HOBART — Miki Djankovich gave up soccer when he was 13.
The Hobart sophomore spends his falls playing football.
But he came out to Fred Rose Park in Hobart recently to play futsal with his Bubsy 3D teammates.
“I’m just here to play with my friends for fun,” Djankovich said. “Soccer got boring. (Futsal) is more fast-paced.”
Futsal is growing in popularity globally. The court is smaller than a soccer pitch, only about 135 feet long and 65 feet wide. The ball and goals are smaller, too. And there’s limited contact, similar to basketball rules for fouls.
Hobart Soccer Club hosts a new league at Fred Rose. It’s the first outdoor futsal court in the area. The first season ended last weekend. The second season starts July 20.
Shaun Mirr played soccer at Mount Carmel last year. He’ll play for the Brickies this season. The senior had two goals in Bubsy’s 5-2 win over the Bulldogs.
“I played futsal every once in a while, but I usually just play indoor soccer or any type of soccer,” Mirr said. “I like to use my body a lot, so with futsal I’m a lot more on my toes. Usually, I like to hold the ball a lot. I like to score. Here, I can’t really do that.”
The goals cost the city about $1,800, Parks Director Kelly Goodpaster said. The converted tennis courts were prepared, painted and paid for by Hobart Soccer Club. The surface was power washed to remove stains and moss and cracks were filled. Teams are charged $170 or individuals $25 for registration to help HSC recoup those costs.
Brickies boys coach Luke Weinman is also president of the Hobart Soccer Club. The IHSAA’s no-contact period began July 1. Weinman won’t be coaching or interacting with players after that date, he said. He was refereeing the older teams’ games.
The fast-paced, 29-minute games are played on Sunday afternoons and evenings by players between 13 and 18, but Weinman said boys and girls as young as four are welcome.
“It’s very intense and low-contact, so it teaches kids ball skills and foot skills. We wanted to bring that to Hobart because there’s really not an outdoor court in this area,” Weinman said. “Summer time, we were looking for something for kids to do, to kind of play street soccer or do pick up games like three on three.”
Counted among the futsallers in a Fred Rose Park on June 30 were players from Hobart, Crown Point, Chesterton, Culver Academies and schools in Illinois.
The players pick their own teams but individuals are welcome, as well.
There’s music. There’s food. Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor attended June 30. The environment is designed to be more fun and relaxed.
“I don’t want my kid inside on the video games all day. I want him out, doing things. When I can find free time in his schedule when he’s not playing soccer, I want to. That’s kind of the philosophy behind the whole league,” Weinman said.