Futsal court is installed at Perry Elementary School
With the winter sports season picking back up, the talk of the town might reside on the hardwood or the wrestling mats but there is still conversation of sports on the outdoor front.
A structure was recently built behind the Perry Elementary School, bringing a new type of sport to Perry. The structure fits similar to the dimensions of a basketball court but the sport involved has heavy ties to the world of soccer.
That sport is Futsal, also known as min-soccer. The sport was established as an official sport by FIFA in 1980 but was originally created in 1930. The sport has been established as a five-on-five indoor version of the game of soccer with a smaller playing field and a less bouncy type of ball. It's a sport that's played in over 100 countries and with over 12 million players involved.
"To have a court like this for Perry is pretty special with how important soccer is," said Perry Elementary School Principal Ned Menke. "Kids get the chance to play more of what they love with soccer being a big part of the community."
Although not fully completed, the Futsal court in Perry is one of a handful planned all across the state. Perry's 50 foot by 104 foot court is one of five already in place and 10 planned courts across the state of Iowa. It's part of a $1 million initiative from Pro-Iowa in partnership with Musco Lighting and Kick It Forward.
"The appetite and support for soccer across Iowa is incredible. Pro Iowa, in partnership with Musco Lighting and Kick it Forward, have been busy identifying and developing the initial mini-pitch locations, a truly ideal partnership to make this a reality for the soccer community," began Pro Iowa’s Director of Revenue, Kyle Davy. "Musco Lighting is leading the construction and installation of the project, while Kick it Forward and Pro Iowa are working with local communities to identify sites and lead future programming opportunities such as clinics and tournaments."
The arrival of the Futsal court to Perry was helped out in large part by Perry High School teacher Christine Krohn.
"I happened to come across it on Twitter initially," Krohn said. "My family is a soccer family with my husband being the girls high school soccer coach and my son plays club soccer. I saw the initiative and thought it would be great for Perry and I reached out to them about putting the court at the schools and we were able to make it work at the elementary school."
Through the initiative, the city nor the elementary school had to pay a single penny for the construction of the court. The only responsibility was access to a lighting source and the rest came as part of the $1 million fund. That fund even brings a connection of Perry to the Des Moines Menace as the Krause Group, the parent company to Kum & Go and the Des Moines Menace, donated $400,000 towards development of the $1 million project. The Perry facility was completed within a week and includes benches, fencing, goals and more.
While the arrival of Futsal is unique in of itself, there are benefits that go beyond the excitement of the sport.
"It's absolutely fantastic to have a court like this," said Perry head boys soccer coach Gary Overla. "The whole goal is to improve speed of play and touch on the ball with technique."
Another goal of Futsal is to inspire more interest in the game of soccer as well as improve upon the skills of those already playing the game.
"Futsal is a great way for those who haven't played the game much to get involved and learn the sport in an easy way," said Krohn. "It presents more opportunity for scoring and participation. It also eliminates some rules like offsides that may hinder younger people from joining the sport."
Another goal was helping to grow and improve the sport of soccer.
"Pro Iowa is about making world’s game accessible to all Iowans. These mini-pitches offer the opportunity to rejuvenate abandoned courts and areas with limited space in communities that have expressed an appetite for soccer, so those are two things we consider as we assess each community," said Davy. "Overall, Pro Iowa and our partners aim to create a fun and active place that celebrates the spirit of teamwork, empowerment, and fitness around the game of soccer."
"I was glad to see this come because I knew this would be well utilized," said Overla. "It's cool that Perry has this and it's somewhat unique to to this town. It's not something many other communities have and that can help draw more people to come and play here."
The court itself isn't fully complete but has seen plenty of activity since the process was started. It is set to be finished next spring.
"This is a very cool thing to come to Perry," said Menke. "It's something that people of all ages will definitely enjoy."