Roanoke teenager Anderson not taking ordinary summer respite

Autumn Anderson (middle), a futsal player from Roanoke, will be playing for the United States at a futsal competition in Medellín, Colombia that is set to begin this week. Futsal is similar to soccer and played indoors. Pictured with Anderson at a tournament this past January are Carlos Cruz (left) and Brianna Cruz, her coaches with the Fort Wayne Phoenix Futsal Club.
Autumn Anderson (middle), a futsal player from Roanoke, will be playing for the United States at a futsal competition in Medellín, Colombia that is set to begin this week. Futsal is similar to soccer and played indoors. Pictured with Anderson at a tournament this past January are Carlos Cruz (left) and Brianna Cruz, her coaches with the Fort Wayne Phoenix Futsal Club. Photo provided.

Autumn Anderson isn’t going on an ordinary summer vacation.

The Roanoke resident is heading to Medellín, Colombia, where she’ll be representing the United States in the sport of futsal.

Futsal is similar to soccer, which Anderson plays at Huntington North High School. Futsal features two teams of five players apiece squaring off on an indoor, hard-surface court that’s similar in scale to a basketball court. It’s played with a ball that’s smaller and harder than a soccer ball.

Anderson, a lifelong soccer player, started playing futsal in the sixth grade as a way to sharpen her soccer skills. The sport has enabled her to work on those skills year-round, as she’s able to start playing futsal when it gets too cold out to play soccer.

Now an incoming junior at Huntington North, Anderson says futsal’s impact on her as a soccer player has been profound.

“It’s more fast-paced, because it’s on a basketball court, and it just has improved my skills a lot with foot speed and it makes me a lot quicker on the ball,” she says. “It’s also built my confidence up a lot to dribble out defenders for outdoor soccer.”

Anderson is a member of the Fort Wayne Phoenix Futsal Club. She plays the position of pivo, which is on offense.

This season, Anderson’s team won a regional tournament in January in Akron, OH. A month later, the squad played in the national futsal tournament in Kansas and captured second place.

Anderson’s journey to playing for a United States Youth Futsal national team began with tryouts in Indiana. After several days of training and games, Anderson was informed that she’d made the cut for national tryouts in Kansas. She made the trip to the Sunflower State in June, where she proceeded to take part in even more training and games, this time against the best players in the country.

Of the over 500 players who made the trip to Kansas, only 72 were selected to play on the six national teams heading to Colombia. And Anderson was one of them.

The teams are organized by birth year. Anderson will be playing on a team with 11 other girls who were born in 2002. Other squads feature players born in 2000 and 2003.

Anderson departs for Colombia today, Monday, July 23. During the trip, which will last a week, her team will play three matches against top-rated Colombian squads.

While most summer vacations revolve around relaxation, Anderson is delighted that her trip will give her the opportunity to compete for her country.

“I’m really excited to go to Colombia,” she says.