Portland Futsal Remains on the Forefront of Oregon Soccer
GoalNation takes a stop in Portland as we continue our search for some of best futsal facilities in the United States. Futsal has taken the main stage as youth players are utilizing the fast-paced game in order to develop that extra step over their competition.
In our first visit we catch up with Portland Futsal, a local facility that is in its 11th year of business and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Futsal News: The growth of any topic always begins with a pioneer that takes the initial step of growing a conversation.
Soccer in Portland, Oregon, has been present for as long as most can remember. The history of the Portland Timbers dates back to the 1970s when the club competed in the prestigious North American Soccer League.
Portland Futsal (PF) was founded in 2005 by Paul Lomanto who opened the facility with the goal of bringing the fast-paced game to the region.
Paul’s son Dylan Lomanto now serves as manager of the facility and explains that when Portland Futsal opened there was a necessity to teach players the dynamics of the “new” game.
“Portland was all indoor/arena soccer exclusively,” said (Dylan) Lomanto. “One of the reasons we opted for turf rather than hard courts was to provide an easier transition for players.”
Lomanto was 14 when his father opened PF and took over as manager three years ago. He explains that people immediately fell in love with the sport, which has picked up massively in the region since the facility’s opening.
Portland Futsal offers adult and youth leagues, a youth training academy as well as open-play on select nights. Adult leagues include men’s, women’s and co-ed divisions, while the youth level consists of age groups ranging from U6 through high school.
Since taking over for his father, Lomanto has maintained the focus on providing attending families and players with a positive experience as they transition to PF.
“The organization here is great,” said father and coach Jayson Davidson. “They make it very easy to transition into the league.”
In addition, Portland Futsal’s academy program is available for ages 6 to 13-years-old.
Alongside Lomanto, Carly Bennett serves as head coach of the Portland Futsal Academy. Bennett and Lomanto work together at youth club FC Portland and also serve as local high school coaches. Additional training academy staff includes 6 assistants that run sessions during the week.
The PF training academy primarily focuses on individual skills with the emphasis on ball technique.
“My coaching philosophy focuses on technique being the most important thing you can develop – especially with younger kids,” said Lomanto.
Lomanto and his staff have adopted the high repetition aspect of futsal in order to increase the amount of touches on the ball during each training session.
“We focus on how can we get players to have as many touches on the ball with both feet at every training session,” said Lomanto.
Lomanto explains training sessions begin with focus on ball control, then transitions to passing work and finishes with small-sided games.
For younger ages, ball technique remains the area of emphasis with small-sided games designated for older age groups.
“I tried to shy away from full-sided games for the younger kids as much as possible,” said Lomanto. “I keep them with the ball at their feet.”
Portland Futsal in the Community
Portland Futsal has provided families and players with a local soccer community to enjoy whether you’re on the field or taking a break between training and games.
“The two seasons my daughter has played here have been great,” said parent Stan Mar. “The staff is very courteous and there are also things to keep my older son busy.”
PF’s lounge consists of a game room, media center as well as a conference room on the upper level for everyone to enjoy.
PF has allowed for community gaps of the vibrant soccer culture in the region to link over the last 11 years.
“The facility has allowed for us to connect different soccer communities effectively,” said Lomanto. “On a given night, we have numerous languages spoken here. Portland Futsal has brought international players to one central location.”
Lomanto is focused on maintaining this aspect of the facility in order to benefit the growth of futsal and soccer as a whole.
“At the end of the day, I want to improve soccer culture in this country and elevate the standard of play,” said Lomanto.
Portland Futsal remains active in growing the game by participating in exchange programs with other facilities and organizations across town.
PF also serves as a training resource for youth soccer clubs that rent out the warehouse for their own personal training sessions along with submitting numerous teams for the facility’s winter and spring leagues.
Lomanto acknowledges the necessity to build relationships with other groups that will ultimately benefit soccer in its entirety.
“I am invested in this for the better of the sport,” said Lomanto. “I enjoy working with people in order to combine ideas and bring it all together.”
In the midst of the growing futsal community in Portland, PF has planned renovations for its facility. Lomanto’s dedication to building on the hard work of his father remains at the forefront of Portland Futsal, with more expected for years to come.