Football Development Officers at the Essex County FA are keen to display that it’s not just 11v11 leagues which gather pace during September - Futsal is also being keenly contested in the north and the south of the County as new leagues get underway at The College at Braintree and Newham Leisure Centre.
Recognised and supported by FIFA, UEFA and The FA, Futsal is now played worldwide and differs from the regular five-a-side style familiar to many in the UK. The main differences are marked lines rather than rebound boards as well as square goals, heavier and ‘reduced bounce’ balls and a strict five-foul discipline law. It encourages closer ball control and the game can prove a useful tool for players looking to improve their touch and technique.
The format is becoming increasingly popular in Essex - a Small-Sided Focus County - and there are two new competitions to satisfy the hunger for the game. The Mayor’s Newham Futsal Leagues are amongst the leading elite adult Futsal leagues in England and have been coordinated and run by the London Borough of Newham since 2006. Their new Second Division takes place every Thursday from 7:00 to 10:00pm at Newham Leisure Centre in Plaistow.
The College at Braintree’s Under 16s Futsal League is open to Under 16s and 15s clubs, with the entries limited to eight teams. One game per team takes place every Thursday evening up to the final play-off night on 15th November. The cost is £15 per team, per week, with kick-off times scheduled at 7:10pm, 7:45pm and 8:20pm. The Adult League operates on the same terms but on Tuesday evenings, also Church Lane, with the finals on 18th December.
They are hoping to make a name for themselves in the national Futsal framework and, in April and May, they set-up a raft of Elite Futsal Education Programme trials. They’ve since developed a brand new team with the assistance of the Essex County FA and this league is the next step in their development, which also aims to increase participation.
For further information on the Braintree leagues, please call League Coordinator Steven Bartlett on (01206) 814136 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a team form. All league details will be sent on receipt of the form. For the Newham Leagues contact Darren Watson via (020) 3373 3305 or email@example.com or visit www.newham.gov.uk/whatson.