By Michael Kinney
Just over nine months ago Steve Scott seemed to be done with coaching.
The long-time soccer coach announced his retirement in May 2019 after 23 years on the sideline. That includes the last seven seasons as the Yukon girls’ coach.
Ultimately, Scott’s retirement lasted less than a year.
This year, he’ll be back to coaching on the sideline, except it won’t be on a soccer field. Scott has accepted the head coaching job of the USA Futsal Federation C15 boys National Team.
According to Scott, this allows him to still coach, but it also to be able to focus on his daughter, who is a sophomore.
“I just wanted to pull back a little bit from the high school side so I had more time on my hands to be able to go watch my daughter and not miss any of her games that she competes in,” Scott said. “Now I get to watch my daughter play in anything that she does.”
Futsal has been growing in popularity in Oklahoma for the past five years. For those unfamiliar with the sport, it can be described as a close cousin to soccer, as they share similar skills and traits.
However, the main differences are that it’s played between two teams of five on an indoor hard court that is the size of a basketball court. In addition, futsal balls are smaller and heavier than soccer balls.
Scott already had a vested interest in futsal. For the past few years, he had been the Southwestern Region director of the USAFF.
“When the USA Futsal Federation was established, I had gotten on, and I have been there for the last couple of years,” Scott said. “I’ve been the Southwest Region Director for the USA Futsal Federation and done a lot of stuff in growing the game of futsal in Oklahoma and other states in the region over the last couple of years.”
During his time as the regional director, Scott left an impression on the other members of the federation. So when it was time to find a coach for the C15 boys, Scott was the top choice.
“Steve Scott was the SW Regional director for Oklahoma and the Southwest Region when he joined AMF (precursor to USAFF),” said Mark Brown, USA Futsal Federation President. “He did a really good job. When I got promoted to President, it kind of moved everybody up and we needed a coach for that specific age group. I knew Steve’s experience and background and for me as a President, it was kind of a no-brainer. “I was really confident that Steve would be the right guy for the position.”
Every year the AMF holds a Futsal World Cup in the summer for a different category. This year it is the U15 boy’s turn. When the opportunity came to take over and take the national team to the U15 World Cup, Scott couldn’t pass on it.
“So this 2020 it will be to C15 boys that we’ll be putting a team together and going to the world cup,” Scott said. “It’s a whole national team program if you’re familiar with soccer and it’s a national team program set up. It’s a national team program within the USA Futsal Federation.”
Along with coaching, Scott’s duties include building a team from scratch that can compete against the world’s best. That means scouring the country for the top U15 futsal players.
“We’ve got some people also working with us in Oregon that we’ll host a combine in Oregon. Then we’ll have one in Arizona and we’ll have one in Oklahoma,” Scott said. “We’ll look to have around 12 to 15 players that we’ll look at to take. We’ll create a pool of players and then we’ll ultimately select 12. We’ll select 12 players to travel and actually make the squad and go to the world cup to compete.”
The AMF Futsal World Cup Invitation is set for July 24-31 in Paraguay. They hope to have the team finalized and intact by around May or June.
“It’s looking really great,” Brown said. “We’re going to have a great showing and a good representation for the USA when we get to Paraguay this summer.”
But even after the trip to the world cup, Scott’s duties may not be done. With the prospect of a pro Futsal league starting up later this year and more events, Brown wants Scott to stay around.
“What I am hoping is that after coach is done with this summer’s events, he will stay on with our national team and continue to build it out for the other age groups and with the adults,” Brown said. “And form the coaching continuity we will need to build that program out and keep it sustainable into the future.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider