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The UK’s first dedicated futsal news publication

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Issue 1

FEATURES: England’s big win in Africa FA National League kick-off

Stats, fixtures and previews for the new season Pre-season match reports

INSIDE ISSUE 1 THIS WEEK:

The Big Interview: Middlesbrough manager Damon Shaw - page 4 Fixtures: All the matches for the 2010 season’s kick-off - page 5 England on Tour: Goalkeeping coach Tony Elliott’s Libya diary - page 6-7


Sunday, January 10, 2010

UK Futsal News

Issue 1

Welcome to UKFN Message from the Editor, David Smeathers...

Welcome all to the first ever edition of UK Futsal News and thank you all for taking time out to read. This paper has been put together with the helpful hands of several members of the UK futsal community and a fair bit of graft from myself. I’ll try not to bore you too much with my history but you’ll have to endure at least a little of it! I am currently living and working in Leeds

Issue no. 1

Welcome readers to the first ever edition of UK Futsal News, a dedicated futsal news magazine following England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s biggest and best futsal teams throughout the season. From the English FA national futsal leagues to the FPL in Scotland we will be covering as many fixtures, results and news stories as possible over the coming few months. If you are from a futsal club in the UK, get in contact with us with your story or news and we’ll do our best to get it published. Issue number 1 has been coincided to be released on the day of the opening fixtures in the FA National Futsal league in England. If you would like to subscribe to the magazine please follow the details listed overleaf. We thank you for reading and hope you enjoy UK Futsal News.

and I am still associated with Leeds Futsal Club, trying, usually in vain, to maintain myself as a player. Recently I completed a course in print journalism, hence my obsession with the newspaper or magazine format. If you feel there is a hefty bias towards Leeds, and, in fact, the northern futsal conference, then you’d be right. Due to the fact this is a free magazine, it’s difficult to compile detailed news on anything other than what I can attend myself and what generous people send in themselves. If you have enjoyed reading the content in this publication but you feel you can contribute more in terms of depth and features,

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please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I am always on the lookout for help with this project and for it to work it is going to rely heavily on the feedback and input it gets from its readers. Hopefully I haven’t put you off too much of what I think you will find is an informative and interesting read, there’s not much left for me to say but please enjoy this first issue, tell as many people as you can about it and we’ll try to make this one of the best futsal news publications in the UK.

Thank you again for your support and lets all look forward to an action packed 2010.

English FA national futsal leagues fully prepared for 2010 season kick-off

Futsal FA Cup

The FA Futsal cup which has ran since 2003 is to be dropped for 2010 which could bring the FA’s commitment to promoting futsal in England into disrepute. The showpiece competition, which is currently held by Southern league side Helvecia, has been seen as a chance for teams not competiting in the national league setup to compete against the country’s best teams. Last season’s competition saw Helvecia triumph 2-1 in a tight final over Loughborough. Thirty-two teams in both men’s and womens divisions qualified for the competition which, like its footballing equivalent, is seen as the most important trophy to win in the futsal calendar.

UK Futsal News Editor: David Smeathers Email: d_s1@hotmail.com UKFN is designed and Produced in Leeds We are currently looking for writers and general contributions to UKFN. If you have a story and would like to see it published please send it in to the editor. For advertising opportunities or general enquiries again use the editor’s contact details.

by David Smeathers

AFTER a three month wait, England’s futsal elite will today return to the big stage for the third year of the FA national futsal competitions. Twenty-four teams from the north, midlands and south will all compete for six places in the national play-offs for a chance to be named English national league champions 2010. This year has seen a reshuffle in both the northern and midlands conferences with new arrivals, teams switching divisions and some even dropping out altogether. In the north, last season’s seven team division has been upped to eight in line with the rest of the leagues. Champions Middlesbrough stay in the league along with Manchester Futsal Club and Grimsby and are joined by no fewer than five new, albeit familiar, sides this season. Liverpool Futsal Club and Oldham Athletic Futsal Club both joined the northern league this year after

qualifying through a five-team play-off in October 2009. The 2010 season will be their first ever involvement at the top flight of English futsal. Sheffield and Hallamshire have joined with local rivals Sheffield FC and have already been tipped as being title favourites after the capture of England internationals Ben Mortlock and Curtis Holmes from Tranmere Victoria. Last season’s basement strugglers FC Barsa, from Leeds, have dropped out of the league for 2010 to be replaced by a newly-formed side, Leeds Futsal Club, comprised of players from local universities and the former FC Barsa squad. Tranmere Victoria, northern champions in 2008, have rejoined the division after a successful spell in the midlands conference where they won the title at the first time of asking. The midlands league has also seen huge changes following the three-month

break between seasons. Champions Tranmere have gone back to the north, and last season’s third placed side The New Saints have left the league. Loughborough Futsal club have made the step from north to midlands after an impressive season where they finished as league runner-up and made the FA Cup final only to lose to southern side Helvecia. Chippenham, Hereford and Stamford join the 2009 cohort to make up this year’s contingent of eight teams. The southern league remains untouched from 2009 with two-time victors Helvecia aiming for a third title in a row to add to their FA Cup winners medals won last year. Teams in the northern league will also enjoy home fixtures for the first time, moving away from the centralised venue in Sheffield. For a full roundup of today’s national league fixtures see page 5.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

