INDIANAPOLIS – (May 16, 2016) Indianapolis’ first public futsal court at Rhodius Park celebrated its one-year anniversary on Monday. The festivities kicked off on the court at 1 p.m. on 1720 W. Wilkins St. to celebrate the anniversary of the court. There was an appearance by Indy Eleven player Nicki Patterson, birthday cake provided by Oaxaqueña, Gordon's Ice Cream Parlor, as well as participation from Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB).
In December 2014 Futsal For Indiana was created in partnership between Indy Eleven, Indiana Soccer, Indy Parks, KIB, and the Indiana Soccer Foundation. These partners raised money and built the Rhodius Park futsal court from a previous under-used tennis court with the help of the Near West community. Their goal was to create a fun, positive, healthy, and safe environment for playing futsal all while incorporating the principles of fair play and good sportsmanship.
After research on locations for the futsal court was conducted by the Marion Adult Learning Class, Rhodius Park was chosen. Rhodius Park was the perfect candidate for a futsal court because it is a central location for schools in Indianapolis, which makes it easily accessible to the surrounding communities. The court was originally an unused tennis court, so by converting it to a futsal court the area is seeing much more activity than before. Lastly, the Near West side area has a high demand for soccer and not many locations to play, so a futsal court grants the community access to the game.
Before any construction could take place on Rhodius Park the grounds had to be cleaned up. This was done in an event called the 2015 Great Indy Cleanup. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful partnered with the City of Indianapolis and created this initiative to cleanup and restore the communities of Indianapolis. More than 1,000 volunteers came out to participate where they picked up litter, planted trees, and more to beautify the grounds.
Two of Rhodius Park’s star players are Cousins Jackie and Lilly Aguayo who are fifth graders at IPS School 49, located right next to the futsal court. Along with several of their friends, Jackie and Lilly play futsal on a daily basis. Before the court was built there was very little access to soccer fields and programs in the area, now the girls have the opportunity to play on a daily basis and their game has developed as a result. Jackie and Lilly have since joined a soccer team coached by their uncle and their improvement in skill and confidence could not be more obvious. “The new court has been a lot of fun and I get to spend time with my friends and play futsal. It’s so much fun,” Jackie says.
A success story out of Rhodius Park comes from players who traveled to the US Futsal Midwest Regional Tournament at Grand Park in Westfield. Rhodius Park does not have a league, but a group of players from the Near West side of Indianapolis have formed a team called the Warriors. The Warriors competed in their first competition, a national competition at that, and made it all the way to the finals against a very competitive team from Chicago. Their opponents had been playing futsal for most of their life against competition from all over the country. In a hard fought final game, the Warriors came up just short in the finals. The Warriors represented Rhodius Park, Indianapolis, and the state of Indiana with great sportsmanship, hard work, and integrity. The futsal players at Rhodius Park are truly pioneers for the sport in the state of Indiana.
For more information on Indiana Futsal visit indianafutsal.org.
Indiana Futsal is a member of the United States Futsal Federation (USFF). Indiana Futsal is the first statewide futsal association in the United States. Through tournaments, leagues, camps, free play, and other futsal events, Indiana Futsal will grow its membership across both youth and adult age groups. It is a not-for-profit Indiana corporation, allowing tax deductible donations and contributions to the fullest extent of the law. Indiana Futsal is organized to provide nonprofit, public, educational futsal development and competition.