By Marissa Chamberlain, Contributing Writer
UMF students and Farmington community members team up and face off in a futsal league on Friday nights at the Farmington Community Center. Futsal, a game similar to indoor soccer, was eliminated from the list of intramurals put on by the FRC this year due to unsportsmanlike conduct.
According to Seth Noonkester, a UMF grad who currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Parks and Recreation Department for the Town of Farmington, the futsal league was created last year. There are eight teams made up of 7-12 players and each player pays a $10.00 registration fee. The season consists of eight regular season games through the months of February and March with playoffs and a championship game the first Friday of April. The champions get their names engraved on the Rec’s Futsal League Trophy and custom jerseys to wear during the next season.
“The Farmington Parks and Rec Futsal League is a great opportunity for adults who have experience or a desire to play soccer during the winter months,” said Noonkester. “What really makes the league so successful are the players in the program. We got lucky to have such a high energy and fun group of players.”
Not only is the futsal league a fun activity for Farmington community members, but many UMF students are enjoying the competition as well. “The Farmington Rec Department welcomes anyone to be part of our programs,” said Noonkester. “We currently have around 15 to 20 UMF students playing in our Futsal League this year alone.”
“The futsal league is such a great gig,” said UMF junior Sarita Crandall, who is also an employee at the Farmington Community Center. “Before teams are picked there is two Fridays of just pick up so you get to know all the players really well and make friends with people in the community that are your age or 20 years older than you.”
“I play field hockey for UMF but I always have so much fun with soccer, especially indoor,” said Crandall. “I’ve played indoor soccer since I was in middle school and really enjoy it even though I can’t ball handle to save my life.”
Dave Zeliger, a member of the Farmington community and a player on team Comeback Kids, said it was because of his kids that he got involved with the futsal league. “Figured it would be fun, a good workout, maybe help me to be a better coach and give my kids a chance to watch their father play for a change,” said Zeliger. “They are horrified by my play.”
Zeliger explained he is happy to have UMF students participate in the league. “Mostly, it’s no different than playing against anyone else, although they are younger, fitter and more skilled,” said Zeliger. “I admire their ability and their presence clearly elevates the level of play.”
Both Crandall and Zeliger said that unsportsmanlike conduct has not been an issue in the league. Crandall said the referee is very active in shutting down any potential problems.
“I actually think that the UMF students have been respectful and considerate playing against the variety of ages and skill levels of the community players,” said Zeliger. “Most of the UMF players really seem to get it.”
The Farmington Parks and Rec Dept. hosts many activities for children and adults at the Farmington Community Center. The Community Center is free and open to the public Monday through Friday and offers a full size basketball court, batting tunnel, and bouldering and rock climbing walls. Noonkester describes the community center as a “hidden gem” in the town of Farmington.
UMF students who want to get involved can visit the Community Center or like their facebook page at www.facebook.com/farmingtonrec.