UK Futsal News

Issue 1

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Liverpool Futsal Club join English top flight By Ronnie Johnson Liverpool Futsal Club Manager Liverpool Futsal Club took part in the FA National Futsal League North Playoff Finals at Hillsborough Leisure Centre in Sheffield. We competed against Albert Park Futsal Club, East Coast Futsal Club, Oldham Athletic Futsal Club and University of York Futsal Club for a place in the FA National Futsal League North in January 2010. Everyone played each other once and the top two teams in the league were promoted. The games were ten minutes each half, no time outs and 3 accumulated fouls per half allowed. This format meant all the ten games could be played in a day. Liverpool Futsal Club vs East Coast Futsal Club: East Coast are a relatively new side who played in the Errea Cup recently against National league sides from England and Uruguay. We opened the scoring after 7 minutes and England International Tom Obasi added a second goal for us minutes later. Two minutes into the second half Pete Catling made it 3-0 for us. Rob Haworth added a fourth goal with 5 minutes to go. A great start for us, finishing 4-0. Liverpool Futsal Club vs University of York Futsal Club: University of York are the oldest Futsal playing University,

playing the game since 1998. York took the lead against the run of play after five minutes. Rob Haworth equalised for us and we made it 2-1 minutes later. We bombarded them second half hitting the bar and the post five times. York started to think their luck was in and they equalised with minutes to go. With minutes left we gambled with playing a fly keeper to win the points. A defensive mix up in the last minute gifted York the winner and we lost 3-2 very much against the run of play. At this point our heads were down. Looking at the results and fixtures it became clear that goal difference could now play a big part in deciding the competition. Oldham were unbeaten and ourselves and York had lost a game. With York having the better goal difference. We went into the third game knowing we had to improve our goal difference in that game with us due to play unbeaten Oldham last game. Liverpool Futsal Club vs Albert Park Futsal Club: Our lads responded brilliantly. It was now clear to us we had to win our remaining games to qualify and we had to improve

our goal difference in this game to put pressure on the other teams. Tom Obasi opened the scoring on three minutes, only for Albert Park to equalise a minute later. Tom added his second goal on nine minutes and completed a superb first half hattrick in the last minute to give us a 3 -1 lead at half-time. We made it 4-1 in the opening minute of the second half. We added a fifth four minutes later and made it 6-1 a minute later. Albert Park pulled a goal back with two minutes to go for it to finish 6-2 to us. York had now played all their games and we had Oldham to play in our last game, who had won all their games. We had to beat Oldham to secure a top two finish and goal difference would decide who got promoted with us. Liverpool Futsal Club vs Oldham Athletic Futsal Club: The match started slowly. Obviously now goal difference was important and Oldham could not afford to lose by two goals or they would go out. 7 minutes into the first half Oldham scored and went in at half time 1-0 up. At his point we were dead and buried. Oldham had shut up shop and were blocking everything we could throw at

them. We kept piling on the pressure. Then we got an equaliser with a few minutes left. A draw still wasn't good enough and with the game into the last minute we remained in third place....then with 7 seconds left on the clock. Oldham gave away a daft foul by our goal. We had a 10 metre penalty with 7 seconds left. Oldham didn't even look like they knew what was happening. I could barely look. We've been playing for 4 years and this next kick would decide whether we had made it to the Futsal elite or not. Everything hinged on it for our club. It was all slow motion now. The keeper in Futsal doesn't not have to stay on his line and he had made some tremendous stops throughout the game. Bang. Goal. The place erupts. Full Time 2-1 to Liverpool. I knew we qualified, but in the heat of the moment I thought we were second. It didn't matter, as long as we'd qualified. The players celebrated then it became obvious what had happened. In 7 seconds, we had gone from being third place and not qualifying to winning the competition. Heartbreak for York as they go out on goals scored with the same goal difference as Oldham. So now Liverpool Futsal Club will play in the FA National Futsal League North in the 20092010.

