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North Shore girls making mark on US Futsal scene - The Salem News
Friday, 06 August 2010 20:59
futsalwireThe Salem NewsWhen the members of the FC Blast U12 North Shore Futsal team first walked into the American Futbolito facility in Danvers the ...

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August 6, 2010 North Shore girls making mark on US Futsal scene By Dan Harrison staff writer When the members of the FC Blast U12 North Shore Futsal team first walked into the American Futbolito facility in Danvers the girls were novices, unknown to the sport.

Indoor soccer is one thing, but the five person lineups, faster pace, higher scoring and unusual substitutions had the girls wondering what kind of foreign game coach Jim McVey was trying to compel them to play.

Now, three years and countless hours of practice later, the girls are masters of their craft, capping off an undefeated season in their league with a perfect showing at the Northeast Regionals in Boston where they won the championship by a score of 6-2.

Futsal is a form of indoor soccer, very popular in Europe and South America, in which teams play five-on-five including the goalie, who becomes more of an offensive threat that can roam the whole field.

Substitutions are made on the fly, there are no throw-ins only kick-ins, and there are rarely any scoreless ties.

"It (futsal) looks like soccer, but plays more fast-paced like hockey or basketball," said McVey.

"Instead of running around for 10 minutes in which you may or may not touch the ball (like in soccer), in Futsal you have no choice, you're in it and you stay in it." The girls had to adapt, and quick.

But this group is not your ordinary collection of athletes, rather a different breed of tremendously versatile soccer players who were able to hone their skills to Futsal's up-tempo nature.

Offensively the FC Blast are led by Kerri Zerfoss (Peabody) and Sarah Hingston (Swampscott) who both netted early goals to lead the Blast in their championship win.

Along with Zerfoss and Hingston are the Charette twins (Boxford), Ally and Emily, who act as the team's spark plugs.

Their high energy style wreaks havoc on opposing defenders.

Abby Reblin (Topsfield) and Lexie McNinch (Beverly) are also dangerous offensive threats, Reblin with her lightning quick speed and her natural left foot while McNinch is tough-minded and an unparalleled threat around the net.

Then there are the elite defenders, Cassie Chin (Ipswich), Gabby DiSimone (Topsfield), Caroline Pantoliano (Boxford) and Katherine McVey (Boxford).

Chin and DiSimone are tremendous up-and-down players who cover the whole field for the Blast.

They also have tremendous leg power and are a threat to score from deep.

McVey and Pantoliano are lock-down defenders and are relied on heavily by goalie Taylor O'Connor (Danvers).

Due to its nomadic nature, the goalie position is the most complex in the game of Futsal.

O'Connor has tremendous vision and acts almost as the teams' quarterback on offense.

Back-up goalie Brianna Proulx (Boxford) uses her knowledge of the position to make herself a valuable defender when she isn't between the posts.

When needed, Proulx has the vision and the reflexes to be a more than formidable replacement whenever O'Connor isn't in goal.

All the members of the FC Blast are elite, outdoor soccer players in their respective towns but Futsal gives them and opportunity to work on other aspects of their game, like vision and ball-handling skills, without feeling over-whelmed by too much soccer.

"I would definitely recommend other coaches look at Futsal," said McVey.

"(Futsal) is great for ball handing, footwork and passing.