FEATURE: The Story of Senda Athletics: A Mission-Driven Futsal Movement
Updated: Nov 30, 2019
Washington, DC, USA - June 4, 2019 | Senda Athletics Futsal Movement
I introduce to you, Santiago (“Santi”) Halty & the Senda Athletics team. They do things a little differently.
Disclaimer: This feature article isn’t a sponsored ad or any kind of product promotion. This article is about good people doing good work for the right reasons to drive the sport of Futsal (and soccer) forward.
Raised in the Futsal and football world of Argentina, Santi made his way to the United States to pursue education. Quickly he found solace in the Futsal and football community but identified some aspects that were a little off and the paradigm of the industry needed a new voice.
“When I came to the United States, there was a wide-spread win-at-all-costs mentality...too many rules for young kids...and money being spent in the wrong areas,” says Santi Halty, CEO & Founder of Senda Athletics.
“I started Senda by combining my two big passions: Fair Trade and Futsal/soccer. My mission in founding Senda was to bring the joy and community of Futsal back and to make the highest quality balls possible.”
Since Senda Athletics’ inception in 2010, Santi & his team have grown a far-reaching footprint to spread his vision, products, and policies to support the industry.
Along the way, Senda has made close relationships and partnerships with some of the best in the Futsal world including Soccer without Borders, Street Soccer USA, BORP, Rose City Futsal, US Youth Futsal, and Joga Bonito Futsal Academy along with individuals helping lead the way such as Diego Giustozzi, Matheus Palhinha, and Keith Tozer.
All of which are focused on the primary objective of supporting the global Futsal community with a vision and collaborative infrastructure to drive Futsal (and soccer) forward.
“A top-tier sports partner must help Futsal grow at a grassroots level. They have to work with other organizations that are enabling this growth and tell stories about Futsal organizations who are doing great work. A partner should seek out and work with other Futsal organizations to let people know about them,” details Santi Halty.
Futsal participants, supporters and administrators are some of the most passionate champions across nearly all sports. Senda is eager to continue activating as many stakeholders as possible at grassroots, regional and global levels to build awareness and participation.
The Importance of Fair Trade in Futsal
In an evolving social conscious world, fair trade and related issues remain an ongoing battle and are still overlooked at various levels in the industry. To be clear, Fair Trade means better livelihoods, no child labor, and improved working conditions for employees. In addition, many organizations, like Senda, are now striving to give a voice to manufacturers and those employees to support their pursuit of a fulfilling life.
“A huge milestone that that allows Senda to be what it is today is by being a company committed to Fair Trade, and being a Benefit Corporation,” says Santi Halty. “And further, Senda is committed to support our manufacturers in Pakistan, who we visit often, with the goal of providing safe working conditions, a fair wage, better livelihoods and passion in their work.”
Here’s a behind the scenes look at Santi and his work with his Pakistan team.
“It is amazing to read some of the Amazon reviews, and see how some of Senda customers even use our Fair Trade Certified balls to talk to their kids about world issues and give important life lessons,” reflects Santi Halty.
What’s On the Horizon for Senda Athletics?
As Futsal continues to grow within the United States and globally, the Senda team recognizes the need to be agile in supporting education of the sport, resources to promote access, and ultimately, building on the dynamic culture that Futsal presents.
“We know that Futsal players need more than just Futsal balls, and we are developing exciting new resources and products that our community will enjoy and fuel growth in regions around the world,” details Santi Halty.
Senda is focused on fueling the Futsal movement...from supporting global Futsal events to highlighting gold standard Futsal clubs to creating outside of the box products like street Futsal balls, beach soccer balls and BORP Power Soccer balls to asking important questions on infrastructure to simply creating relationships worldwide in all realms of the sport to support growth.
Over the past year, Santi and the Senda team have been working with some of the best Futsal players, coaches, and designers in Argentina, Brazil and the United States to create a best-in-class Futsal shoe that stays true to their values of making products that are authentic to the game while prioritizing a social impact emphasis to support the Futsal community.
While Futsal remains one of the fastest growing sports globally, there is still significant work to be done domestically here in the United States and worldwide to create dynamic and inclusive opportunities for all to enjoy Futsal.
“It’s been very rewarding to work in the Futsal world for so long and watch it grow as much as it has,” says Santi Halty.
“In Argentina, kids would play pick-up Futsal and soccer simply to have fun in parks without medals or trophies at stake. In pick-up, your pride is at stake! We want to have Senda help continue to bring that same culture to the United States.”
SANTIAGO HALTY, Senda Athletics, Founder & CEO
Santiago Halty leads Senda Athletics’ overarching business strategy, working to develop relationships with teams and companies that recognize the value of craftsmanship and Fair Trade. Halty works on Senda’s Futsal ball collaborations with companies like Google, Clif Bar, and universities like UC Berkeley and Stanford. When Santiago is not at Senda’s offices he can be found assistant coaching East Bay United’s Arsenal U-18 team, playing pick up, attending San Jose Earthquakes games, and going to entrepreneurship events across the Bay Area and globally.
MARK WYSOCKI, Pivot Futsal, Founder & Chief Editor
Mark Wysocki is an accomplished sports business & Futsal professional with 10+ years in the sports industry supporting some of the world’s leading corporate brands and rising small businesses. Wysocki has been very connected to the Futsal community over the years across the United States & internationally as a consultant, professional Futsal player, program director, strategist, coach, and advocate of the sport.