One Two Magazine May Edition - Page 6

THE BENEFITS OF FUTSAL The Spanish U14 Cup Final was played in front of 500 fans and streamed live. Barcelona beat Catgas to retain their crown as the Spanish champions. New Zealander Matt Fejos has been involved in the game of futsal for nearly ten years as a player, coach, referee and development officer. He now lives in Manchester where he coaches futsal and is undertaking his FA and UEFA qualifications. He regularly blogs about his experiences and the people he meets through futsal at Recently, he spent 10 days in Spain and watched the men’s Spanish Cup, as well as the U14s in training and matches. Here he uses this experience and new perspective on the game to discuss the benefits of playing futsal in an exclusive for Grass Roots Football. The benefits of futsal are often misconstrued, and although it is not a guaranteed pathway to success or a GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL total solution to the development of players, the effect of futsal is simply too big to ignore. The correlation of the very best football players and their exposure to futsal is clear: Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar all credit futsal as being important in their development. But maybe this thinking can cloud our thinking and limit the true potential of futsal. I first came across the word ‘futsal’ in 2007 in Wellington, New Zealand and the bug got me so bad that just three years later I was working as a full time futsal development officer for the regional football confederation. Here’s why I love the game and what I see as the benefits: More touches = more practise. More skill developed and more time getting comfortable with the ball at the feet. Often these are in 1v1 or tight situations, so holding the ball up, and taking players on are experienced far more than in regular football. More intense. This is why I fell in love with the game when I first played. With not only the reduced space, but kick-ins and outs, you are met with pressure every time you receive the ball. Dealing with this is a big challenge so you are always engaged. 6