Amanda Katz and Jose Cedeno of DUSC at the C.J.S.L. Girls Indoor Futsal Tournament.
Village girls teams give it their all at futsal tourney
By Judith Stiles
The Greenwich Village girls went over the river and through the woods all the way to Marine Park in Brooklyn. They skipped old Grandmas house, as they headed straight for the annual Girls Indoor Futsal Tournament for a fun-filled day of glorious soccer. In fact, even a couple of grandmas hotfooted out of the house over to the Aviator Sports Complex to cheer on their granddaughters, lamenting the fact that when they were young, sports leagues for girls did not exist.
Just six years ago, the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League had a paltry four teams for girls. However, this year 30 teams registered for this gala event, which included more than 50 girls from the Downtown United Soccer Club alone. The Demons, Devils, Bulldogs and Warriors were the well-chosen, rather unladylike names for the teams from DUSC, names that perfectly suited their fast-paced play and aggressive approach to the game.
Two of the DUSC teams earned a place in the semifinals. Competing against teams from the five boroughs and Long Island, the DUSCies racked up enough wins and points after four games to qualify for the playoffs. The matches were played with five girls on the court, plus one goalie, and all the girls easily made the adjustment to playing on a slick wooden floor, with a smaller low-bounce ball, which is typical in futsal games. The courts were 50 feet by 100 feet with smaller 6-foot-by-10-foot nets at either end.
Two simultaneous games were played side by side, so in the semifinals, when fans wanted to cheer for DUSC, a lot of heads were darting back and forth, trying to follow both games. Coach Lule Dyasis Under-12 team put up a good fight against the girls from BW Gottschee of Queens, holding the score to a 1-1 tie, that drove the game into overtime. At the same time, coach Carly Burtons U-14 Warriors matched up against another mighty team from BW Gottschee, and with a scoreless tie, their game went into sudden death overtime as well.
Fingernails were bitten to the quick as the fans tried to follow two sudden-death games between two clubs that have had a long-standing good-natured rivalry.
Suddenly, in the U-12 game, with a minute left in overtime, Joyce Sheid of Gottschee scored, and DUSC was eliminated. This happened just moments before the crowd erupted with cheers during the U-14 game, when Brigette Barreto placed a beautiful penalty kick into the back of net, winning the game for the DUSC Warriors. The finals for the DUSC Warriors tuned out to be a simpler ride, as they handily beat the Kosmos of Brooklyn 3-0, with goals by Nadine Penkovsky, Kirsten Carroll and Barreto again. However, without fantastic saves made by DUSC goalie Simone Leitner, the win could have easily gone to Gottschee, whose players kept blasting hard shots at her at close range.
This all-girls tournament featured a free goalkeeping clinic and skill-building demonstrations given by older C.J.S.L. players Anna Torregiano, Maura McGinn, Erica Buonaquista and Hanna St. Marie.
During breaks between games, players attended a seminar given by Lainie Hodges, a mental-training counselor who specializes in coaching athletes from youth to professional levels. She gave these young women a blueprint on how to set short- and long-term goals for improving as players, as well as hot tips on how to communicate better with coaches.
Girls need a different kind of guidance than boys do in order to develop and become stronger players, said Coach Tom Giovatto, who successfully coached the U-17 team to win the region and qualify for two national championships.
If getting to championship games is a long-term goal, Hodges emphasized the importance of having a positive mental attitude. One simple suggestion she gave the girls was to wear a rubber band on the wrist and snap it a few times to stop the negative thoughts that can create low self-esteem. The idea is to snap the negative thoughts away. The DUSC girls scooped up a pile of rubber bands for a little snapping before the finals, but nary a snap was heard in the car ride home, as the sparkling first-place trophy rode shotgun with the Warriors, across the river and back to Greenwich Village.