From Charlotte Futsal to the National Team
Charlotte futsal has been growing, and the competition is increasing. CLT Futsal teams have played and won at Nationals. Now, though, we’re proud to announce three of our players have also been selected to play for USYF national team.
The U.S. Youth Futsal International Teams “are selected via the Futsal I.D. program. They are comprised of the very best futsal players in the entire country.” For the 2019 event in Barcelona, Spain, the “very best” includes CLT Futsal’s own Landon Alepa, Jeanette Fieldsend, and Noah Sari.
Before even making the National team, these three players had to qualify for the National tryouts in Kansas via a regional tryout. Jeanette decided to challenge herself by going to the Minnesota tryouts to compete in a different player pool. Landon did this in Florida.
Even staying here in the Charlotte area, the winter tryouts were a different experience for Noah. The challenge was playing with new people with different coaching, he said. “I din’t know what they were going to do.”
When they found out they qualified for the Kansas tryouts in July, these three Charlotte futsal players were “ecstatic” and determined to do their best.
“I still knew there was more work to be done before the national tryouts, so I put my mind to it and worked hard,” Jeannette said. She practiced with her futsal ball daily in addition to her club training.
For Noah, the opportunity to play nationally led to additional training time and playing up with older kids. “It was a lot faster and they are a lot bigger so it was harder to dribble past anyone,” Noah said. But the preparation helped. “It gave me more experience playing.”
Tackling the National Tryout
For Jeannette, 14, the National tryouts were familiar. “This was my fifth year trying out for the national team. I tried out because it is a very unique sport and it’s an honor to represent my country,” she said.
The only change for her was that she was training with girls at the tryouts. Otherwise, she said, “the practice and training was the mostly the same. We worked on the same rotations as we do at CLT futsal.”
Noah and Landon, both 11, were a little more surprised by the number of kids and coaches at the Kansas venue. Landon admits he was “really trying not to be nervous.”
It was a big change. “At regionals some of the kids were OK,” Noah said. “Mostly at Nationals there were better players.”
Still, Landon said it was a “great feeling knowing that you are at national IDs trying out for the US. I felt like it was an honor to get selected, and I couldn’t get in without my parents and my coaches who taught me.”
Our three players said they felt well prepared for the tryouts. “There are a lot of good players on CLT Futsal and they helped me get better,” Noah said.
The tryout involved technical drills to start. For the scrimmage days, the futsal courts were lettered from A to D. The goal was to make it on to the A court. That was where the players who would get selected for the team were being observed.
All three made it to the top court, but had to leave Kansas not yet knowing if they had made the final cut to play in Barcelona.
Charlotte Futsal Reps the US
Jeanette was thrilled to get an email informing her she’d made the USYFNT. She looks forward now to meeting her new teammates and coaches and playing with them in Spain.
Noah’s first question was whether his friend Landon also made the team. Landon, meanwhile, is grateful Noah made the team too. “I know what foot he is and how I can pass to him,” Landon said.
Now these three players can look forward to going to Barcelona this December to first practice for a few days with the team and then compete against international teams.
Landon says it is a little challenging not knowing how good the other teams are going to be. Yet, he plans to focus on preparing himself for each game and “hope for the best.”
Noah, for one, is confident. “We have a good chance of winning the tournament,” he said. "We have some of the best players from the nation playing with us.”
Happily three of them are CLT futsal players. Forgive our pride.