Futsal is the fastest growing indoor sport in the world. Already hugely popular in South America, Eastern Europe and Asia, it is beginning to make its mark throughout the United Kingdom. Seth Burkett, Vice-Chair of the AU futsal club, takes us through this thrilling sport.
Futsal is not only recognised for its ability to provide a developmental tool for football, but also as a fast, fun and engaging sport in its own right which emphasises technical competence, creativity and the ability to play in tight spaces under pressure.
It is the only small-sided variant of football recognised by FIFA. Games are played indoors between two teams of five players over two halves of twenty minutes, timed by a stop-clock. Because of the fast and intense nature of the game, unlimited substitutions are allowed, and each team can have a squad of up to twelve players. Unlike traditional five-a-side there are no restrictions in the playing area – players can freely enter and exit the penalty area – and there is no head-height rule.
The first Loughborough student futsal club was set up in 2006 by Head Football Coach Tom Curtis, Director of Football James Ellis and second team manager Idafe Perez Jimenez. They won their first honours in that inaugural year, lifting the Leicestershire League title. In 2008, the other universities caught on, and the first BUCS championships in futsal were arranged. Loughborough subsequently won the gold medal, overcoming Hartpury College on penalties in the final.
The following year, Loughborough became founding members of the FA National Futsal League, which they still compete in to this day. The club has built an impressive reputation as the most successful university side in England, and are the current holders of the BUCS Futsal Championships after overcoming Brighton 7-0 in last season’s final.
The club prides itself on player development; and numerous players have come through the futsal programme at Loughborough to represent their country at international level. There are currently four full internationals playing for Loughborough University. A further four players are members of the England under-21 squad, managed by Loughborough Head Coach Michael Skubala.
This season has seen the club continue to grow, with the consolidation of the development programme – aided by over 200 people turning out for trials – and plans for an under-18 side in the pipeline. If you are interested in getting involved at Loughborough Futsal then follow us @Lborofutsal or like us on Facebook.