GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - A new sport in West Michigan is gaining popularity: futsal. And soon, Grand Rapids could even be a franchise city for the first professional futsal league.
Futsal is like soccer, but futsal is typically played indoors on a hard surface. The field is smaller. The ball is heavier. The net is not as wide.
"It is a lot more stopping and controlling the ball," explains Andie Kriger, who is part of the first women's team in Grand Rapids. "It's a lot more technical then regular soccer."
Where soccer players use the inside and outside of their feet to stop the ball, futsal players use the bottom of their feet.
The game is fast-paced. Players sub in and out quickly and play short shifts like in hockey.
Fabian Rodriguez runs the ABK Futsal academy in Kentwood. "It's probably the fastest growing sport in the world," says Rodriguez.
It's growing by leaps and bounds in West Michigan. There are around 125 youth futsal teams, and every season another 25 are added. "We are adding a third men's team, and we are building a woman's program right now," says Rodriguez.
The big is news for futsal fans is that a new professional league is starting in the United States. Grand Rapids is currently in the running to get a franchise that would play at the DeltaPlex. Rodriguez says he will know for sure in a month.
For more information on futsal, you can go to http://www.latican.com/abkfutsalacademy.