UKFN is offering advertising spaces to anyone interested in gaining a little more exposure for their company or business. To advertise, all you need to do is contact the editor stating the size, images, and content requirements for a full quote. We are happy to sell ad-

vertising space for any futsal related ventures or even teams looking for that extra bit of promotion. Prices are low and dependant on size. We are selling space for anything from a small two-inch advert to a full or double page. Contact the editor on d_s1@hotmail.com

Follow UKFN with Would you like to facebook and twitter advertise here? For all the latest updates from UKFN, you can now follow the magazine on facebook by visiting http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php ?gid=184971457634. We are now online with twitter and you can follow developments on the social networking site by following us http://twitter.com/ukfn. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to updating you with futsal news throughout 2010.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Three lions win

England’s national side ran out 2-1 winners over African champions Libya in the second of their two game series in early December. Luke Ballinger and Ben Mortlock scored the goals that saw the three lions defeat a side ranked 65 places higher in the world rankings. England had lost previously to Libya 3-2 in their last meeting in December 2008 at the Sir David Wallace Building in Loughborough. Their latest results have been a far cry from their first results in 2006 when a team made up from players picked from the footballing non-league were handed out drubbings from the more established futsal order. For a full diary of England’s tour in Libya see page 6-7

B’ham signing

Team United Birmingham’s ladies have made a coup in the transfer market picking up Republic of Ireland women’s football international Jemma Connor-Iommi. Jemma was invited to train with the squad after impressing coach Ikhlaq Hussain whilst playing against Team United. Hussain said: “Jemma has the ability to become a very good futsal player, her attitude and commitment is faultless. Something that’s impressed me even more is her mental strength and energy levels. Jemma has the ability to play in any position on the court.” Connor-Iommi is relishing the futsal challenge. She said: “The tempo in futsal is very high, it keeps me on my toes constantly making decisions and playing in confined spaces. It will definitely improve my overall game and above all, I really enjoy the sessions and think it is great fun.”

INTERNATIONAL: Signs for United

Italian chance for English

Management and Sports Promotion, an Italian firm responsible for pushing through the transfer of Matthew Wooton from Middlesbrough to Club AS di Cosenza, are offering open trials to players interested in plying their trade in Italy. The trials will be taking place on February 22-24, 2010. Coaches and players are welcome to ask any questions about the trial days by emailing Paolo Barbarossa on msp.secretary@yahoo.it.

UK Futsal News

Issue 1

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The big Interview Every month UKFN will be speaking to one of the leading characters in UK futsal. This week Middlesbrough manager Damon Shaw tell us about his career so far. UKFN: Welcome and thank you for talking with UKFN DS: It's a pleasure! UKFN: How long have you been involved in the UK futsal scene? I got involved with futsal in 2005 and set up Teesside University Futsal Club in the October of that year, so it's pushing five years now. I actually discovered The FA Futsal Cup in the April of that year and tried to assemble a team to play in that, but the Durham league never went ahead. UKFN: You've had a helping hand in a lot of the good work in futsal in the North of England, how far has the it come since you first got involved? DS: When I set up the club, there were no competitions to play in. There was no structured national competition and it was down to regional organisers to run leagues to provide finalists for The FA Futsal Cup. We are now into the 3rd season of the FA Futsal League, the university championship is the biggest competition in the UK and most clubs have a good structure so we have come a long way and I’m proud to have been a part of that. We are still at the start of a journey, but we are heading in the right direction. I don't think it will be too long until we see contract players and that will be a huge milestone. UKFN: What else needs to be done to make futsal more popular across the UK? DS: There needs to be more media coverage and it's up to clubs to do this regionally. It also needs to be more accessible to anybody, but the lack of facility is a major barrier. The good thing is, schools are buying in to futsal and in Teesside a lot of schools are playing futsal as part of their curriculum. A lot of kids know about it now so we just need to keep up the work and in time, it will become very popular! UKFN: There has been rumours that some of the FA national leagues could be televised, what do you make of these rumours? Is televising English futsal a real possibility? DS: It’s great if it’s true, but I doubt there isn't enough money in the game. The odd game each week would be doable and would massively raise the profile of the sport. The FA have excellent links with ITV so to show one game each week can’t be that much to ask. I think futsal deserves a slot,

even if it is at 5am, we would be over the moon! UKFN: You've been in charge of Middlesbrough since it started out and enjoyed your most successful season last year, how far do you think you can take the Teessiders in the future? DS: Since I started my ambition is to win the UEFA Cup with Boro. It’s not going to be any time soon as we have a long way to go in this country before any of our teams are capable of doing that, but I’m only young and have the rest of my life ahead of me. In the near future, I would like Middlesbrough to be recognized as a top 4 team in the country. I think we proved that at the playoffs but the task now is to do that on a regular basis. UKFN: Has there been any changes at Middlesbrough for 2010? DS: Matty Wootton, Nick Hamblin and Ryon Leyshon have moved clubs, while David Herbert has left too. Four very experienced players, but as with last season when we lost Ben Mortlock, Curtis Holmes, Ben Amos and Richard Burgess, four of the five who were the core of the team, we have to move on and the players we have brought in are young, talented and live locally. This has been the aim since the start of Middlesbrough, to have young local players, so that we

