Alaska Youth Soccer (AYSA) is excited to kick off the fifth year of the Alaska Futsal League (AFL). AFL is an Alaska Youth Soccer-run umbrella program offering statewide high-level futsal instruction, league games, coach, and referee development.
The AFL 2021 Session will consist of a seven-game session that will be played throughout Alaska from 10/19/21-11/21/21, generally on Saturdays and Sundays, and open to recreational and competitive AYSA members. Team rosters will be set as Min Roster: 6 players, Max Roster: 11 players. Format: 5v5 (4+GK).
For the 2021 season, AFL will schedule games in Anchorage and Ketchikan. Additional games may be scheduled in alternate districts if team registration justifies the alternate location.
The AFL's goal is to maintain the integrity of the league and provide an opportunity for as many players as possible to play the game of Futsal. For the 2021 season, we ask that teams register within their true age. Teams that register outside of their age group while maintaining a true age roster will be moved to the appropriate division, unless they received approval for an AFL team waiver requesting to play up an age group. Rosters will be reviewed by the AFL committee to ensure that teams are placed properly to foster appropriate competition. Teams are not allowed to play down an age group. See the Age Group Chart for 2021-2022, which will apply for the next AFL season.
The league schedule will have games played Saturday and Sunday. No games will be played Nov 27-28, 2021.
Divisions must have at least four registered teams to be a valid division. AYSA reserves the right to drop or combine divisions or age groups. For the 16-U and older teams with mixed age groups, registration will be at the age of the oldest player on the roster.
Players, coaches, and teams must be currently registered under the AYSA umbrella and in good standing to be eligible to participate. All players and teams must be Alaska-based and residents to register for the league. The team entry fee is $400.
There will be competitive divisions for each year from U9 to U16, and a combined "HS" division for U17-U19. Divisions may be combined further depending on the numbers of registered teams.
The Game of Futsal
Futsal is a high-intensity, fast-paced, dynamic, and enjoyable 5-a-side version of soccer that caters to both male and female participants. It is the only 5-a-side game that is officially recognized by FIFA and is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
Futsal is played on a smaller, hard-court surface with a smaller, low bounce ball. It is played with touchline boundaries and without walls. Without the use of walls, futsal is a great skill-developer, demanding quick reflexes, fast thinking, and pin-point passing. Because of the smaller court size, all players are constantly involved and there is never a dull moment, as defense transforms to attack in a split second. The court size helps players develop close control, quick decision making, and speed and agility.
Futsal is played between two teams of five players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper. Unlimited substitutions are permitted. The surface and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity, technique and ball control and passing in small spaces.
Alaska Youth Soccer recognizes that the statewide Futsal league will serve as a venue and pathway for the state's youth soccer players to further develop their skills at all levels and ages while providing opportunities to become elite players at the state level along with the promotion of club development and growth.
The Futsal League will offer recreational and competitive levels for youth and cup-based competition while encouraging good sportsmanship and fair play of all the participants. Future plans include state-wide Futsal camp and clinic training opportunities for player development. There will also be an opportunity to apply for individual equipment grants to district clubs to assist with the development of their futsal programs.
The seven-week league provides Futsal game opportunities with a low-pressure schedule allowing teams to commit. The schedule allows for team practices and other team events. The Alaska Futsal State Cup Tournament will take place in December.
AYSA will be responsible for sanctioning the Alaska Futsal League (AFL) and Alaska Futsal State Cup Tournament. Alaska Youth Soccer Association will provide facilities insurance coverage for all AFL activities. We look forward to working with the clubs, teams, and players as we move forward to develop youth soccer statewide through futsal program opportunities.
Futsal in Alaska
AYSA was the recipient of the 2017 US Soccer Innovate to Grow Grant. AYSA developed and facilitated a statewide Futsal Program called the Alaska Futsal League (AFL) in 2017. The AFL would provide regulation futsal games in a league format for youth teams statewide, in a flexible environment where the game could be played indoor on a basketball court or outdoor on a tennis court or parking lot.
In 2017, AFL's first year, AYSA registered 36 teams, provided a futsal coaching clinic, futsal referee certification (5 refs), provided affiliate clubs futsal goals and balls, and facilitated an eight-week league of games in one location and provided a tournament.
In 2018, AYSA registered 70 teams, provided affiliate clubs futsal equipment, increased state participation to include two other district clubs, certified 30 futsal referees, and facilitated an eight-week league of games in three locations statewide and provided a futsal state cup tournament.
In 2019, AYSA registered 85 teams, increased state participation to include an additional two district clubs, certified 38 futsal referees and facilitated an eight-week league of games in three locations statewide and provided a futsal state cup tournament.
In 2020, AYSA registered 32 teams, decreased due to COVID-19 mitigation and travel restrictions, certified 15 futsal referees and facilitated a six-week league of games at one location in Anchorage and was unable to provide a futsal state cup tournament.
The success of the AFL program has led to all five districts providing a futsal platform within their own program; eight clubs currently have facilitated their own futsal program along with participating in the AFL program.
AYSA has recognized that the statewide futsal league has served as a new venue and pathway for youth soccer players to further develop their skills while providing opportunities to become elite players at the state level, along with the continued promotion of our affiliate clubs' development and growth.
The league offers recreational and competitive levels for youth and cup-based competition while encouraging good sportsmanship and fair play by all the participants. Future programs include state-wide futsal camps and clinic training opportunities for player development. AYSA offers a yearly opportunity to apply for individual equipment grants to district clubs to assist with the development of their futsal programs by supplying futsal balls and goals.
The seven-week league provides futsal game opportunities with a low-pressure schedule allowing teams to commit. The schedule allows for team practices and other team events. The Alaska Futsal State Cup Tournament will take place the first two weekends in December.
AFL COVID-19 Mitigation
In keeping with the Indoor Mitigation & Safety Guidelines for indoor soccer, Alaska Youth Soccer will adapt to work within the required mandates to ensure that we as a youth organization continue to offer safe programming for the athletes that desire normalcy. The AFL will adapt to all health and safety measures to ensure that we can proceed in offering this statewide program. The modified state league will offer a safe program dependent on current state and local mandates. The mitigation & safety guidelines are outlined for team, player, referee, and spectator safety. The facilities have been reserved. Currently we are not able to reserve ASD facilities, so we have limited availability on the weekends.
The league structure will accommodate the limited facility space by dividing the divisions into pods which will allow the same group of teams to play together safely over an adjusted time frame of a three-week timeline. The goal is to have the teams complete their seven games allowing minimal exposure risks and to enable AYSA to accommodate contact tracing efforts if needed.