U.S. Takes Four Nations Title
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The U.S. Men’s Futsal Team began to build toward the next FIFA Futsal World Cup last week as a squad including nine MISL standouts and coached by the Milwaukee Wave’s Keith Tozer swept through the Four Nations Tournament in Newcastle, England. The side, which included players such as All-MISL selections Nelson Santana of the Syracuse Silver Knights, Pat Healey of the Baltimore Blast and Nick Vorberg of the Milwaukee Wave, took victories against England, Malaysia and Poland to start the building process off on the right foot.
“It was very important that we needed to get some wins,” Tozer said. “We knew that as a team, we knew that with the initiatives going on with Futsal in the country at all levels, with U.S. Soccer now stamping that as going to be part of the youth development, everything falls back away from the national team’s success, similar to what the outdoor team does.”
The United States edged out a 2-1 victory against England behind a pair of goals by Kraig Chiles, and then got a five-goal game from the Baltimore Blast’s Machel Millwood to defeat Malaysia 8-1. After the side’s struggles to find the net in last year’s CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, building the team’s confidence in front of net was a pleasing aspect of the tournament for Tozer.
“It’s really important for us,” he said. “Everything in life is all about confidence, and being a goal-scorer in Futsal, or football, you have to have that confidence and I think when we started scoring, we believed in ourselves, we believed in each other, and I think that was the rallying cry.
“It was great that we put up some points, we needed to, and it’s definitely a confidence booster for the rest of us.”
The confidence was helped by the brief three-day camp that convened in Milwaukee prior to the tournament. With two sessions a day, with training in the morning and full-side scrimmages in the evening that saw Wave players such as Luan Oliveira, Hewerton and Marcio Leite join the squad, the team was able to develop chemistry that showed particularly in a 4-2 win against Poland to win the tournament in its final game.
Tozer hopes that the squad will be able to take its experience from the past week and apply it when the next round of World Cup Qualifying arrives in 2016.
“We talked about the three-game tournament, similar to CONCACAF Qualifying for the World Cup,” Tozer said. “The first game is the most important, not only in getting three points but also what it does for your confidence and sets you up for further victories, and that victory against England, the host country, really did that for us so I was extremely pleased with the results. Most importantly, the guys came in really good shape, which I was really happy about, and they all played well.”
Next up for the squad is, potentially, a tournament in Poland this November. After its impressive display in England, the Polish Federation extended an invitation to compete, something Tozer is hoping his side will be able to take advantage of.
“You normally don’t get invited to too many tournaments if you don’t show well, and we were invited by Poland, who are a very, very good Futsal team,” Tozer said. “They invited us in November; I’m hoping the federation will say we can go. I think this team needs a minimum of three trips a year, probably four would be the best, every three months, so now I’ll send my report to U.S. Soccer and get ready for the Wave summer camps.”