Laura Viáfara has a passion for women’s futsal. It led her from Colombia to Argentina. Soon it will lead her to Columbus.
Viáfara was recently hired to coach Columbus Futsal for the first season of the National Futsal Premier League (NFPL) women’s division. As part of her new role, the Bogatá, Colombia native will also oversee Columbus Futsal’s girl’s academy, which includes players and teams from the U8 though high school level.
The opportunity to lead Columbus in the first year of the NFPL women’s division and oversee girls in Columbus Futsal’s academy is a perfect, albeit sacrificial position for Viáfara.
“I want to be a futsal coach every moment,” Viáfara said. “I think that maybe I can make the players love my sport the way that I love it.”
Viáfara has a background in architecture and journalism but has always had a passion for futsal. She played at her university in Colombia before moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina seven years ago to coach with the Boca Juniors Foundation, Club Fortaleza and the A.F.F. Academy. For years she has hustled to support and pursue her passion.
Tapping into her experience as a player and coach, Viáfara created Futsal Feminino, a multi-channel digital resource that supports and teaches women’s futsal through technology and video analysis.
“When I created my social media and website, I wanted it to be a reference and show that women can play, can talk and do anything in this sport,” Viáfara said. “We have a lot of players around the world, so we need to show and need to improve our sport, (having) the same importance between men’s and women’s.”
Last year, Viáfara came across Columbus Futsal online. Looking for an opportunity and hoping for the best, she found a contact and sent a blind email with her CV.
“I was looking over it and was like, ‘wow’,” Columbus Futsal CEO Malissa Galiffo Garcia said. “She was almost exactly what I was looking for and she popped up in my inbox.”
The timing was perfect. Columbus Futsal had identified a need for someone to lead its women’s programs. In January, Columbus Futsal hosted Viáfara for a two-week tour with the team. That initiated a nearly year-long process to bring her back as the new coach.
Columbus kicks off the inaugural season for the NFPL women’s division on Dec. 10, joining teams from Chicago, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Indianapolis and Cincinnati as charter members in the six-team division. Columbus’ home opener is set for Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Westwood Field House.
Find the full schedule here.