Pupils at Tynecastle High School have been given the chance to hone their skills on the futsal court, thanks to a new programme that has been implemented by Edinburgh City Council.
The taster sessions, which have been running at the Edinburgh school for just over a month, have seen boys and girls from S1-S4 given the chance to improve their technique in the indoor game, which has seen a sharp rise in popularity across Scotland in recent years.
Speaking as the Scottish FA celebrates UEFA Grassroots Week, football development officer Jack Beesley, who was responsible for bringing the programme to the school, has been delighted with the reception the sessions have received.
“I was looking to deliver some futsal in schools and, after meeting with the Active Schools Coordinator, we decided we would trial an after-school futsal programme as opposed to another football programme,” said Beesley.
“Participants so far have hugely enjoyed the sessions, especially learning the difference between football and futsal in terms of techniques, rules and transitions. Previous ‘futsal’ experience had essentially just been indoor football with a futsal.”
Great Futsal session @TynecastleHigh yesterday as part of the #UEFAGrassrootsWeek. Kids this week working on finishing, 2v1s and understanding the rules through matches #BeActive pic.twitter.com/aHBeCW0h2r— Jack Beesley (@JackBeesleyFDO) 25 September 2018
Scotland have enjoyed a landmark couple of years in the world of futsal, with the establishment of the Scottish Super League and hosting the Home Nations tournament at Oriam just two of the sport’s most notable moments in recent times.
With Ahmed Aloulou having recently become the first futsal player to earn a contract with a Scottish 11-a-side club, Beesley believes that futsal has a major role to play in the development of the country’s young footballers.
“Currently, many children exposed to futsal do so with the benefit to their football in mind,” said Beesley.
“Benefits to their game include improved technique, improved fitness and a greater understanding of transitions between attack and defence.
“There are also the added social benefits to young players, such as improved fitness, the excitement of trying something new and challenging and the interaction with other year groups and senior pupils.”
With the programme only growing in popularity, Beesley is hopeful that the enthusiasm shown by the pupils at Tynecastle will lead to a further roll-out of the futsal programme across the local area.
He’s also been able to call upon the services of some of the Scottish FA’s most vocal supporters of youth and grassroots football, with three of the Scottish FA Youth Ambassadors of Change assisting Beesley in the successful delivery of the programme.
“The three Young Ambassadors are shadowing myself with a view to taking it over so that I can offer a taster programme to another school,” said Beesley.
“I think futsal is great for development of footballers, which is probably the most likely route the participants will go down.
“However, with the increasing popularity of futsal in Scotland, I would hope in future it might lead to opportunities to join youth futsal teams.”
With the work of Beesley and his associates at the grassroots level, there is every chance that the growth and enjoyment of futsal for all will continue for many years to come.