can have a consistent team for years to come. UKFN: Will the loss of Ryon Leyshon affect your chances this season? DS: Losing Ryon will be like Man United losing Ronaldo. You can’t replace him directly, but as a team we can only grow. It will place more emphasis on the team as a whole. We played a few games without him last season and coped, but the loss of all four players will certainly affect us. We will miss his goals, his speed and his leadership, but we lost our previous captain Ben Mortlock and went on to win the league so who knows? UKFN: Who are your tips for the playoffs and relegation this season in the Northern conference? DS: I think you have to look at Sheffield who have two teams worth of players from last season, and have added a few England

players, including Leyshon, Holmes and Mortlock – our three former club captains. They should be getting into the playoffs and are my tips to win the league. Tranmere are strong, but unless they inject some youth and speed I think they will struggle against some teams in the North. Manchester are hit and miss, they have Nick Hamblin from us, and they are our bogey team. I am sure they will be strong again, but until the season gets underway we won’t know. For relegation, I think Leeds will one of the favourites to finish bottom, but the two new teams might struggle to adapt and if they do, one could be unfortunate to go straight back down. I still think that Liverpool and Oldham will be strong enough and may even cause some upsets. Grimsby have improved and will be a threat at the top, so sorry but I can’t see anyone other than Leeds on the bottom and Sheffield, Tranmere and Manchester at the top. UKFN: Who do you think will win the overall national playoff? DS: Helvecia are very strong, but not unbeatable. I think they will win it again, though White Bear and Genesis will have something to say about that and whoever goes through from the North will have a good shout given the strength of the teams at the top. UKFN: Do you have any other tournament plans for Middlesbrough outside the league system? DS: Yes, we will have the Tees Valley League in which our youth team will play and the North Riding Cup will run again, which will be opened up to all teams so we have a cup competition to play in seeing as the FA Futsal Cup isn’t on this year. Fortunately the season is shorter and we should find ourselves with games every weekend until June. UKFN: Are there any other futsal projects you are working on at present? DS: Yes there are. I’ve just started a new job at Darlington Football Club so my time is limited for futsal and League 2 is taking over my life but I am putting together a proposal for the board here to introduce futsal in Darlington. Middlesbrough have also just done a successful pilot in an FA Skills centre and in 2010, along with The FA Skills team we will launch a futsal specific FA Skills Centre in Middlesbrough. UKFN: Thank you for sharing your time with UKFN and all the best for the forthcoming season.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

UK Futsal News

Issue 1

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FA National League Fixtures: Week 1 Home Team

Northern Conference

Venue

K.O 13.15

FC Grimsby

v

Oldham Athletic

Gemtec Arena

Manchester FC

v

Middlesbrough FC

Sugden Sports Centre Manchester 13.15

Tranmere Victoria

v

Leeds FC

Northgate Arena Leisure Centre

Sheffield FC Final league League Top standings 2009 Goalscorers 2009

1 - Middlesbrough 2 - Loughborough FC 3 - Manchester 4 - Sheffield & Hallamshire 5 - Sheffield FC 6 - FC Barsa 7 - Grimsby

1 - Mathew Payne 20 (Grimsby / Middlesbrough) 2 - Ryon Leyshon 19 (Middlesbrough) 3 - Joel Rocha 16 (Loughborough)

Liverpool FC Concord Sports Centre 15.15 Fair Play National Northern League 2-1 Oldham L’pool Discipline 2009 Qualifier Playoff Results East Coast 0-2 Albert Park October 31, 2009 1 - FC Barsa Table 6 Yellow York Uni 1-2 Oldham Pts GD 2 - Middlesbrough L’pool 4-0 East Coast Liverpool 9 +8 10 Yellow York Uni 3-0 Albert Park Oldham 9 +5 3 - Grimsby Oldham 2-0 East Coast -------------------------------------12 Yellow L’pool 2-3 York Uni York Uni 9 +4 4 - Sheffield & Oldham 5-2 Albert Park Albert Park 3 -8 Hallam East Coast 0-2 York Uni East Coast 0 -10 2 Red 8 Yellow L’pool 6-2 Albert Park

Away Team

Venue

K.O

Birmingham Tigers

v

Chippenham FC

Midlands

14.00

Loughborough FC

v

Team United Birmingham FC

Midlands

14.00

Stamford FC

v

Hereford FC

Midlands

14.00

Final league standings 2009

Major Transfers 2010

1 - Tranmere Victoria 2 - Hartpury College 3 - The New Saints 4 - Team United Birmingham 5 - Team Bath 6 - Birmingham Tigers

