So You Want To Try: Futsal

When the year hits Autumn, and some sports shut down for the year, one sport is hitting its height in and around Scotland. People love Football, five-a-side or even playing in a park with your mates, however, there’s a new version competing with the usual ball games – Futsal.

Despite the sport being played in Scotland since 1997, the sport has flourished in recent times, with the sport now looking to reach out to new areas in the likes of Inverness and Ayrshire.

However, one of the most recent additions to the Futsal branch was a league set up in Glasgow, currently played at the Tollcross Leisure Centre. The Glasgow Futsal League season started on 23 October, kicking off a highly contested league which runs until April.

As well as this, the teams will play such competitions as the Glasgow Summer Cup. The winners of the regional league then progress to the national finals, the Scottish Championship. The winners of that competition then have the honour of representing Scotland in the UEFA Futsal Cup in the following season.

Currently in the Glasgow area, the league consists of eight teams: Adventure Kicks Futsal Club (FC), C.D. Los Pumas FC, Glasgow Deaf FC, Glasgow FC, North Kelvin United FC, Persian Athletic FC, TJ Slovak Lads FC and TMT FC in an exciting league.

But what is Futsal? According to the description on the official Scottish Futsal website: “The game of Futsal is uncannily similar to fives football whereas the emphasis lies in technical progression as a player and learning to think ahead of each pass. For those who are unfamiliar with the game, it is played indoors and with a size four ball containing 30% reduced bounce as oppose to a size five football in the game of fives.

“Each team has five players and with no ball height restriction they are free to play any tactics they like. With only a five foul limit before a direct free-kick is given from the ten metre line, players need to remain disciplined. Besides a few more rules there are few further complications. It is a case of letting the football do the talking.”

It is certainly an exciting spectacle, with many scores running into double figures, such as C.D. Los Pumas beating North Kelvin United 10-0 or Glasgow Deaf FC beating Glasgow FC 14-2 in a high-scoring league.

TMT were able to give some background to the sport and the team seemed pleased with their season so far. They said through their Twitter account that: “Well we’ve just started in the past month or so. Futsal is new to us but we are enjoying it. There [are] eight teams and we all play each other twice. The season runs from now and will finish [in] mid-April with a few tournaments thrown in to pad out the season. It’s very competitive.

“As we come from a five-a-side background we are trying to test ourselves at a different style of mini football and Futsal has given us that option. We do enjoy it, but we joined the league for competition.”

The team were even able to further highlight how Futsal differs from other ball sports in their style of play. “Futsal is a tougher game as you don’t get much time on the ball and your fitness levels have to be a lot better at Futsal also. [It uses a] hard surface and [is] played with a smaller ball.”

The team are not the only ones to enjoy the new phenomenon either, with rivals C.D. Los Pumas recently tweeting that,“With a healthy mix of futsal styles and talented teams, it’s safe to say that the @GlasgowFutsal league is coming along nicely.”

It’s not even just the adult league that’s booming, as youth systems for the sport are in full force training youngsters. The likes of ‘Joga Futbol’ are holding sessions in Glasgow for kids throughout December, advertising footballers such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Philippe Coutinho who grew up playing Futsal.

The same can be said for ‘Futsal Escocia’, another Futsal training group focusing on youngsters, based in Fife. The sport even looks like one that could be easily replicable by students as it wouldn’t be that hard to find a size four ball to play with, even replacing the hard surface with concrete if that was all that was available.

It doesn’t look like a sport which has the largest fan following, with some teams only having one or two hundred followers on Twitter, however, it looks to be slowly picking up. With this support and excitement evolving, it is clear that the sport should keep rolling forward in optimism around Scotland.

Who knows, with the work being put into highlighting the sport, the next big Scottish footballer might emerge from the sport to play in the Glasgow area.

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