Worthing United Youth HERO

Sussex clubs shine in Futsal season

Photo credit: Carl Wilkinson
We celebrate the impressive seasons of two of our Futsal teams!

It’s been another season to remember for Futsal sides in Sussex, with both Worthing United Youth and Haywards Heath College having impressive campaigns in their respective competitions.

For Haywards Heath College, they capped off 2023/24 with a 7-3 victory over Cardiff City Foundation in the final of the Association of Colleges’ (AOC) League Cup.

Facing off in Wolverhampton back in May, Haywards Heath fought hard to come from behind to get the win and complete a league and cup double, having triumphed in the AOC Southern Futsal League.

Indeed, what makes the achievement more impressive is that this is the first year of the team playing Futsal.

After a strong start to the season, Haywards Heath found themselves unbeaten going into their final league game against former national champions Newham College in London. Having secured a 4-2 win, the boys had the league title, and a coveted spot in the national semi-finals.

Chris Day, Futsal Academy Head Coach at Haywards Heath College, said: “It’s been an incredible year winning the league and National Cup double.

“When we made the decision to start a Futsal Academy, we didn’t quite expect the phenomenal success we have seen in year one.

“Of the 13 players we have in the Academy, none have played Futsal before, so it’s been a real learning curve for them around the speed of the game, but they are all really enjoying it.

“Two of our second-year students have also been offered places at the prestigious Loughborough University International Futsal Academy in September, which is a link we have in place.”

Jacob Emerson, the team’s goalkeeper said: “I’m so proud of how hard the team has worked to get to this level.

“The difference in our standard compared to the start of the season is crazy!”

Paul Riley, Principal of Haywards Heath College, added: “This is a tremendous achievement by our students and staff. They’ve trained hard all season, and this is a well-deserved reward for their efforts.

“To win the national title in their first season is an absolute triumph. Congratulations to the team.”

Haywards Heath College Futsal

Haywards Heath College pose triumphantly following their remarkable debut double winning season

For Worthing United Youth Girls’ Futsal side it’s been a similarly successful season, with the club building on their triumphs of the past few years.

“It’s been just over two years of these girls playing Futsal, and because this is a really strong group of girls, they only went and won the national tournament in their first year, which was a real surprise to all of us that’s for sure,” said their coach, James Glover.

“Going into regionals and then nationals this year, with so many more teams playing Futsal, we didn’t know what the level would be at the tournaments, but they did great qualifying from the local round, then the regionals and into the nationals.

“For this group, they only play Futsal at the tournaments, so with their more regular football experiences, they’ve been able to bring something different to the games than if they only played Futsal week to week.”

Going into the national tournament at the start of June, Glover knew that his side were going to be in for a tough test, having drawn Sala Futsal, previous finalists, in their opening game (semi-final).

“That was a difficult test for the team, there’s no doubt about that,” said Glover, “Sala passed the ball around so well, but in the first-half I’d say we had the better of them.

“We played very well, but in the second-half their experience showed, and they were able to make various tactical changes that meant we just couldn’t compete with them, and even though we had chances, we were hanging on, and they grabbed a winner in the final minutes.

“But what’s remarkable is that was their first ever loss in Futsal having been competing for two years, which isn’t bad going to say the least!”

Following their semi-final defeat to Sala, a third-place play-off game against Fareham awaited Worthing, with the team needing to pick themselves up after the disappointment of the previous game.

“As previous winners, Fareham were a very good team, and they struck first, but we didn’t let our heads drop and managed to equalise not long after, however from that point, neither team looked like getting a winner, and so it proved with the game finishing 1-1,” said Glover.

“The rules of the tournament dictated that there would be no extra-time or penalties, so we finished in joint third place.

“Looking back, it wasn’t a tournament where we played poorly or didn’t put enough effort in, the stronger team simply won on the day, and this squad is in the top few Futsal teams in the county, so I couldn’t be prouder of all of them!”

To find out more about Futsal in Sussex please contact:

Development
T: 01903 766855
E: Development@SussexFA.com

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