U.S. Futsal National Team player Antonio Manfut has agreed to return for the 2016 season. Manfut, who also plays for the Syracuse Silver Knights of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL), is a native of Cleveland Ohio and this will be his third season with the Royals.
The announcement comes following Manfut’s stellar 2015, which saw him help AFC Cleveland reach the NPSL Midwest Conference Final and finish the 2015-2016 MASL regular season with 15 goals in 16 games, helping his team finish second in the Eastern Division. But more importantly, 2015 saw Manfut earn his first call up for the U.S. Futsal National Team in preparation for the Futsal World Cup Qualifiers.
“I ended up being called up three times for the U.S. Futsal National Team,” says Manfut. “Going to play in Europe, South America, and everything like that was amazing. Best players I’ve ever played against, my teammates were amazing. [It was] definitely a big learning experience.”
Manfut opened up his national team account with goals against Venezuela and Croatia, but the player is ready to get back to scoring for AFC Cleveland and working with Head Coach Carter Poe.
“Last year we had a good run, so I’m happy to be back,” said Manfut. “Everyone likes coming back for our coach Carter, he’s a great coach.”
Poe is also glad to have the midfielder back on his roster for the 2016 season, saying the international experience gained by Manfut will be a huge asset to the Royals.
“We’re really excited to have Antonio back with us. He’s an exciting player with good technical ability, creativity, and pace. He’s picked up some international experience with the U.S. Futsal National Team and we know that’s going to be huge for him and the team,” said Head Coach Carter Poe.
Fans can see Antonio Manfut and the rest of the Royals back in action on May 14, when he suits up for AFC Cleveland’s 2016 NPSL home opener against Indy Eleven NPSL.