Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced, small-sided football game which is widely played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA.

The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, and is subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies which can be translated into the eleven-a-side format of the game.

Futsal is a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey-sized goals and a size four ball with a reduced bounce. It is played to touchlines, and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head height. Games are 20 minutes per half, played to a stopping clock (similar to basketball), with timeouts permitted.

There are a number of differences to our traditional version of small-sided football, but the dominant elements are the absence of rebound boards and amendments in the laws which encourage and foster skilful, creative play above the physical contact which tends to be a feature of English five-a-side. The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.

Many of the top world class footballers played Futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their footballing development; players of the calibre of Pele, Zico, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Lionel Messi to name but a few of the South American legends who all played and enjoyed Futsal. Futsal has not just helped produce South American football stars. On the European stage Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Xavi and Fabregas amongst many others have played Futsal to develop their skills.

Essex, as one of the nation’s small-sided ‘Focus Counties’, is keen to increase participation in these formats of the game. Could you be our next local hero? Contact your local Football Development Officer to find out more about local clubs, sessions and providers.

Hear what these players have to say about the game...

“Futsal was important in helping to develop my ball control, quick thinking, passing. Also for dribbling, balance, concentration. Futsal was very, very important, no doubt.” Pele (FIFA World Cup Winner 1958, 1962 and 1970)

“During my childhood in Portugal, all we played was Futsal. The small playing area helped me improve my close control, and whenever I played Futsal I felt free. If it wasn’t for Futsal, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.” Cristiano Ronaldo (FIFA Player of the Year)

“Football and Futsal have a lot in common. There are different tactics and moves, but there is the same essence of mastering the ball, combining and making quick decisions.” Andres Iniesta (6 x Winner of La Liga, 3 x Winner of the UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup Winner)

"Perhaps in regular football you cannot appreciate the talent. Everything is more physical. But in Futsal you have small details of quality, class and tactical aspects." Xavi (FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League Winner)

“Futsal is an extremely important way for kids to develop their skills and understanding of the game. My touch and my dribbling have come from playing Futsal.” Ronaldinho (Double FIFA World Footballer of the Year)

Play Youth Futsal

There are currently pockets of Futsal activity taking place across the county, either through schools, independent soccer schools or grassroots clubs.

We’d encourage all our clubs to consider Futsal as an affective training tool all year round, but particularly in the winter months when outdoor facilities become difficult to access. Our Football Development Team are keen to support clubs and leagues to help achieve this, and we can provide support and advice to help get you started. The documents at the foot of this page are also a very useful tool to help you get off the ground.

Recreational Sessions

Essex Futsal sessions take place in Braintree, Chelmsford and Witham for boys and girls aged 6-13. Contact Paul Bilecki on (07773) 376087, E-Mail paulcdc@gmail.com or visit www.essexfutsal.co.uk.

Essex County FA Futsal Finals

Each year The FA hold a National Futsal Youth Festival which brings together teams from around the country who have qualified through County and Regional Competitions. From that inception in 2003, we’ve staged county qualifiers through the Essex Schools structure and the competition has grown and grown each year. Following the introduction of an Under 10s age group in 2011, we decided to run this competition for grassroots clubs too. These are the competition formats for each age group:

Under 10s Boys: four group area qualifiers (see the ‘Football Development Officers’ pages for group area details), finals day with eight qualifiers competing.

Under 10s Girls: one finals day - open entry from the Essex County Girls’ League (first come, first served).

Under 12s Boys/ Girls, Under 14s Boys/Girls, Under 16s Boys/Girls: open to all secondary schools across Essex (first come, first served).

Here is the ‘Honours List’ for the County Finals: Under 10s Boys: 2013 - Ryan YFC; 2014 - Horndon YFC. Under 10s Girls: 2013 - Writtle Minors Girls FC; 2014 - West Ham United Girls FC. Under 12s Boys: 2007 - Royal Docks; 2008 - Royal Docks; 2010 - Eastlea; 2011 - St Clere’s; 2012 - Rokeby; 2013 - Marshalls Park; 2014 - Eastbury. Under 12s Girls: 2010 - Shenfield; 2011 - Frances Bardsley; 2012 - Shenfield; 2013 - Shenfield; 2014 - Harris Academy. Under 14s Boys: 2009 - Canon Palmer; 2010 - Shenfield; 2011 - Shenfield; 2012 - Rokeby; 2013 - Eastbury; 2014 - Eastbury. Under 14s Girls: 2011 - Frances Bardsley; 2012 - St Martin’s; 2013 - Frances Bardsley; 2014 - Shenfield. Under 16s Boys: 2011 - Eastbury; 2012 - Shenfield; 2013 - St Martin’s; 2014 - Eastlea Community. Under 16s Girls: 2011 - Frances Bardsley; 2012 - Frances Bardsley; 2013 - Sandon; 2014 - St Martin’s.

Futsal Educational Academies

Braintree Futsal Academy: The College at Braintree is recruiting students aged 16-19 to develop as elite footballers and BTEC Sport Level Two and Three students. The programme aims to ensure the players involved learn the key attributes to be talented sports performers. Combining both components for students encourages the squad members to develop key life skills which prepare them for either higher education or the professional world demands. They value their programme to provide a high level to compare to other similar football programmes which offer a wide range of educational opportunities and exit routes. Contact Steve Bartlett for details via E-Mail at steven.bartlett@braintreefutsal.com.

