Futsal Fives Arrives in Braintree and Barking

Coach Steve Bartlett intends to draw on the interest generated by November’s 2012 Futsal World Cup in Thailand by attracting teams to one of two FA Fu
Brazil and Spain are amongst the frontrunners as previous winners of the tournament, which will be televised from the 1st to the 18th November on Eurosport. And if viewers in Essex decide they’d like to try the popular brand of football for themselves, two new leagues are being promoted at opposite ends of the County in Braintree and Barking.

Bartlett, League Coordinator at Braintree, hopes to see as many teams put forward as possible, explaining: “A lot of the superstars we now watch compete across the world gained their foundation in Futsal. It’s relatively new to England, only being recognised and supported by The FA since 2004. It’s widely played across the world, and is the small-sided football format which 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 it’s subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies which can be translated into the eleven-a-side format of the game. Internationally the game also hosts World Cups and Continental Championships, and we’ve got one coming up.”

Futsal is a growing worldwide format which differs from the regular five-a-side style familiar to many in the UK. The main differences are marked lines rather than rebound boards - meaning the ball can go out of play - 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.

“I’d strongly recommend small-sided football to anyone,” explained new Essex County FA Development Officer, Andrew Crowl, who arrived at the County Office in September. “Braintree College have been running Futsal sessions for over two years now and they’ve really developed the game in their area. Both venues have ideal facilities for Futsal.”

Anyone aged 16 or over can participate in the open-age tournaments, which are played in a league format, with teams meeting each other twice. Braintree College’s league will take place on Tuesday evenings from the 6th November and there is a fixture for every team on match evenings in one of the 7:00, 7:40pm or 8:20pm slots.

Each side will have a minimum of ten games arranged for them and there will be trophies and prizes for the winners. The SportHouse League will start on Thursday 8th November, but they’ve organised an open night on Tuesday 30th October to generate support for the league. It will initially have eight teams, playing 14 games each.

If you’d like to enter a team into the Braintree League, please call Steven Bartlett (League Coordinator) on (07901) 652700 or (01206) 814136 or E-Mail steven.bartlett@colchester.ac.uk. To join up at SportHouse, or find out more about their open day, call (020) 3004 4123 or E-Mail jamie.callary@sporthouse.co.uk.

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