Another weekend of Futsal action came to a close yesterday as the 2012 FA National Youth Futsal Festival was played out at the National Futsal Centre in Birmingham.
It was a weekend of thrills, spills and fabulous Futsal action, showcasing the best young teams from around the country and potentially some of the nation’s future stars at both Futsal and football in the process.
The Festival finals were played out across two days, with Saturday being the finals day for the younger age groups (U10s and U12s, boys and girls) before the older age groups hit the courts on Sunday (U14s and U16s, boys and girls).
Each year, the excitement prior to these finals seems to continue to grow. This season was no different. Prior to reaching the finals, teams were required to earn their place by qualifying from a Regional Finals event for their region. This year that was more difficult than ever, with 530 boys’ and 540 girls’ teams competing in initial qualifying events, before progressing through to one of eight regional finals, giving the children a fantastic opportunity to taste a finals day Futsal experience.
Eighty teams arrived in Birmingham across the eight age groups, all battling it out for the right to be named National Champions.
The U10s age groups were the first to be decided on Saturday evening, with East Hull Saints reigning supreme in the boys’ final, beating Marine Academy 3-0. Hereford Lads Club were crowned girls’ champions after they were victorious over gallant runners-up St Anne's.
Blidworth SR Elite Coaching won the boys’ U12s category, beating Hayesbrook School 2-1 in a very tight and hotly contested final. They were joined by girls’ winners Farsley Celtic, who beat Rickmansworth 6-5 on penalties after playing out a very rare 0-0 draw.
Sunday’s action built on what was a fantastic Saturday. All teams were competitive and the quality of Futsal on show was a real credit to the fantastic work of each and every coach. Desborough School defeated Whitecross Sports Academy in the boys’ U14s final, whilst Gedling School were named girls’ champions at that age group after beating Bishops of Hereford 1-0.
The very impressive St Andrew's won the U16s boys’ competition, hammering Franks Tanks from the South West 9-1 in the final. They were joined by Forrest Green Rovers Girls, who beat Frances Bardsley 3-2 on penalties to decide the destination of the weekend’s final trophy.
The standard of Futsal on show in Birmingham was phenomenal and on a weekend where Spain, a giant in the Futsal world, won Euro 2012, The FA National Youth Futsal Festival showcased the level of skill and ability that English youngsters possess.
Every coach, parent and supporter who travelled to Birmingham this weekend will now realise that Futsal can unearth some fine talent.