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Columbus Futsal adds a bit of flair to ‘The Beautiful Game’

Top futsal talent is among us in Central Ohio, and it’s time to take notice.

Columbus Futsal player Cade Remy dribbles around a Grand Rapids defender. Columbus won against Grand Rapids 6-4 on Saturday Night.
Sam Fahmi

If you are anything like me, when you talk to other people about soccer one of the main complaints you always hear is there “isn’t enough scoring.” Another one of my favorites is “the matches are too slow.”

Those excuses are no longer valid as “the beautiful game” takes on a whole different meaning in Central Ohio with Columbus Futsal.

Dante Garcia and Malissa Galiffo Garcia bring a variation of the global game to Columbus.

Futsal is a variation of soccer, but has subtle rule changes. The game is played on a hard court, smaller than a traditional soccer pitch, and usually takes place indoors. The game is played between two teams of five players aside counting the goalkeeper.

The game borrows a lot of subtle nuances from other sports like hockey, basketball and lacrosse. It’s easy to notice those nods when taking in a match.

Spectators can expect unlimited substitutions that occur on-the-fly, fouls and penalty shots. The rules are similar to the outdoor game, but different enough to keep things interesting for the casual observer.

Columbus Futsal carries some incredible athletes on its roster. Top to bottom, the team is loaded with talent.

Futsal in Central Ohio even attracted the attention of a former Major League Soccer player.

New England Revolution v Toronto FC Photo by Gail Oskin/Getty Images

Zak Boggs spent three years in MLS with the New England Revolution before heading to England for a scholarship to study cancer research at the University of Leicester. It was during this time he began to fall in love with futsal.

“I was over in England for a year on a scholarship. When I was there, I got into futsal and absolutely fell in love with it,” said Boggs. “You can’t really say any bad things about it, it’s amazing, faced paced, you get a lot of touches on the ball. There’s a lot of movement on and off the ball. That’s what it’s all about and it’s just exciting.”

Excitement is the perfect way to describe a game of futsal. On Saturday night Columbus beat Grand Rapids 6-4. Four of the five players on the floor for Columbus scored, including goalkeeper Ygor Talasca.

Talasca alone is worth the price of admission. He looks to get in on the scoring action frequently as he joins the team in the attacking area.

In addition to his attacking prowess, Talasca pulled off numerous acrobatic saves. He also assisted on a goal with a darting pass that found the head of Gui Karaoglan. The pivo touched the pass gently above the outstretched arm of the Grand Rapids goleiro for the score.

One thing that can’t go unnoticed is the abundance of young players in attendance at Columbus Futsal matches. Columbus boasts a healthy academy system and young players come out to support the pros.

Zak Boggs embraces the teaching role.

“It’s really cool for Columbus Futsal, because I know for Dante and for me especially we look at it as, there’s kids here watching and they’re learning how to play this game, so let’s show them how it’s done,” Boggs said. “I hope it’s the same thing with the MLS... I think this is soccer in its purest form.”

Boggs admits he is a little jealous of the kids in the academy system. “I wish I would have done it while I was a kid.”

You can catch Columbus Futsal in action on Feb. 3 when the team returns home against Chicago at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Columbus Futsal website or at the door. Fans of the beautiful game with appreciate this football with flair.