


          • 1,000,000 children playing futsal


          • State school systems adopt futsal as a sanctioned sport for interscholastic
             competition


          • Elementary, Middle, and High School Clubs and Teams


          • State, regional, and national championship tournaments


          • Collegiate-level futsal teams offering scholarships to players


     C. Unify – Futsal: The Solution


          • Futsal has its own governing body that unifies all futsal players


          • Futsal is recognized as an independent sport with unique identifying
             characteristics and benefits


          • Futsal is the sport for all children to improve their physical and mental health, form
             lasting friendship bonds, acquire athletic skill, and achieve competitive goals


          • Futsal provides life-long benefits, improving the overall health of a nation


          • Futsal is The Solution

VI. Assumptions


          • Utilizing the existing school infrastructure is the most efficient means of effecting
             change – we can start playing futsal immediately with low costs


          • National governments have implemented school-wide futsal programs with great
             success


          • Ireland’s FAI Primary Schools Futsal Programme reached more than 20,000
             students in a 3-month period, with a 49% female participation rate


          • Futsal is the ideal sport for all children to play and it is currently played by
             millions of children throughout the world


          • Futsal is a game of speed and skill for everyone that rewards style and teamwork
             over size and physicality


          • Futsal is both an aerobic and anaerobic activity that strengthens muscles,
             increases bone mass density, and develops cognitive problem-solving skills


          • Futsal players’ heart rates are at 80-90% of maximum during play, with 10-15%
             of the time playing spent at the highest level of aerobic exercise


          • Futsal players can see a 20-25% improvement in fitness test scores after 3-6
             months of regular play, while perceived exertion is lower than running alone


          • Studies have shown that the futsal format is better for improving fitness than any
             other sport, including swimming and cycling


          • The Journal of Human Kinetics, the Center for Disease Control, the National
             Academy of Sciences, Movement Science and Sports Psychology, the Institute for
             Study of Youth Sports, the Cruyff Foundation, The Talent Code, the Aspen Institute,
             and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition have all published
             research and/or support for futsal’s direct and indirect benefits


          • Futsal is a sport with its own unique characteristics, rules, and benefits that should
             not fall under any other sport’s governance


          • Futsal does not currently have a governing body that is focused on localized
             support and development


          • Regular participation and competition are requirements for sport growth


          • Youth sports grow to self-sustaining levels when players, coaches, volunteers,
             parents, and community are safely and uniformly organized to achieve the same
             goal


          • Futsal is a mainstream sport with “Alt-Sport” characteristics


          • Futsal will be adopted by state high school associations as an approved
             intramural, competitive sport