• Wednesday Sep 13, 2017

    Utah Elite Futsal looks forward to CONCACAF future

    Utah Elite Futsal players (white jersey) enter the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan court ahead of the CONCACAF Futsal Club Championship final against Grupoline Futsal on August 26, 2017, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

    SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Ray Fuchs had a feeling that Utah Elite Futsal would do well at the 2017 CONCACAF Futsal Club Championship, but he wasn’t quite sure how far it could progress.

    Perhaps somewhat surprisingly to observers at the competition that took place last month in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the United States champion made it all the way to the final, falling to Costa Rica’s Grupoline Futsal by a single goal, 5-4.

    It was at that point Fuchs realized Utah Elite could’ve lifted the trophy.

    “Not really,” Fuchs, who led the team delegation, told CONCACAF.com when asked if that level of success was anticipated. “Reaching the final was a great honor and a bit unexpected. Our initial goal was to reach the semis and have a shot to compete for the title, but the team performed really well all the up to the final.

    “If not for a player suspended and three injured, including some of our best players, it could have been a different outcome.”

    Utah Futsal had an unblemished record prior to the decider, ultimately returning home 4W-0D-1L, while scoring 25 goals and conceding 10.

    “I believe that our team gave it all and, given the circumstances with some of our best players out or injured, we did extremely well and almost took the cup home,” remarked Fuchs.

    Along the way, Utah Futsal set a tournament record for the most goals scored in a single CONCACAF Futsal Championship game on the strength of a 12-1 win over Guadeloupe’s FAX Futsal in the group stage.

    The squad was finely balanced, with no player finishing higher than a tie for fifth in the scoring table.

    Was that secret of its success?

    Maybe, but there was more to the productive formula.

    “There was great chemistry,” Fuchs stressed. “Our coach, David Januario, knows a lot about futsal and with his leadership and vision, when he put the final 12 together, we knew we could compete at a high level with any team in CONCACAF.

    “There was a high level of trust and respect among the players and the coaching staff that translated into the field. Another factor was the dedication of the players, which caused some injuries, but it energized the others.”

    Overall, Fuchs was delighted with the experience, calling Hewerton Moreira’s 20th-minute goal against Grupoline – which gave Utah Futsal a 3-2 lead in the final – as one of the trip’s best moments, also adding: “We enjoyed the hospitality in Honduras from both the locals in the tourism industry as well as the CONCACAF staff, which was very professional.”

    With an initial CONCACAF journey under their belts, Fuchs and Utah Futsal Elite are looking forward to earning a spot in next year’s competition.

    “(We’ll be) gearing up for U.S. Nationals next year and go at it again with more experience and a taste of the championship,” he finished.

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