Columbus Futsal Club - 2022/23 Season Preview
The National Futsal Premier League welcomes back charter member, Columbus Futsal, for the 22/23 season with teams competing in all three divisions: The Men (East Conference), Women, and Rising Stars.
Last season the men of Columbus Futsal Club made their way to the NFPL Semifinals before falling to eventual champions Grand Rapids OLé. They return a number of players from the team that finished 4th in the regular season, just ahead of bitter in-state rivals Ginga Futsal.
Head Coach Dante Garcia is particularly looking forward to games vs. OLé and Ginga:
The OLé game has history dating back to 2015, that’s how long we have been competing against coach Fabian and company. This game is like Michigan vs Ohio State to me and my players. It’s always a great way to measure where we stand as a club. OLé is a very consistent squad and definitely the team to beat. I want to do just that, beat them. I’m also looking forward to the Ginga game because the Battle for Ohio has proven to be a very healthy rivalry so far! We have a few former players from our team last year that decided to take their talents to Cincinnati this season and it will be great to see how they respond to playing against their former teammates.
-Dante Garcia, Head Coach
Columbus has high hopes for their team in the inaugural season of the NFPL Women's Division! Finishing second place in the NFPL Summer Cup behind Michigan Futsal Factory Academy means that they'll be aiming to win the league.
Another inaugural division for the NFPL is the Rising Stars Division, featuring high-school-age boys competing around the Midwest. Columbus Head Coach Dante Garcia says that "this is a great opportunity for our young men to showcase their talents. I look forward to all competitions because we as a group love to play together and are up for any challenge." The team will be highly competitive, and expectations and excitement for the season are high.
The Columbus Men's side have a dynamic group characterized by hard work and high standards. They don't back down from challenges and belief is high that they'll make the 22/23 playoffs.
New signings include Tiago Ramos and Dener Marques at ala. Full roster:
- Goleiro - Victor Barbosa, Gabriel Cardoso, Jhonba Alvarez, Denilson Gutierrez
- Fixo - Juliano Castilhos, Mitchell Kayalar, Marcelo Matos, Dener Marques
- Ala - Galvão, Jimmy Galvan, Bryan Rodriguez, Donald Lopez, Malav Desai, Tiago Ramos, Henrique Matos, Diego Bernal, Gaston Kruskevich, Matheus Oliveira, matias Barinas, Williams Palma
- Pivo - Yul Illidge, Hamza Belasri, Dave Blamo, Caleb Saldivar
Columbus Futsal have brought on Coach Laura Viafara to lead the women’s program. Viafara will assume her first coaching position in the United States with the women of Columbus, but has an impressive coaching resume tallying women’s futsal experience in Colombia and Argentina.
With an inaugural season comes an entirely new team to the NFPL, although these women have been playing with or affiliated with the club for years. Honorable mentions to Sheryl Shope and Monique Hanayik who will miss the inaugural season out on medical leave but plan to compete in the 23/24 season.
- Goleira - Audrey Gibson-Zweifel, Marisa Bourne
- Fixo - Dani Gunderson
- Ala - Sara Richardson, Gaby Escamilla, Erin Conners, Loren Gormley, Ella Tyler
- Pivo - Mariah Whitaker
Like the Women's side, the Rising Stars feature Columbus Futsal Academy players that have risen through the CFA player pathway and now find themselves on the court just below the first team.
- Goleiro - Ashton Galiffo, Paxton Bohnert
- Fixo - Brayden Beggs, Landon Montgomery
- Ala - Anderson Jeronimo, Ethan Kuhn, Duncan Elder, Cannon Graessle, Evan Graessle, Madden Galiffo, Will Carrier
- Pivo - Ransom Perkins, Nick Woolard
Columbus Futsal boast one of the best home courts and supporter crowds in the entire league and they will be a formidable opponent in all divisions when playing at Westwood Fieldhouse. It's a great opportunity for Men, Women, and Rising Stars to put themselves in the spotlight of the NFPL. The Men's Eastern Conference will be competitive, with OLé surely the favorites and Columbus squarely in the mix for a semifinal berth. Head Coach Dante Garcia knows how important their fans are: "Our fans are our rock and always provide an awesome atmosphere to play in. I know Nachito Panda will be ready to get the crowd going!"
The Women will have to contend with the favorites from Michigan Futsal Factory if they return the players that swept away many before them in the NFPL Summer Cup. However, the home court advantage at Westwood may even the scales.
The Rising Stars are virtually unknown and we're looking forward to seeing the talent that an established club like Columbus Futsal can bring to the court!
All in all, we see Columbus Futsal as a cornerstone of the National Futsal Premier League and a key component to the growth of the game locally and nationally. Coach Garcia knows it too.
I look forward to a great season and growing the game of futsal with the support of our community. Vamos Columbus!
-Dante Garcia, Head Coach