Futsal keeps kids playing during the winter freeze

Friday 06 Feb 2015
Futsal provides a chance for youngsters to keep playing during winter months
The recent freezing temperatures may have seen many 11-a-side matches cancelled, but The FA are helping a large number of youth leagues across the country to establish indoor Futsal provision to ensure children continue to get the opportunity to play football throughout the winter.

Recent years have seen a number of harsh winters with snow, floods and other poor weather conditions affecting the amount of football being played.  

Of course this affects all participants of the game, adult as much as youth.  

FA National Youth Futsal Festival

More and more youngsters are playing Futsal in the winter months

But for young players learning the game and developing their skills and love for football, these long absences during the winter months without any football can be particularly detrimental.  

This winter 32 youth leagues around the country have changed their winter programme to offer over 12,000 young players (boys and girls) the opportunity to play Futsal.  

Futsal is a 5-a-side format of the game that is primarily played in indoor sports-halls and is recognised for the benefits it can impart on the technical development of young players.  

So not only will young boys and girls be escaping the harsher winter elements by playing indoors, but they will also be playing a format of the game that can significantly support their development.

This has only been possible with financial support from The FA, recognising the merits of encouraging young people to play more Futsal, by establishing a small grants fund to help FA Charter Standard Youth Leagues overcome some of the initial barriers and obstacles in introducing Futsal.  

Small set-up grants have been used by the leagues to cover costs such as equipment, goal-posts, pitch-markings and to support the education of coaches and referees.  Importantly, this project will help nearly 1,000 grassroots youth coaches in attaining their FA Futsal Level 1 coaching course and 500 local referees becoming qualified to referee a Futsal match.

"For some time we have recognised the value Futsal can have in supporting the development of young players, and initiatives like this can help inspire a cultural change in the football landscape to encourage leagues and clubs across the country to embed Futsal into their plans,” said Simon Walker, The FA National Development Manager who leads on Futsal.

Futsal Grand Finals

The FA have provided funding for Charter Standard clubs and leagues to implement Futsal for their players

"There is a growing awareness in this country of the benefits of Futsal, and it is a huge step that so many large youth leagues have embraced the game as it will result in their clubs, coaches and players benefiting from this format of the game."

And Andrew Hailwood, FA National Development Manager for Leagues, was delighted with the commitment from so many FA Charter Standard Leagues towards developing Futsal provision. 

"Delivering Futsal is new for many FA Charter Standard Leagues, but there has been an overwhelming response and enthusiasm to embrace Futsal," said Hailwood.

"In order to obtain the small grants that we have been offering, Leagues have outlined their development plans for Futsal reassuring us how they will continue to widen Futsal provision and sustain the activity with their clubs.  

"It is clear that Futsal participation within these leagues will only grow over the coming years, and this will be significantly helped by the large number of grassroots coaches and referees across the country that will obtain FA Futsal coaching and referee qualifications through this funding programme."

The days of the winter football programme being cancelled due to the weather may be long-gone and youth football will definitely benefit with more leagues offering Futsal provision to young players. 

By FA Staff