Andrew Njogu dribbles his way to the national futsal team


Hazel Mckinney

Andrew Njogu playing in the playoff game for his futsal club team JOTP

Sophomore Andrew Njogu made the National Futsal team for the 2003 age group, or 16 year olds. The team will be competing in Argentina in July against Academy teams from Argentina. Academy teams are the top tier of youth soccer in their respective country. Futsal is an adapted version of soccer and focuses on ball control on a small court. It is played indoors and with less players per team. “It’s a smaller version of soccer, basically the same thing but you play on a smaller court the size of a basketball court,” said Njogu.

Like soccer, players have set positions in futsal. Njogu plays striker for his club team JOTP (Joy Of The People), he stays mostly at the top of the formation and gets lots of scoring opportunities. In this season alone Njogu has gotten 29 goals, contributing to his team’s winning record. “So me and Andrew have a team, right now we’re six and zero [six wins and zero loses] and one tie so we’re playing in the playoffs, we’re probably going to win, our team is good,” said freshman Siddiq Madson, Njogu’s teammate on JOTP as well as on South’s JV soccer team this past fall.

The national futsal teams are picked by evaluations at state and national levels. “I had a state trial at the national sports center over at the Y. It was lot of kids, there were around a hundred kids for each age group. They have a national team for each age group,” said Njogu. “Me and … [another player on my team] got picked to go to Kansas for a national trial which is in June, but they let some people know if they’re on the team already depending on how good they played in the state one, so that’s how I got picked,” he finished.

There are many people trying out for just a few spots on the national team. A regular futsal team has around nine to twelve players and five of them are on the court at once. “I am pretty excited I’m also kind of nervous playing at that level… it’s like ‘wow’ but at the same time, I made it here and these other kids are probably better than me so I got to show up,” said Njogu.

The final team will be a group of players from all over the country. “Practice will be two times a week and we get to drive to places around three hours away in different states because everyone has to get to one practice,” said Njogu. In the month leading up to the trip the team will find many ways to meet for practice so they have time to prepare for the tournament in Argentina.

Njogu is not only a good player but a strong leader as well. “He always gives his best,” said Conor Justin, Njogu’s futsal coach. “He is a very positive influence on the rest of the team because some of his teammates are really hot headed, he does well to calm them down and he’s shown his leadership qualities a lot in that,” he added.