The PHS Futsal club, which was originally started by Lauren Ullmann ’13 and Jeremy Goldsmith ’13, has been a part of Princeton High School for the last four years. It is now led by sisters Shannon Pawlak ’15 and Emily Pawlak ’15.
This year the club consists of 23 teams, the most since the club’s inception. Each team must have at least five people signed up and plays one game a week, either after school or during break on Wednesdays—unless they get a bye, in which case they do not play a game that week. Following the ten-week regular season, all of the teams are seeded based on their records, and then enter a sudden death playoff to determine a champion.
The Pawlaks create the schedule for games at the beginning of every week, and it is based on the availability of gyms and teams. This year, creating the schedule has been more difficult due to the growth of the club, and many teams have to receive byes each week. “Last year we had about 15 teams, and this year we have 23,” said Shannon Pawlak.
The two sisters attribute the club’s growth primarily to word of mouth. “I think Jeremy and Lauren did a really good job with spreading [the word] and getting it to become more popular,” said Emily Pawlak. “We used to have trouble with freshmen and seniors [joining the club] because they had Peer Group and couldn’t play games at 1:49. This year it became more [known] that we have games during break, so that helped a lot [with the growth of the club].”
One of the aspects of the Futsal club that draws new members is its friendliness toward beginners and the laid-back attitude of some of the players. “Even the kids who play soccer don’t take it as seriously as they would if they were playing outside [with a competitive team],” said Chris Harla ’16, a member of the boys varsity soccer team.
While the club does have an air of casualness, some players do play their hardest. “Everybody goes out and tries so hard at the sport that they may not be good at,” said Julia DiTosto ’15, who does not play for the soccer team.
With over 165 members—its highest level of participation yet—the PHS Futsal club has grown into a more accessible indoor sport within the PHS community.