Ben Mortlock & Curtis Holmes, Tranmere Victoria to Sheffield FC Anthony Lemoine, Armines Futsal Club (France) to Team United B’Ham Ryon Leyshon, Middlesbrough to Sheffield FC Nick Hamblin, Middlesbrough to Manchester Doug Reed, Manchester to Lanzarote Craig Hignett, Free to Middlesbrough Daniel Buttle, Sheffield FC to Grimsby

Home Team

Southern Conference

13.15

v

Home Team

Midlands Conference

Away Team

Other Upcoming Fixtures 17th January 2010 Birmingham Tigers vs. Hartpury FC Chippenham FC vs. Stamford FC Hereford FC vs. Team Utd B’ham 31st January 2010 Birmingham Tigers vs. Loughborough Team Utd B’Ham vs. Stamford FC Hartpury FC vs. Chippenham FC Hereford FC vs. Team Bath

14:00 14:00 15:00 14:00 14:00 14:30 15:00

Away Team

Venue

K.O

FC Baltic

v

FC Enfield

London

10.00

Kickers

v

Genesis

London

10.00

London United

v

FC White Bear

London

10.00

Vaughans Final league League Top standings 2009 Goalscorers 2009

1 - Helvecia 2 - Genesis 3 - FC White Bear 4 - London United 5 - Kickers 6 - FC Baltic 7 - FC Enfield 8 - Vaughans

1 - Raoni Medina 24 (Helvecia) 2 - Nerijus 20 Smatavicius (FC Baltic) 3 - Israel Toko 18 (Loughborough)

v

Helvecia Fair Play Discipline 2009

1 -Vaughans 7 Yellow 2 - Genesis 14 Yellow 3 - London United 15 Yellow 4 - Kickers 15 Yellow

London Helvecia tighten stranglehold over the English game. Helvecia Futsal Club made it back to back FA Futsal Cup wins back in July which concretes their place as the giants of English club futsal. They also added to their impressive history the Southern league title which they narrowly missed out on in 2008 by five points to

10.00 White Bear and topped off the season by winning the national league playoff against Tranmere Victoria. The gauntlet has been laid down for potential challengers to Helvecia’s crown. Can any of England’s national league teams knock them off their perch in 2010. Only time will tell if one of the 24 competing sides have what it takes to become national champions.

League data and statistics collected from http://fulltime.thefa.com/index.do?leagueid=788544. Results from today’s fixtures will feature in next week’s magazine.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

UK Futsal News

Issue 1

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England on Tour: Three lions defeat the African Champions England’s futsal team travelled to Libya in early December 2009 and produced one of the finest performances the national team had so far. Team goalkeeping coach, Tony Elliott, kept a diary of the team’s experiences on tour and notes on how the squad performed in their two-game meeting with Libya which ended with an impressive 2-1 victory. Day 1 – Wednesday 2nd December 2009 We held a brief team meeting in a very small room at the Park Inn where Pete gave the lads some information about what was to be expected from an England team travelling to Libya, not forgetting that this would be the first trip out of the country for a good few of the lads to represent England, and he also made them aware of one or two areas of sensitivity regarding the way of life in Libya itself - after all ‘when in Rome’. The players set off for their beds and the staff had a sit down and a chat along with Simon Walker, Dave Henson and Brian Walden (members of the FA small sided committee who were travelling with us), after which we also got to our beds as we were all up at 5.15am to get over to the airport for our flight to Africa. Day 2 – Thursday 3rd December 2009 The flight again was uneventful, although a little longer than the Manchester to Heathrow one, around about three and a half hours in fact! ‘Sergeant Major’ Leathers kept us in good spirits with his comic strip humour and Pete and I had a good chat about a number of issues that we might need to sort out once we arrived. Our arrival into Tripoli was strange to say the least as once we had walked up the tunnel from the plane to the arrival area we were greeted by a large group of guys in trench coats, television cameras and a guy with a microphone and another fella who handed Pete a huge bunch of flowers as a way of saying hello and welcome to Libya! Another guy immediately took all of our passports off us as we were all herded up towards the passport control desks. While we were waiting, Pete and our captain marvel, Luke Ballinger, both gave an interview to Libyan television and we were being looked at rather strangely by the native’s who must of thought that we were royalty or something. Food had been laid on for us as soon as we arrived but we asked the lads not to each too much as we were due to train two hours later. From the outside the arena looked new and plush, it was only once we got inside and actually walked onto the court that we quickly realised that the court itself was going to be a serious problem. The whole court was covered in a fine dust that had obviously been blown into the hall through a small hole that had been left open during the building process of this newish facility.

