Columns Otto Orf
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I am a proud member of the futsal cult and I profess that…

Otto Orf is a former US National Team goalkeeper and current assistant coach of the US Men's Futsal Team. He manages a futsal arena, owns the 3,000 player Great Lakes Futsal league directs Heart And Sole Futsal Academy and has started the small business FutsalFactory.com

In his exciting debut column, he sets the table with a little background on himself and a perspective on future contributions. 

 

 

 

Six degrees of separation. A 1990’s movie title and a phrase often heard when those in the soccer world speak of their network of connections. I must agree with the premise and I have witnessed this truth many times in my own life. I owe most of my best friends to this powerful shared bond. Teammates, opponents, coaches, managers from past and present. Whenever a few are gathered with a beverage in hand, the conversation begins to flow, a name comes up and the game is on. Sometimes it’s a player, but it might be a semi-pro team that paid in cash in the backroom after the match, a unique shot of liquor at a casino Portugal or some late-night street meat you shouldn’t have eaten in Central America. The more obscure the connection the more magnetic the attraction. This is a different kind of world wide web and the domain that those with a passion for soccer live in.

Within this community exists a subset of hyper-fanatics. A group that religiously follows a mutant version of the beautiful game. This faction has split from and their brethren. They consume this game and devote their lives to teaching and preaching the values of futsal. 

Hello, my name is Otto and I have a futsal problem.

I am a proud member of the futsal cult and I profess that…

Soccer is to fiat currency as futsal is to Bitcoin! 

The allure of the soccer community may be as widespread and constant as the tides but the attraction of futsal is more like that of a black hole. Attend one futsal match in a packed Spanish arena and there is no retreat from the event horizon. You have been caught in the futsal tractor-beam and it will relentlessly draw you in.

Smaller and much more intense in so many ways, futsal is the evolution of soccer before our eyes, an X-Games version of the game for the 21st Century fan. The tempo of the game is frantic. The transition game is lightning quick. Defensives are aggressive. Offenses are strategic, coordinated and deadly. The personality of the game is like a Martin Garrix mix, upbeat and relentless.

While futsal is credited with helping to produce many of the world’s greatest creative outdoor talents the game on its own merits has built legions of fanatic supporters around the world. The passion has escaped the packed arenas of Brazil and has breached the borders of South America infecting Europe and beyond. The spread sliced through the Middle East drove throughout Asia and has splashed all over Oceania. The masses have been exposed to the virus, the infection is spreading and there will be no vaccination.

My futsal journey began as a member of the US Futsal National Team competing against Costa Rica, Mexico and cold war rival Cuba in the first Concacaf Championships, Guatemala 1996. Later that year at the World Cup in Spain I observed futsal’s holy trinity, Choco, Tobias and Fininho, in my opinion, a trio beyond compare to this day. Fast forward to Spain 2010 where, on tour with a devoted group of American futsal coaches I brushed elbows with the man who transformed the game on the court and in doing so became a Spanish legend, Mr. Javier Lozano.

And how did it come to be that I would meet and share the same floor with the man whose video clips I used for more than a decade to promote the game to American soccer families and coaches. This force of nature is Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali and Pele rolled into one. A powerful, creative and undeniably beautiful force he is the futsal worlds icon and Brazils #12, Falcao.

>> Falcão, Futsal God

The more recent chapters of my futsal journey are highlighted by befriending Diego Giustozzi Argentina’s game-changing coach on the night he became a World Champion in Cali, Colombia and assisting an American futsal prophet as he led a band of inexperienced female Trinbagonian warriors in futsal’s first installation at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos, Aires 2018.

It was the soccer world that introduced me to futsal. But then futsal seduced me and left me addicted. I remember soccer fondly but have left it behind to chase my new dragon. Imagine, an addiction to something so creative, so powerful and so emotive that you have no desire to look back and no want for a cure.

This is the realm of the futsal community.

I have been extremely fortunate in my life. I was given the gift of athletic ability and taught the power of perseverance and a strong work ethic from my parents. I chased my dream, made many amazing friends that believed in me, shared their knowledge and gave me an opportunity.

I am thankful that my journey continues and honored to contribute to the FutsalFeed community.

My tales tell of things I have seen, learned and experienced since my introduction to the game with the ball that doesn’t quite bounce.

So, from a locker room, a spectators seat or a small cafe somewhere out in the futsal world, I look forward to sharing my perspective with you and hope you enjoy coming along for the ride.

Sincerely,

Otto Orf

Otto Orf is a former US Futsal National Team goalkeeper and current assistant coach of the US Men’s Futsal Team. 

>> Otto Orf: The Futsal Revolution in the U.S. is already happening

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Otto Orf

Columnist

Otto Orf

Columnist

Otto Orf is a former US Futsal National Team goalkeeper and current assistant coach of the US Men’s Futsal Team. He manages a futsal arena, owns the 3,000 player Great Lakes Futsal league directs Heart And Sole Futsal Academy and has started the small business FutsalFactory.com. You may reach him at otto@futsalfactory.com.