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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 12:38 pm

Verbatim: Beasley in partnership to bring futsal to Packard Park

The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation issued this news release today:

Fort Wayne, IN: International soccer star and Fort Wayne native DaMarcus Beasley, the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department, and the Indiana Soccer Association announced their partnership to build Fort Wayne’s first public, small-sided “futsal” soccer courts. The Beasley Courts will be developed in Packard Park on the city’s south side by repurposing underutilized tennis courts there into small-sided soccer “futsal” courts for use by the community.

Futsal is a soccer-like game with roots in South America that is spreading in popularity across the United States -- especially in urban areas with limited space for traditional soccer fields. Futsal is very similar to traditional soccer, but is played with fewer players (often 4-5 per team) and is more fast-paced, placing an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique. Futsal courts are often located on smaller, hard-surface playing courts such as playgrounds, basketball gym floors and former tennis courts, as in the case of Packard Park.

DaMarcus Beasley grew up playing soccer with the Fort Wayne United Soccer Club and went on to play 19 years in 6 different countries. Beasley holds the honor of being the only American soccer player in history to compete in four World Cups for the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team. In providing this sponsorship for his hometown, Beasley explained, “Kids of all ages, backgrounds and neighborhoods deserve a chance to play soccer. I have great memories of playing in Fort Wayne growing up, and I’m hoping to help give other kids that same chance.” Beasley also played high school soccer for South Side High School just up the street from the new park project.

The Beasley Courts at Packard Park are being funded by Beasley, Indiana Soccer and the City of Fort Wayne, as well as a kick-start donation secured by the Homestead High School Boys Soccer Team. The Homestead team raised the initial $10,000 donation for the project. Groundbreaking for the Beasley Courts is scheduled in the coming weeks with an expected completion date in early June. A grand opening event is being planned for June on a date to be determined to accommodate Beasley’s professional soccer schedule with Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. Immediately upon completion in June, the Beasley Courts will be available for youth-focused organized summer futsal clinics being planned by the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department and for open play by the public, providing a free, fun opportunity for soccer for local residents, including the several hundred neighborhood children living in the vicinity of Packard Park.

Indiana Soccer Association, Inc., is an Indiana nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to serving the people of Indiana through the game of soccer and represents the largest youth sports organization in the state, with over 60,000 playing youth members. Through its Indiana Futsal Program, the first statewide futsal program of its kind in the United States, Indiana Soccer works with communities across the state to build inner city futsal courts in underutilized park facilities as the number of youth soccer players continues to grow throughout the state. ISA, Beasley and local youth soccer players are already in the process of planning future projects after the Packard Park project.