In just our second year of operating our state's first Women's Futsal training program, our Safira Red Team won silver in the US Futsal Regionals in Atlantic City. We want to offer a huge congratulations to all the players that traveled to regionals and also all the practice players that helped prepare them for this tournament.
"I am so incredibly proud of these women" said program organizer Liz McQuilkin. "Both teams showed improvement from last year. To compete with year-round nationally recognized clubs and US Select players is an amazing opportunity. Our teams stepped up and shined! Everyone left everything out on the courts this weekend and played hard for each other. To be 30 seconds away from a regional title against an experienced Alexandria team is a major accomplishment and a testament to the talent and teamwork of our Mass Soccer women players."
"We would like to thank our Mass Soccer state coach, Andre Ferreira, and the Safira organization supporting this program. We appreciate the time, energy, and expertise they have dedicated to launching a women's futsal program. It is remarkable what we have accomplished in such a short time" continued Liz.
With their second place finish in regionals, this team is now qualified to move on to nationals in Las Vegas in July.
Congratulations to all that participated in this year's program and good luck as this group continues to train and prepare for nationals!
Safira Team Red: Hope Perry, Bethany Rennich, Hillary Despotovski, Ali Boreiko, Becca Brooke, Brie Duseau, Michelle Mantilla, & Rose Frank (Coached by Andre Ferreira, Autumn Scanlon, and Liz McQuilkin)
Safira Team Blue: Liz McQuilkin, Liz Emmert, Rachel Wadkins Jen Harding. Ange Cornacchio, Cici Liu, Lisa Zagura, & Rachel Zumberg (Coached by Andre Ferreira, Leo, Becca Brooke, and Autumn Scanlon)
February 20, 2023: US Futsal Northeast Regional Recap - Atlantic City, NJ
By, Hope Perry and Liz McQuilkin
Yes. They exceled!
The Safira women outscored their opponents 21-6. Every court player on the team score at least one goal. This is a testament of their success on the futsal courts in Atlantic City.
They started the tournament strong against JAE. JAE tried to put the Safira women under pressure early. Safira was able to score two early goals allowing the team to get the tournament jitters out and relax a little. JAE was a tough, physical team that continued to press through out the game. Safira answered with composure both on offense and defense, which resulted in a 7-2 win.
Next, they faced AGC Football from Miami Florida. Again, Safira faced strong pressure and a high press. The game remained deadlocked for the first ten minutes of the match and then Safira broke through with their first goal. The second goal came shortly thereafter. This was a beautiful team goal, with all four players on the court touching the ball before the goal was finished. Safira added two more goals before the half. AGC was worn down by Safira's composed passing and let up five more goals in the second half. Safira secured a comfortable 9-0 victory in their second match of the tournament.
In their final match of the group stage, Safira faced Pax Futsal, who was also undefeated in group play so far. This was also the only team to beat them and kept them from advancing last year. Both teams stepped on the court knowing that the winner of this match would go to the finals.
Pax had several opportunities early in the match ratlling the Safira defense temporarily. Safira regained composure and continued to pass the ball around looking for openings and opportunities. Finally, Safira was on the board with a beautiful give and go play. A second Safira goal was added when Bethany Rennich took her player down the line and crossed it to Ali Boreiko who beat her player with a one touch finish.
Pax did not let these Safira goals go unanswered and converted on a free kick play right before the half. Thirty seconds into the second half, Pax equalized on a corner kick set play.
Safira continued to stay strong. They won the ball in the middle of the court, passed it wide to Becca Brooke, who played a beautiful ball back into the center of the box. Hope Perry tapped it in for the go-ahead-goal. Finally, Hillary Despotovski put the game out of reach for the Pax team on a long shot from close to half court.
Safira faced Alexandria Pro in the finals. This team played fast and to their strengths. Safira goalie Michelle Mantilla saved numerous hard shots.
It was Alexandria that struck first on a corner kick play. The ball bounced around a bit and an Alexandria player was finally able to net the free ball.
Safira took a while to strike back but was able to equalize with four minutes remaining. However, in the closing minute of the final, Alexandria's strongest player and a member of USSF Select Team subbed back on the court. With 30 seconds remaining, the ball was turned over in the middle of the court and passed to her. She beat her defender by just a half a step and struck the ball with force and accuracy. It hit the inside of the top left corner and bounced in.
Although Safira was disappointed to come so close to a regional championship, they were also proud of their accomplishments. As a finalist they also qualified for Nationals in Las Vegas in July. They will continued to training and prepare for the next tournament and a possible rematch with Alexandria.
Congratulations to the Safira Women for their strong finish in regionals and for representing the strength of women's soccer and futsal in Massachusetts.
Women's Futsal Training
Wednesdays: 7:30pm - 9pm
The Mill Works in Westford
Whether you are a seasoned futsal player or new to the sport, come join us. All skill and experience levels are welcome. Program is overseen by our Mass Soccer State Coach, Andre Ferreira, and supported by Safira Futsal.
Players are welcome to join us at any time but please email Liz at Operations@Mass-Soccer.org to be added to the email list so you can be updated if there are any changes to plans or announcements on tournaments and scrimmages.
You may join as a practice/training player or if you attend trainings regularly, we are looking to send 2 teams once again to the Northeast US Futsal Regional Tournament in Atlantic City, NJ. (See below)
Our only requirement is that you have a current Mass Soccer Membership. If you need to renew or register as a Mass Soccer player, just click here: Mass Soccer Registration
Looking to another exciting Futsal season!!