We Need More Futsal – by Esther Bylsma

When Esther Bylsma met Alphonzo Davies (Canada Men's International)

I screamed for joy when they won GOLD in Tokyo!

It was August 6, 2021. I set my alarm 15 minutes before the game was to start and made sure I was awake and ready to cheer.
I screamed for joy when Grosso scored, jumped up off my couch, landed on one of my kids toys, and continued cheering and crying for joy.

My name is Esther Bylsma!

I grew up in a large family with 4 brothers and 3 sisters and was always up to something. We reside in Alberta having moved about 30 times in our life! I didn’t start playing soccer until later in life at the age of 25 when I decided to go to Prairie College in Three Hills. I fell in love instantly with Futsal, an indoor soccer game.

I am a player, a coach. But, in my personal life, me and my husband are foster parents. My mission is to show any child that comes into our home can be great. 

So, we introduce children to soccer because it is a fun game. 

I am the Goalkeeper!

The year I started to play I just started to watch soccer as well. I fell in love with the keeper position so I paid special attention to the keeps. My idols now are Stephanie Labbe, Sari van Veenendaal, Rose Lavelle, Christine Sinclair and Desiree Scott.

Esther Bylsma with Stephanie Labbe
Esther Bylsma (left) with Stephanie Labbe (former Canada Women's National Team Goalkeeper, Olympic Gold Medalist in Tokyo in 2021)

I’m hoping to get my Provincial Level C coaching certification along with a youth goalkeeper certification.  I still play and enter my team into any tournament I can. I’m currently a student at Prairie again and am their female goalkeeper. I would love to see our national team continue to build into the game in Canada.  I heard some of them are hoping to start a women’s league in Canada so that would be amazing to see. 

WeCAN, Can We?

I think if we look at other countries they tend to develop the young players with futsal first. Canada doesn’t really seem to have a huge depth in our futsal field and it would be great to see futsal grow and thrive. If we start young with the footwork and quick passing that futsal brings and then work our way up to 11v11 when the kids are around 11-12 it would make a huge impact on our soccer community.  I also feel like boarded indoor doesn’t seem to help improve the players, especially at a young age we should focus on futsal or small sided games. I also feel like the involvement of qualified coaches in smaller communities is hard to get. 

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