Ever wonder why Spain and Barcelona effortlessly keep control of the ball? The answer could lie in a new type of football that is starting to take over Merseyside.

A smaller pitch, a smaller, less bouncy ball and teams of five playing between lines, not walls. Welcome to the world of Futsal – something Merseyside is incredibly good at.

This area of the country takes its football at all levels very seriously and after bringing the UK its first ever Futsal club in Tranmere Victoria, Liverpool FA and league co-ordinator Tony Smith developed one of the nation’s first FA Futsal Five Leagues last autumn.

Following Liverpool’s recent Wembley triumph, players of Dengo United and Tranmere are preparing to represent their league in a FA Futsal Five showdown prior to the England Futsal international with Switzerland in Hereford on Friday March 9th.

As two of the initial FA Futsal Five projects in England, Liverpool along with Northamptonshire were selected to provide a team for the exhibition game on Friday evening at Point 4.

“As we have two separate leagues up here, we decided to combine the two teams in the squad that we take down to Hereford” said league co-ordinator Smith, who has been involved in Futsal for almost five years.

“Tranmere were the winners of our Monday night league and they are made up of players who also play for Tranmere Victoria in the FA National Futsal League North.

“Dengo United won our Wednesday night league and although they are primarily a Sunday League side, they have been front runners in Futsal up here for the past four or five years.”

Futsal on Merseyside already has a proud tradition, so the formation of any local league in the area must meet some very high standards.

As already suggested, Futsal already had a solid background in Liverpool, but when the FA Futsal Fives programme was unveiled last autumn, Smith explained  how it gave their leagues a fresh impetus.

“For the past four or five years we have run a men’s and women’s league each year in Liverpool in line with the FA Futsal Cup.

“The winners of each would qualify to represent the area in the Cup and we’ve seen some fantastic performances.

“The FA Futsal Fives gave us the opportunity to run a league all year round not just in the spring.”

The Liverpool league began in September 2011 with 24 teams. Now at the half way stage of the league’s second season, this number has increased by eight, with 24 men’s teams and eight women’s playing each week.

“Getting the league started here wasn’t really that difficult because we had already had something running annually. It was just a matter of selling this new format to the teams and retaining them.

“We did aim to create an extra men’s division though and offered a free taster session of Futsal for new teams which made recruitment quite easy.

“Once we got teams down to play or watch games being played, Futsal sold the league for us.

“People only have to see this sport played once to catch the bug.”

With interest in Futsal growing on Merseyside, Smith says that the Liverpool league has a great future and plans are in place to look to expand once more before the start of season three. With the 32 teams involved though, the league is currently at full capacity so in order to expand, Smith is on the lookout for new venues in the county.

“We are searching for suitable venues to help our leagues progress.

“We have 32 teams playing each week but there is definitely potential for more. We have a great project coming up working with local clubs to run a Youth Futsal Festival and off the back of this we are looking to produce a Youth Futsal League programme to accompany the senior leagues.”

Futsal fever is high on Merseyside and the future for the local league system is looking very bright indeed. Interest in Futsal is growing all the time in Liverpool and Smith says it has had some very surprising results.

“Everybody who has got involved in the Liverpool league has loved it” he explained. “Some of them have been really taken aback by the physical demands the sport puts on you as a player.

“Many of the players have begun turning to coaches and managers and suggested that they stop normal training altogether and use Futsal as a preparation tool for their Football games.

“This is exactly what we want to see and hopefully over time other areas, not just Liverpool will see this change in attitude.”

When asked what his advice would be to anyone looking to get involved in Futsal and the FA Futsal Fives programme, Smith’s advice was short and sweet.

“If you’re thinking of having a go, don’t hesitate, give Futsal a try. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.”

Liverpool Futsal Club

You can follow Tony on Twitter @dengodiver

  One Response to “Futsal fever arrives on Merseyside”

  1. [...] To find out more about Futsal in Merseyside and why its developing into an exciting place for Futsal follow the link to this insightful article on Footballeditorial.com. http://www.footballeditorial.com/2012/03/futsal-fever-arrives-on-merseyside/ [...]

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