DaMarcus Beasley pitches in on new futsal courts

DaMarcus Beasley

DaMarcus Beasley is already famous in Fort Wayne, and now he officially has his name on something.

The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department today approved the naming of some futsal courts at Packard Park after the international soccer star from South Side High School. The new courts started construction two weeks ago and should be completed by early-June with a ribbon-cutting to follow.

Beasley, a four-time World Cup participant, donated $10,000 to the project before naming the courts in his honor came up. Beasley, 35, is currently playing with Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.

“We hadn’t even talked to DaMarcus when the project started but he heard about it and was interesting in helping out,” said Parks and Rec Deputy Director of Recreation Chuck Reddinger. “He also wants to be involved in any future projects along this line.”

Futsal is a form of soccer played on a smaller, hard surface with a low-bounce ball. There are five players on each side, and the game helps develop skills that transfer to the outdoor game.

“What’s really nice about it is players get more touches, more practice with the ball,” Reddinger said. “It fits well on a tennis or basketball court.”

The tennis courts at Packard Park were due to be repainted when some local futsal fans approached the city asking about the possibility of some courts. Reddinger and staff studied Packard Park’s two tennis courts to see their usage and thought futsal would be a good fit with the kids living in the area.

Indiana Soccer representative Tony Zirille and the Homestead soccer programs helped raise funds for the project which cost a little over $50,000.

“We felt like a lot of kids could walk over to this park and use it,” Reddinger said. “The nice thing about this kind of activity as well being on that tennis court surface we don’t have to worry about watering or the grass getting torn up all the time. You have public support for it, it’s a good activity for that neighborhood, and you have someone who is world-class like DaMarcus who has been looking for this kind of project.”

Reddinger said the next component of the project would be to get Beasley and the Homestead players to hold some clinics during the summer and fall to help expose the sport and introduce more kids to the game.