The only way to describe how it felt when running on the court is to say that it was like trying to run on an ice rink! Before the session started we were welcomed by the chairman of the Libyan Futsal Association, so we got to see how good our interpreter was going to be as the chairman had plenty to say and spent a long time talking before he allowed our man to put what he had said across in English. We started the session and realised straight away that stopping and turning was more or less impossible and the more time we spent on it the more we were concerned that one of the lads was going to injure themselves seriously because of this surface. I attempted to put the two keepers, Curtis Holmes and Dean Thornton, through a bit of a loosener and we also quickly knew that it was going to be a very limited session due to the state of the court. Pete and I quickly decided to call an early end to the session and then tried to explain to the arena staff that the floor would need to be cleaned before an international futsal match could take place the following evening. Day 3 – Friday 4th December 2009 An early morning coffee for Mark and myself in the restaurant as we wait for the rest of the staff and the players to arrive before we eat breakfast. A team meeting wasn’t planned with the players but after a quick chat with the rest of us, Pete decided to get the lads in a private room to discuss one or two things and to also go over a little video footage of some of our recent games before we head of to the arena for a very light training session in preparation for the game tonight. Pete and I discussed how we could possibly find a way to get some kind of edge over the Libyans in terms of getting better grip and balance on the court during the game including putting a wet towel next to the court to rub their feet on as this seemed to

give a bit more grip, wearing different trainers – maybe pimples – but the problem there was that only some of the lads had that type of shoe with them. We even tried spraying some of Mark Leather’s bandage sticking spray on the soles of Nick Colley’s shoes to see if that would work, but after a few seconds the effect wore off. Even after the floor had been swept and cleaned the lads were still struggling with their balance as even though the floor had been cleaned, fresh dust was obviously blowing into the arena through the hole in the arena roof. We got the lads back in the dressing room and they started their pre-game routines and Pete and myself did our usual prematch talks with individuals and the group as a whole. It was shortly before we went out that Pete revealed his masterstroke – Honey! He had grabbed a load of the little pots of honey that were on the breakfast table every morning and encouraged the lads to layer the soles of their futsal shoes with the sticky stuff that we hoped would give them some grip on the ice rink we were playing on. As the lads left the dressing room and walked out to the tunnel you could hear their feet squelching on the floor as they strode forward. Whether it would do the job of keeping them steady on the court would remain to be seen but we all felt that it was a psychological lift for all as we entered the lions den in Tripoli. We went through the usual routine of national anthems, hand shaking, exchanging of team pendants and then team photos before the game got started and we could get on with what we were really here for. We started very cautiously and backed off


Sunday, January 10, 2010 from the Libyans maybe showing them a little too much respect, but this was probably understandable as they are currently ranked over fifty places higher than us. After a few minutes of getting used to the dodgy surface though the lads realised that the Libyans were having as much trouble with the court as we were and in fact we were probably coping a little better and this seemed to give us a lot more confidence and we came more into the game. Disappointingly the Libyans took the lead, somewhat against the run of play as we had started to put some good passages of play together and had worked their keeper on a number of occasions. It would turn out that in both games their keeper would end up being the busier of the two in each game. The Libyans played a short corner and the ball was fizzed across the face of goal to an unmarked player running in to tap into an empty net. Now we would discover what this squad of players was about and if they were capable of coming back into a game that we had begun to dominate. The rest of the first half was much of the same, but whereas in the past we may have capitulated after the first goal we became stronger and more resolute and infact come the half time whistle it was England who were doing the pressing. Pete’s half time team talk as he didn’t really need to say much to the lads other than keep going and with a bit of luck we would get the next goal and then who knows what could happen from there. We got the lads geed up and sent them out positively to have a right go in the second half. We started very brightly in the second half and Thomas Obasi, who was having a very good game, combined brilliantly with skipper Luke Ballinger for the latter to smash the ball past the prone Libyan keeper who could do nothing about this one and get us back into the game. 1-1, game very much on!!! We dominated the play for long periods and you could see firstly the frustration, but secondly, and probably more importantly the surprise in the Libyan bench and their players as to how this young England team were taking apart the African Futsal Champions in their own back yard! The Libyan keeper was time and again bought into action as the game came to a close and by the final whistle we were hugely proud of what the lads had achieved and a massive roar went up from all of us as we ran around on the court hugging each other after this very important result for the England team and English futsal in general. Day 4 – Saturday 5th December 2009 Before we travelled back to the arena for game two we were all invited to a reception in the hotel being held with the head of the Libyan futsal Association, their staff and their squad in a meeting room in the hotel. During the reception many thank yous were said and gifts exchanged and Dave Henson and Simon Walker responded on behalf of the team and the FA itself and thanked the Libyans for the way they had taken care of us during our stay. It was then that the Libyans made their biggest mistake. In the first game the night before, we played against the Libyans strongest team apart from their captain Mohammed Omar (who had been voted Africa’s player of the year and had been chosen to play in a world futsal 5 team against Brazil, in Brazil early in 2010), as he was on holiday! They had arranged for him to travel back from wherever he was just to play against us as they obviously didn’t like the fact that they could only draw with us

