and the development of Manchester Ladies Futsal Club
The FA Futsal Cup has been re-launched by The FA in partnership with Nike this year with both the Men and Women’s Finals at the fantastic London Copper Box Arena, The FA Futsal Cup has a proud and successful history, Manchester Futsal Club currently retain the trophy, the competition has helped to introduce new clubs to futsal who consequently went on to join The FA National Futsal League. Futsal Focus caught up with The FA National Manager for Small Sided Football – Simon Walker and Leanne Skarrat (Women’s Futsal Coordinator) of Manchester Ladies Futsal Club to hear their thoughts about the competition and to learn more about Manchester Ladies Futsal Club a new development for the club;
We are delighted to that the FA Futsal Cup has returned for this season following an agreement between The FA and Nike to reinstate this competition after a couple of seasons where the FA Futsal Cup has failed to run. This is extremely positive and welcome news for the ongoing development of Futsal in England.
The FA Futsal Cup retains its traditional aims of not only providing a Cup competition for the top male and female Futsal clubs in the country to compete for, but also through the early rounds it helps to encourage the growth and development of new local adult leagues across England for more clubs and teams to experience Futsal. There have been some changes to the original structure and format of the FA Futsal Cup to make it a more compelling and exciting competition that provides more competitive games for the clubs involved at the various stages of the competition. The Men’s competition Local Qualifying Leagues are currently taking place across the country, they started in December last year and will end in March 2014, the winners of these leagues progress to one-day Regional Qualifiers where they will be joined by FA National Futsal League clubs from Division 1 (those that didn’t make the National Super League) and Division 2. The top teams from the Regional Qualifiers progress to four Mini-Leagues that play home and away over a series of weekends in April and May to determine the clubs that progress to the Semi-Finals where they will be joined by National Super League clubs. The National Finals will then be held over a weekend in June to determine the Cup Winners.
The Women’s competition similarly involves Local Qualifying Leagues, with the winning teams progressing to Regional Qualifiers with the top clubs then moving on to the National Finals in June.
My involvement in Futsal began only a few months ago after watching the Manchester Futsal Club men’s team train and play. My background mainly lies in football, which I have played since the age of five and started coaching at sixteen. However after watching Futsal, I instantly knew that I wanted to be involved and create an opportunity for other women across the region to be able to play the game.
My role within Manchester Futsal Club is as a women’s futsal coordinator. I will be responsible for the recruitment of players, liaising with organisations that can assist us in reaching our goals, and to make sure we have the sort of retention at sessions that will enable us to keep on growing the project. I also plan on playing myself, so I will definitely be busy!
Our short-term plans for the project are simply to run some weekly futsal sessions that women of all abilities can come and enjoy. Initially we are looking for a committed group of players who are enthusiastic about the game and want to learn. We can then press ahead with organising some friendlies. In the longer term we hope to have a league up and running in which we can compete. It would be great if there were a national women’s Futsal league eventually.
We are also taking part in the FA Futsal Cup, the fact that there is a Futsal championship for women acts as a great incentive to everyone at the club to be ready and prepared! The announcement has been a real boost for women’s Futsal in particular, as it gives 11 aside clubs the opportunity to enter a team into the competition, learn more about the game and hopefully develop Futsal as part of their club helping to increase awareness of this wonderful sport.