Southend Futsal Academy: Southend United are now able to offer the chance to play for the Blues whilst learning at Roots Hall Stadium on a Futsal Scholarship. Are you aged 16-19, and are interested in developing your technical skills whilst gaining a qualification that would further your career prospects? Whilst studying a BTEC Level 2 or Level 3 in Sport, you will be given access to the everyday dealings of life as a scholar at Southend United. All studying will take place in the Community Classroom at Roots Hall, delivered by teachers with experience of both coaching and teaching. You will train twice a week to improve your Futsal skills. Southend's coaches will educate you in the game and prepare you for fixtures in a competitive league against other professional clubs, including Premier League giants Chelsea and Southampton. As part of the scholarship, you will be given free tickets to every home Southend United league fixture, plus you'll get regular player visits to help support your education and development as an athlete. For more information, please visit www.sufccommunity.co.uk or call (01702) 341351.

Play Adult Futsal

We are always looking to establish further opportunities for adults to play competitive Futsal.

If any club, local authority, community organisation is interesting in establishing a league, then please contact Nick Emery via (01245) 393077 or nick.emery@essexfa.com.

Recreational Sessions

We are keen to increase the growth of Futsal by providing further opportunities for adults to try the game. If any club, leisure provider, or community organisation are keen to deliver a recreational adult session, please get in touch with your local Football Development Officer.

Leagues

FA Futsal Fives Recreational League: Through the FA Futsal Fives you now have your chance to take part in the fastest-growing indoor format of small-sided football in England. Don’t worry if you’ve never played Futsal before, or you’re not even sure what it actually is - FA Futsal Fives is aimed at offering local opportunities for players of all standards to experience the game for the first time in a fun league setting. We currently have one Futsal Fives League in Essex running at the GLL Sporthouse in Barking which takes place on Thursday nights. To get involved, contact Rob O’Brien via sporthouse-futsal5@outlook.com. Find out more about Futsal Fives at www.thefa.com/my-football/player/futsal/futsal-fives.

Clubs

We currently have three FA National League clubs based in Essex. For more information on the National League itself, visit http://englandfutsal.com/fa-national-futsal-league.

Baku Futsal Club: Baku are the current national champions and they play their home games at the Copper Box in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. They have an aim to raise the standards of Futsal in England and be successful in both national and European competitions. Baku were the first English club to reach the Main Round of the UEFA Futsal Cup in 2013. In forthcoming seasons, the club is determined to reach the Elite Round of the most prestigious Futsal tournament in Europe. Contact Oleksandr Saliy via E-Mail at alexsaliy@hotmail.com, call (07535) 676162 or visit the club’s website at www.bakutd.co.uk for details.

Barking Futsal Club: Barking are an FA National League Futsal Club who cover the East London and Essex areas. They are funded, so they don’t charge to play. Barking train every week and play National League matches on Sundays. Their home ground is based at Barking Sporthouse in Dagenham. The team is managed by Pete Goodwin and the main focus is on player development. They are always looking for experienced Futsal players or if you are new to Futsal but are a talented street, five-a-side or football player. The club is also always looking for dedicated backroom staff and coaches. For more information, contact Bobby Kavanagh on (07961) 426752 or Pete Goodwin on (07783) 743517 or E-Mail barkingfutsal@yahoo.com. Their website is at www.barkingfutsal.com.

Braintree Futsal Club: Braintree Futsal Club are members of the South Division Two. The club was founded on a desire to pioneer the development of Futsal throughout Mid Essex and to take the club to the highest level of English Futsal. They have put solid foundations in place for future growth and success as the popularity of Futsal in England gathers pace, building strong partnerships with both the Braintree Futsal Academy based at the College at Braintree and the Essex County FA. The club are always looking to build all aspects of the club from youths to adults. Training is on Tuesdays from 7:00pm-8:30pm at the College at Braintree, Church Lane, Braintree, CM7 5SN. Fixtures are on Sundays, with various kick-off times. Contact Steve Bartlett via steven.bartlett@colchester.ac.uk or (07901) 652 700 or visit the club’s website at www.braintreefutsal.com.

Coach Futsal

Futsal is a game in its own right and as such has its own tactics, techniques and skills which need to be mastered. With the game being new to this country, the understanding and knowledge of these areas is limited.

For Futsal to grow and develop and have an impact on player development, The FA recognise the importance of ensuring there is an appropriate and structured Futsal coach education pathway and programme in place to support coaches across the country who are keen to deliver Futsal.

As in all sports, it is important that coaches are properly qualified and have attended the appropriate coaching courses to support them in effectively developing players and maintaining participant enjoyment. Futsal is no different, and The FA recommends that Futsal coaches and teachers attend the FA Futsal coaching courses.

The FA is continuing to develop Futsal coaching courses to ensure they meet the needs of English coaches. Currently The FA runs the following courses: FA Beginners Guide to Futsal (delivered by the Essex County FA); Futsal Level 1 (delivered nationally). For more information on these courses, visit www.englandfutsal.com/futsal-education-learning/coaching-futsal.

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