Recognized around the world for its success in indoor sports such as university and basketball, a Brazilian has been instrumental in making America’s futsal a global power.
Recently, Santos player Heverton Moreira, a former indoor soccer player, became the coach of the United States futsal team. Excited about the prospect, the coach sees the country’s potential to develop and reach Brazil’s level.
To this end, Heverton is working to make futsal the most popular sport played in America by youngsters who now think more about field soccer.
– I see this potential (to become a powerhouse). I don’t think that will be the case in the future. It’s in the slightly distant future. But it’s like I told you: Americans, when they focus on something, do a much better job. All professional leagues like MLS have grown very quickly. Today, here is Messi – Heverton said.
Born in Santos on the coast of Sao Paulo, the former futsal player came to America at a young age to play.Indoor soccer“, which is similar to 7-a-side soccer in Brazil, but on an artificial field the size of a hockey field.
In Brazil, Heverton studied and at the encouragement of his father, who worked in a business, he started playing futsal. As fate would have it, he was spotted by a team from San Diego in the US.
– I was playing at Unims at that time and a coach from San Diego went to Brazil to play some games, which were similar to the games they have here. I went on the last day and a player who played with me, Santos, a futsal star in Paixada, couldn’t go and asked me why I didn’t go. And then the day happened when the ball hit everyone, and it was yours. I scored a lot of goals, the coach asked for my contact, tried to take me to San Diego – recalls Heverton.
Now the American coach came to the country in 2004. At that time, the sport was not much known there.
– Here in the US, futsal is not a professional sport, just a big sport. It focused more on indoor football. I stayed in San Diego, but the team folded in December. We were in the third or fourth month of the season and there were some issues with the former owner and the team ended. Players went to a draft and each team took a player – and it counted.
After spending a long time traveling around America playing for different clubs, Heverton left the court to become a coach. In 2023, he was invited to the country’s committee to lead the futsal nationalization program in the United States.
– Futsal has developed a lot and changed a lot in general around the world, right? I am happy to see how futsal has evolved in recent years. It’s incredible how you see teams that aren’t so relatable in field soccer do so well in futsal. Russia, Iran… all these teams are well represented. Portugal won the last football world cup. America has invested. We have invested a lot in futsal.
Brazil defeated Iran to win Futsal Nations Cup
The next step, Heverton believes, is to popularize the sport in the United States, creating a national league similar to MLS field soccer.
– We still don’t have a proper futsal league at the professional level like in Brazil, Spain, Portugal and Russia. But we are focused on having this representation in the game in the future as well. But we have grown a lot, thank God.
Now coach of the United States national team, Heverton is working to map the country’s talent to play elsewhere. For example, recently, he brought in two North Americans operating in Italy. There is also the default of players from other countries who don’t have much tradition in the game.
Another way is to look for talents in football that can also be used in futsal, thanks to their early training in the sport.
– Two of our players made it to the national team and played in Italy. There are players who play in field leagues. This is another way I evaluate players as many of them come from a futsal background. We will have plenty of room to scout these talents for Team USA. If our league does well in the future, it will give us this support – the coach said.
“Internet evangelist. Writer. Hardcore alcoholaholic. Tv lover. Extreme reader. Coffee junkie. Falls down a lot.”