Youth Futsal taking off
Reading crowned as inaugural FA U18s Futsal Champions.
This weekend saw the National Finals of the inaugural FA U18s National Futsal Championships at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford. Four teams from around the country qualified through regional finals to get the opportunity to play for the right to be called the FA U18 National Champions – for the first time ever.
Reading FC, Middlesbrough Futsal Club, West London Futsal Club and Dengo from Liverpool played in four thrilling matches, which above anything else bodes extremely well for the future of English Futsal. The players from all four clubs demonstrated outstanding technique, skill and understanding of Futsal, and the hope for The FA is that these players continue to play the game and feed into FA National Futsal League clubs over the coming seasons, as many of the young players on show in these National Finals if they continue to develop will have a great chance of getting to play for the England Futsal team.
Reading played Middlesbrough in a closely fought opening game, with Alfee Robbins and Jamal Lowe scoring two apiece for Reading to give them the edge in an exciting end-to-end contest that saw them win 6-4. The Middlesbrough captain James Risbrough had an outstanding game, and along with his team-mates were unfortunate to lose this game. In the other match, Victor Azevedo notched a hat-trick for West London as they stormed to a 6-2 victory against Dengo to set-up a mouth-watering final between West London and Reading.
Before the Final, the third place play-off between Middlesbrough and Dengo was a goal-feast with both teams looking to attack. The Middlesbrough players moved and rotated in fluid Futsal styles, suggesting that many of these U18 players will soon be feeding into their senior National Futsal League first team, with Bradley Mills showing excellent technique; whilst Dengo played a more traditional 5-a-side style, relying heavily on individual talent. Charlie Kelly being the pick of the Dengo players, scoring a hat-trick and showing some audacious skills, but this wasn’t enough to beat Middlesbrough who scored freely with both James Sutton and Matthew Kelsey also hitting hat-tricks to ensure they secured third place with a 10-5 victory.
A tight Final between Reading and West London followed, with both teams playing some entertaining Futsal and showing some incredible potential. The Reading players were well-drilled and played effectively as a unit, but West London still learning some of the finer arts of the game hung in and really pushed the Reading players. Many of the West London players, particularly Azevedo, Castanho and Montes showed raw talent that if nurtured will ensure they have a bright future in the game. But player of the tournament Robbins and Jamal Lowe again shined for Reading, along with Oben and Chilcott, and helped them to a 4-2 victory and being crowned FA U18 National Champions.
The future certainly is bright for English Futsal if more young players of this calibre start coming through the system.