Brought to you by LAFC's Pat Aviles and Vince La Rosa, Word On The Street takes the game off the pitch and onto the streets of Los Angeles. We'll highlight the personalities, hangouts, tournaments, culture, and gear that make up the street soccer scene in LA and keep the game going even when there's no grass in sight.
Get To Know Gilbert Bita
How Did You Start Playing Futsal?
I grew up playing small sided street soccer games in Kenya. We ran our own tournaments where each team contributed about 100 ksh, equivalent to $1. It only made sense to play barefoot since most of us couldn’t afford it, plus the ball was too soft being that it was made out of plastic bags. I was introduced to futsal when I moved to Huntington Beach, CA. I played several games with my first California friends Harold and Misael. We played in several locations around OC.
What Makes Futsal Different?
As a coach and a huge lover of soccer, futsal just fires me up with constant adrenaline. A great game keeps me focused and constantly on my toes. Your thinking and your heart beats during the game have to be one during tournaments or playing strong teams. Adding to it, futsal is one of the easiest way to grow your footwork, develop your touches, and vision in the game.
Personally I love playing against strong teams so I can learn from them, and at the same time, make them earn their victory. If they even get to it.
If I were to make a pick of 4 players to be on my team I would go for:
Goalie: David De Gea
Defense: Patrice Evra
Where's The Best Place To Play Futsal?
There’s lots of great places all over Southern California. In OC I like Next Level Sport Complex because it has a huge base of family spectators that provide an arena-like environment with the cheers and the funny commentaries during the games. In LA, I like The Base. They are by far the best set up I have been to. They will meet the expectations of anyone who appreciates art, music and the game itself!
What Artist/Musician Is Most Like Your Futsal Style?
If I would compare my futsal style and that of a musician, I would definitely go with Michael Jackson. I love his passion for music and the drive to be the best. He also has a humble beginning.
You Can Play Futsal Beside Any Famous Person, Who Would It Be?
If given the opportunity, I would love to play with or against Ronaldinho. I love his style and passion.
Tournament Spotlight: Electric Futsal
Set square in the heart of LA's Arts District, the Electric Futsal Tournament is an intersection of art, culture, and, of course, soccer. Hosted over one day, the 4v4 futsal tournament will crown Downtown Electric Futsal champions in adult, boys, and girls divisions. Kicking off on March 18 from 9am-5pm,interested players and teams can register at www.electicfutsal.com.
Hot Gear: Adidas Cold Blooded Pack
When it comes to the competition, you've got to be cold blooded. Taking inspiration from the famed champagne Predator Mania boots of the past, the adidas Cold Blooded Pack features the traditional white, red, and black colorway of some of adidas' most iconic styles. And, of course, them come in styles meant for the pitch or street.
Photo Credit: @richimpossible