Futsal organiser Rob Brassett has reported that the small-sided format is thriving in Barking as the local FA Futsal Fives League expands for its second season in April, while Essex County FA Football Development Officers Nick Emery and Andrew Crowl have also noted progress in the area.
A growing worldwide format, Futsal differs from the regular five-a-side style familiar to many in the UK, with the main differences including marked lines rather than rebound boards, meaning the ball can go out of play. Square goals, heavier and ‘reduced bounce’ balls and a strict five-foul discipline law encourage closer ball control and the game can prove a useful tool for players looking to improve their touch and technique.
A lot of the current 11v11 superstars competing across the world gained their foundation in Futsal. It’s relatively new to England, only being recognised and supported by The FA since 2004. The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, and it’s subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies which can be translated into the eleven-a-side game.
Brassett was one of the inaugurators of the Barking competition when it got off the ground in November and it has since grown to eight teams, with a number on a waiting list for when it resumes for another forthcoming campaign. Based at the new SportHouse venue, which was used for a recent England international double-header against Turkey, the league has attracted some established players already.
“We’re still in a position to welcome new clubs as we’re aiming to start a second division,” Brassett explained. “We’ve not be going for long but we’re already looking towards the middle of April. We’ve had a couple of youngsters join as players and we’d like to attract more individuals and teams as there have been quite a few starting in the area. Even the Lithuanian national team’s goalkeeper plays in our league for a team called FC Siauliai!”
Anyone aged 16 or over can participate in the open-age league at SportHouse which has been running since November, initially with the eight teams playing 14 games each. With a view to the future, Under 18s recently enjoyed a one-off tournament delivered by the Essex County FA to introduce them to Futsal and signpost them to the adult league.
Seven schools and colleges attended and the matches were played in a ‘round robin’ format, with All Saints School from Dagenham winning the contest overall. Four referees were in attendance and all the teams improved in an informal atmosphere as the games went on, despite many having never played Futsal before.
To join the league, call (020) 3004 4123 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Futsal development also features in various places on this website and Andrew can be contacted by phone on (01245) 393074 or E-Mail at email@example.com. For Nick, call (01245) 393077 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information is shared on Twitter at www.twitter.com/EssexCountyFA.