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Mark Cuban's new Futsal League will include a Seattle franchise

Seattle's love of the beautiful game has apparently earned us a franchise in a new league, scheduled to launch next year.

You'll be forgiven if you've never heard of futsal, since the indoor soccer variant doesn't have much presence in the United States. But billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a host of foreign soccer powerhouses are looking to change that in a big way, and Seattle is part of their plans.

The Dallas News has reported over the last couple of days that there have been very advanced talks between Cuban and other investors regarding launching a futsal league in the United States — one well-funded enough to attract the best players from around the world, which would instantly make the new US league the center of the sport. The traditional football clubs involved are reported to include Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Boca Juniors, and Corinthians, whose names alone would bring instant credibility to the new league, which is apparently targeting a 2017 launch. The teams will supposedly all be located in cities with NBA or NFL teams, presumably with those owners playing a role.

Talks are advanced enough that rule tweaks have already been decided on (including switching from halves to quarters, and using an overtime/penalty hybrid format to resolve ties) as well as franchise ownership decisions, though there's no information in the report regarding who might be involved in owning the Seattle franchise.

Futsal is an indoor game played on a small, hard court with a smaller ball than the one used in traditional soccer, and is the only indoor soccer officially recognized by FIFA (sorry, Tacoma Stars). Unlike the Stars' MASL, walls are not in play -- think of it more as a basketball court than a hockey rink. It puts a premium on footskills and is considered by many to be a great environment for young players to learn on-ball technique — one of the reasons US Soccer is incorporating the sport into its youth national team program and development academy.

Here are some highlights from the ongoing Euro futsal championships, to give you an idea of how it plays.

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