Monday morning meant day one of competition at the Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland. Futsal athletes had to wake up bright and early for the first game at 7:30 a.m.


Team Alaska has five teams competing. For many of the athletes it’s their first time playing together with their team.


“Team chemistry really affects how a team plays together,” said Judith Hepburn, who’s from Fairbanks and a member of the women’s intermediate team. “Meeting the girls for the first time a couple days ago made it quite a challenge to come together but I think we did pretty good.”


Futsal is like indoor soccer with a twist.


“There are different rules. First off, the ball is heavier so it goes quicker when you hit it. It doesn’t bounce as much. The court here is smaller,” Juneau player Elena Bryson explained.


Eighty futsal games are scheduled through Friday. To accommodate all the teams, officials shortened each half from 17 minutes to 14 minutes.


“When we play out on the field, we’re given our time on the court, we have to give it our all,” Hepburn said. “When we have less time it means we have to go, go, go. We have that energy we’re able to use.”


Semi-final games begin Thursday morning. The finals start on Friday.