UK Futsal News the previous evening. We all looked at each other with amusement as he was introduced as their great saviour and he went around the room shaking hands with everyone before sitting down opposite us as if to goad us and to say that now he was here there was no chance of a repeat of last night. As I got onto the coach I walked up to the back and asked the players if they needed any motivation for tonight’s game and every one of them to a man looked at me with a determination that I had never seen in a team of players before. Brilliant – the Libyans had again made Pete’s team talk so easy. We followed the same routine as the night before, even the honey, and were quickly out of the starting blocks with great determination. Thomas Obasi very quickly let their golden boy know what he was in for with a very strong challenge to knock the ball out of play that neither he nor his bench liked, but there was plenty more of that to come as the game wore on. The Libyans started brightly though and they were a goal up after 3 minutes due to some indecision from goalkeeper Dean Thornton who mis-read a through ball to leave an empty net for a soft goal. Nevertheless, the response from the lads

couldn’t have been better, as very much like the night before we took the game to the Libyans and played some great stuff all over the court. Both defensively and offensively we were very assured and showed great determination to come back into the game and dominated for long periods keeping their keeper very busy again. It was just a case of being patient and waiting for that one chance to present itself. It was important that we didn’t concede a second goal, but on the bench we felt very confident in the lads to keep it at 1-0. Rob Ursell and Thomas Obasi were combining very well together and created many chances for themselves and others during a very dominant spell of play before half time. Again, at half time there wasn’t much to be said as apart from the goal we were the better team and we always looked like we could knick a goal and get back into the game. At the start of the second half the Libyans played with a very high press and this was something that as a team we have traditionally struggled to play against. With great thought and clever play, time and again we got out of the high press and very quickly turned defence into attack and troubled the Libyan defence into unforced errors. Captain marvel - Luke Ballinger - capitalised on a Libyan mistake to go through on goal, with a smart finish to beat Libya’s talented goalkeeper. We were back in it and what character the lads had shown not only to be dominant but to score and now to look like they could to go on and get a winner. The referees, who were very much looking after the home side, contrived to give some very dodgy decisions against us and it was only a matter of time that we would give away a sixth team foul that would lead to a

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penalty for the Libyans. After some delay the Libyan golden boy, Mohammed Omar, finally plucked up the courage to place the ball and take the penalty and after a huge run up he contrived to hit the post and miss! That was it, we knew that we had to show the ultimate in discipline with our defending as we couldn’t afford to give them another chance from the penalty spot and we went about our business with great professionalism. What happened next though was something that none of us could ever have imagined – with five minutes to go there was a bit of a melee in the Libyan ‘D’ and Ben Mortlock stuck out a toe to divert the ball goalwards and into the back of the Libyan net. 2-1 and absolute ecstacy! Joy almost turned to despair as while England celebrated their lead, the Libyans took advantage to shoot at goal from the kick-off. Thornton was alive to the situation and tipped the ball over the bar. The lads defended with their lives as we watched the clock tick down, it was the longest five minutes ever for all of us. The Libyans threw everything at us and time and again tried to draw the foul that would give them another chance from the penalty spot but our boys stood firm and gave nothing away and in the end had a couple of great chances to score again and finish the Libyans off for good. Thornton, Mortlock and Colley all stretched to prevent Libya equalising as Omar began to exert his influence on the game but eventually the final whistle blew and all hell broke loose as the staff ran on the court to share this wonderful moment with the lads. What a way to finish the trip, the year as we had all worked so hard during 2009 to progress with this squad and try to make people realise that futsal in England is here and it’s here to stay. To come to Libyan and not just compete but to draw with them and then beat them is a huge accomplishment and I certainly think that this group of lads should be recognised for what they have done for their country and for futsal in England. The atmosphere in the dressing room and in the coach on the way home was awesome, to the point where even I got up and sang the Liverpool FC anthem, ‘ You’ll Never Walk Alone’. The Libyans showed us great respect as we left the arena and everyone of them shook our hands and wished us well. We got back to the hotel and had a quick bite to eat and the players then went to bed as we had a staff meeting in the lounge downstairs and got our heads together on what our strategy would now be moving into 2010.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

