By Mari Kanagy, Elizabeth Lande and Isabelle Spence
Vashon sports have historically been played at the high school level, but adults on the island are finding a love for getting active as well. Following this trend, the Vashon Island Soccer Club continues to run its adult offseason futsal league.
Futsal is played indoors on a field much smaller than regulation. The Vashon league was started about six years ago, with founding members sending out interest letters to adults in the community. From there, the group reached out to the Vashon Island Soccer Club (VISC) to make the activity more formally recognized.
“Adult soccer has really been booming in the last few years on Vashon,” futsal club member Lisa Chambers said.
Over the course of a year, the group has two seasons, one in winter and one in spring, with practices once a week in the Chautauqua Elementary School gym. Three to 15 members typically attend each practice.
The league draws its support largely from parents who watched their children grow up playing club soccer. According to futsal league members, some parents wanted involvement in sports beyond simply standing on the sidelines, attending their children’s games.
“We wanted to play soccer ourselves,” Chambers said.
One concern addressed by the league was the level of experience and what would be required. Members wanted to create a space for adults to enjoy playing futsal without worrying about their skills or a lack of experience. Creating a community of accepting players allows the group to focus on improving skills rather than worrying about past experience with the sport. The league’s creation was spearheaded by community member Angela London.
“I had never played growing up and felt intimidated to just join something — so I started something,” London said.
The league provides many benefits for its participants, according to London. It provides a source of exercise and a mental and physical challenge, especially for new players. It also acts as a social gathering for adults.
Prior to the creation of the current futsal club, Vashon had a women’s soccer team called La Faite, which existed for about 25 years. The team was comprised of women aged 18 to 50 who simply enjoyed playing soccer. They played against other similarly-sized teams from sports communities in Seattle and Tacoma until it was disbanded a few years ago.
Now, women’s futsal has taken its place, providing a similar opportunity for Vashon women to be part of an athletic team.
Though futsal is largely similar to soccer, it differs in that it requires a higher level of control and contains less physical aggression.
“It’s much more contained because it’s just in the gym,” Chambers said.
The Vashon team also places an emphasis on a feeling of community and doesn’t aim to seriously grow its numbers, enjoying the small group atmosphere. This casual setting lends itself to a less competitive environment, more focused on the love of the sport than on winning.
“Women’s futsal, for us, is different,” Chambers said. “We play music really loud, we crank up the tunes. … It’s fun and silly.”
The league will take a break for the summer months, having just played a small tournament on June 9.
Adults interested in joining can sign up at vashonsoccer.org.