DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At first glance, the small gym at Stockard Middle School in Oak Cliff appears to be holding a soccer practice session indoors.
Eleven-year-old Azael Leija is moving the ball with his feet, while wearing suede work boots. “It’s much faster than soccer. You have to think fast and communicate,” Leija explains.
The 6th grader is playing Futsal.
Futsal is a fast-paced version of soccer, played indoors with five players on each team. Leija and his teammates only started playing in February, but they will soon be playing in a National Futsal Tournament in Florida. The Stockard team won the Dallas ISD Futsal Tournament last weekend, and the prize is a trip to Disney World in Orlando.
“This is about exposure and closing the opportunity gap,” Stockard Futsal coordinator Ruby Ayala said Monday. The team is not a sanctioned athletic group for the school. The school district searched for methods to keep students involved in wellness, along with keeping them interested in school. The Stockard students aren’t the campus student athletes.
They are the youngest kids on campus. Most come from low income families.
Futsal is now giving them a chance to visit Disney World to represent Dallas. “We are going to Florida! We going to represent for Stockard! Are you with me? Yes,” in unison the team answers their coach.
The school has to raise $7000 for the team of 12 members, and two coaches.
The Futsal Championship will be held in July.