A strong contingent from the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) - including former Newtown High School and Southern Connecticut State University star John Ball - helped lead the USA Futsal team to a fifth-place finish at the Pan American Games in
A strong contingent from the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) â including former Newtown High School and Southern Connecticut State University star John Ball â helped lead the USA Futsal team to a fifth-place finish at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Futsal is FIFAâs recognized international indoor version of soccer and this year marked the debut of the sport at the Pan Am Games. Futsal is played with five players on each team on a field approximately the size of a basketball court. The ball is smaller and heavier then traditional soccer balls and players shoot at smaller goals.
Ball â who played in Cleveland for 10 years (for the Crunch and Force) â joined the Chicago Storm in 2005. After just five games, he was traded to the California Cougars but this year re-joined the Storm for the 2007 season.
In his career, Ball has played in 354 games, scoring 204 goals with 156 assists and 396 blocks. He has been MISL Player of the Week seven times, has been named to two All-MISL teams (2001 & 2005), is a three-time MISL All-Star (2001, 2003 & 2004), was named the MVP of the 2003 All-Star game, and was named to the 1996-97 MISL All-Rookie team.
In 1999, he had a brief stint with the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.
He has also represented the United States as a member of the National Futsal team on several occasions. This past month, he joined 11 other MISL players at the Pan Am Games and finished fifth after a shootout win over Cuba.
The USA lost, 5-2, to Argentina to start pool play and then tied Ecuador, 5-5, as USA goalie Nick Vorberg stopped a 10-meter penalty kick with one second left. To advance to the medal round, the USA needed to defeat Costa Rica by three goals but only won by one, 6-5.
The USA did move on to the fifth-eighth placement match and topped winless Gautemala before defeating Cuba, 6-5, in penalty kicks. Ball scored a goal in regulation to help lift the USA to that fifth-place finish.