The new FA Futsal strategy aims to make this fast, exciting format of the sport become England’s indoor game of choice for young players and drive participation.
Head Coach of England Futsal team and elite performance manger, Michael Skubala is the creator of the 2018-24 strategy.
Michael has been the England Futsal head coach since January 2017, having previously been assistant coach to Peter Sturgess. A former Futsal international with the Three Lions, he also acts as Futsal elite performance manager after joining The FA from his previous role as director of football at Loughborough University.
He explains his thinking behind the plan:
I can still remember it, the first time I played Futsal for England. It must be 12 or 13 years ago now and it was away in Thailand. I walked out not really sure what to expect, but recall the shock when there was a crowd of 8000 people watching.
Shortly after that, there was a game in Poland with 16,000 people there and it made me think: ‘Hang on a minute, there’s something going on in other parts of the world that’s not going on in England.’
I knew there had to be something in it and Futsal is now played in most countries in the world. Then, while working in different football settings in the pro game, as director of football at Loughborough University and coach of Football World University Men’s team, twin-tracked by coaching with Futsal.
I found that there is more correlation than meets the eye, in my opinion, especially for young players. At the elite end, the games are tactically different for sure, but for younger players involved in Futsal there are huge benefits.
Futsal in England has evolved so much since those early days, but even though the FA has been doing Futsal since 2003, there’s never been a plan in place so this is a landmark moment for the game.
This strategy was one of my first challenges from Kelly Simmons, who was director of football participation when I began my role, to help create a Futsal strategy which suits England.
It’s taken me 16 months so it’s been a long process with a lot of input from outside and across the organisation, as it’s important that we get it right and get Futsal embedded across the game for men, women and juniors at grassroots and elite level.
Our main priority is to create an identity for Futsal, so people really understand what it is and what it isn’t, and what part it plays in participation, development and elite opportunities.
People often get confused between Futsal and five-a-side, so we want to cut across that. For example at the elite level we play with 14 players. And we need and use all of them!
It’s becoming our indoor game of choice for young players and if kids and youths are going indoors to play during the winter months, they should be playing Futsal. So it definitely suits our climate!
We need a skilled Futsal workforce at grassroots level across the country, so coaches at clubs and teachers in schools can put on a Futsal session for young players.
Currently, we’re delivering something like 3000 Futsal courses a year so it is growing. But we want to move that number up to something like 15,000 new licensed Futsal coaches, at a Level 2 Futsal or UEFA B Futsal, across the country over the next seven years and really give our young players the best learning opportunities.
So we have a long way to go, but this is the start and with Futsal now being part of our National Game Strategy, it’s all a step in the right direction.
There is an opportunity to develop an awareness of both the practical and theoretical aspects of Futsal coaching by enrolling onto an FA Level 1 in Coaching Futsal Course in Sussex.
The FA Futsal Strategy is available for download and can be found in Related Documents.
For further information on Futsal in Sussex, please contact Development:
T: 01903 766855