UK Futsal News

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The steel city unites By Mark England-Woodcock During the summer - Sheffield FC Futsal merged with the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA team to create Sheffield FC Futsal in association with the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA. The aim of this was to merge two already strong National League teams to create one Sheffield team capable of compete at the very top of futsal in this country. Sheffield FC Futsal merged with the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA team to create Sheffield FC Futsal in association with the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA. The aim of this was to merge two already

strong National League teams to create one Sheffield team capable of qualifying for the UEFA Futsal Cup. To do this the club has to win the National Play Off which is contested by the top two qualifying teams from each of the North, Midlands and South qualifying leagues. The association also provides a partnership for the development of Futsal in Sheffield at all levels, which includes supporting the development of the Sheffield Hallam University Futsal Club who compete in the British Universities and Colleges Futsal Competition. The Team The current playing squad mainly comprises of experienced English National League Futsal

players and international students who have played futsal in their home countries. The squad also includes 4 full England international players, Curtis Holmes, Ollie O’Neil, Ben Mortlock and Ryon Leyshon. Support Sheffield FC Futsal If you are interested in watching Sheffield FC Futsal in action then games are played at Concord Leisure Centre between January and June. You can also follow our progress by joining our group on Facebook Sheffield FC Futsal Facebook Group. If you would like to get involved in the club or would like to learn more about Sheffield FC by emailing futsal@sheffieldfc.com.

Leeds Futsal Club’s pre-season report

by David Smeathers

A transitional few months for futsal in Leeds will see a new name enter the fray when they eventually get their season underway next week following today’s late postponement. Leeds Futsal Club was formed in late 2009 after agreements were made between FC Barsa, Leeds Met University and the University of Leeds to contribute players and staff towards a new project in the Yorkshire city. FC Barsa had competed for the past two seasons at the national

league level but without a pitch to play on or the financial clout to continue on its own, reinforcements were drafted from Leeds’ futsal talent pot. Former manager Kevin Barr has stepped down from his role and paved the way for former Brazillian professional Junior Roberti to take the reins. Roberti has already recruited several new, experienced faces to the Leeds setup which include Alceu Collarile, Daniel Migliozzi, Gabriel Rodrigues, Jeferson Donasliemto-Migliozzi and Raphael Collarile. Together with the new coaching setup and playing staff the Leeds side are confident they can brush off the previous years’ poor finishes and achieve a playoff place in the 2010 competition. Leeds’ pre-season got under way competitively with a friendly with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield FC who were boasting new signing, England international Ben Mortlock amongst their squad on the day. Playing a format of four, 12-

minute quarters, both sides were able to experiment with different playing styles and team selections. It was Sheffield who made the better of the play, with Morlock pulling the strings at the back, Sheffield FC ran out comfortable and deserved winners. There was some reprieve for Leeds however, with some promising debuts from Daniel Migliozzi and Raphael Collarile. Leeds’ second fixture saw them travel to Bradford for a home fixture against East Coast Futsal Club. The Scarborough side had recently played against Liverpool, York, Albert Park and Oldham for a place in national northern conference and gave them another chance to pit their wits against another national league side. In a format similar to their previous friendly, there were four quarters, this time consisting of 20 minutes each time. Roberti used this as an opportunity to test his strongest players who were to be available for the

now postponed fixture against Tranmere. The new look side waltzed into a comfortable lead and scored four goals in the first two 20 minute periods. At half-time Roberti was able to utilise his full squad and sent out an entirely new team for the second half. Despite dominating the game for long periods, the second half performance failed to yield as many goals and the sides had to settle for a goal a piece in the final 40 minutes. The final score was 9-2 to Leeds with Jeferson Donasliemto-Migliozzi chipping in with a hat-trick to guide his team to victory. The season may have been delayed for the Leeds side but they have shown plenty of character in their two warm-up fixtures to suggest they are more than ready for a strong season in the national league. They face a stiff test in their opening three fixtures as they will face Middlesbrough, Sheffield and Manchester.

Game postponed: Leeds vs. Tranmere due to adverse weather by David Smeathers Leeds and Tranmere’s game, due to kick-off today, has been postponed as futsal becomes the latest sport to be hit by the freezing weather. Club officials and player representatives met to discuss the safety of travelling across to Liverpool for the season’s opener and decided it was in the club’s best inter-

ests to call off the fixture for another date. The news means both sides will kick-off the season with a one game advantage over the rest of the sides in the league and gain an additional week to prepare for the season. The decision means Leeds will now start their season against last season’s champions Middlesbrough at Thornaby Pavillion on January 17, 2010, getting under way at

14.00. Tranmere will face an away trip to Grimsby FC at Hillsborough Leisure Centre with a 13.15 kick-off. Stay tuned to @UKFN on twitter and our facebook page for more information about other cancellations as well as the latest scores and breaking news after the season gets under way today from 13.15.

Coming up in the next issue of UKFN... - Match reports from all three tiers of the English futsal ladder in January. - Another big interview - More UK futsal news - Scores, scorers, stats and figures from all of the next month’s futsal fixtures and much more!


UK Futsal News: Issue 1  

UK Futsal News: Issue 1 The UK's first dedicated futsal news publication

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