MOUNT VERNON — Many international soccer stars developed their skills with a variation of the sport known as futsal.
Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are just a few notable names that consistently tout the game as instrumental in their early development.
The Cedar Rapids Rampage wish to introduce the sport to eastern Iowa, while serving a local non-profit organization.
“Futsal is a very fast type of game,” said Hewerton Moreira, who will coach and play for the Rampage in a professional futsal exhibition match against the Kansas City Cyclones Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Small Multi-Sport Center at Cornell College. “It is very similar to basketball because it is played four-to-four plus a goalkeeper, so it’s pretty much five-to-five. It’s a fast game.”
Five dollars from every ticket will be donated to the Cedar Rapids Power Soccer Association, which combines wheelchair users with a power wheelchair specifically designed to adapt to the game of soccer. Power soccer is considered the fastest-growing sport for power wheelchair athletes.
“All of those people, they fell in love for soccer,” Moreira said. “They love soccer and the way they play soccer, it’s amazing. For being disabled and also love the sport and try to be a part of it, for me it’s just beautiful. … We got touched about the cause, and we want to do anything and everything we can do for them to continue.”
Rampage players Phibo Arriaga, Sam Guernsey, Bobby Hurwitz, goalkeeper Alexis Apodaca and former Cedar Rapids Washington and Coe College player Jacob Johnson are expected to compete for Cedar Rapids. The Kansas City Cyclones compete in Major League Futsal.
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Futsal originated in Uruguay in 1930 and the Cornell hardwood basketball floor is a typical playing surface both in size and texture. The goal measures six-by-10 feet, and the ball differs from a traditional soccer ball.
“It’s a low-bounce ball,” Moreira said. “It’s a little smaller with low bounce so the ball is always on the ground. ... A lot of skills are involved in the game in order for you to be able to develop a player. It is a higher-score game as well, so I believe that this game fits perfect for not only Iowa, but for the United States.”
Rampage indoor coaches Mark Litton and Tony Shelby will assist Moreira with coaching duties.
“You’re going to be able to come and see great plays, a lot of goals, amazing defense and goalkeepers making amazing saves,” Moreira said. “But also, people there are going to be able to help a good cause.”
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