Futsal helps players beat the winter blues

Waterlogged pitch at Watford AcademyAs teams all over the region brace themselves for more weather disruption, many players are turning to an indoor option to see them through the worst of the winter.

Futsal doesn’t have to be an alternative to 11-a-side outdoor games on a Sunday, but the modified version of the great game is proving a popular stand-by, not least because indoor games are guaranteed.

There’s a new facility for the fast-paced, skills-centric game in Hampshire, a competition for under-nine girls is launched this weekend by Kent Girls & Ladies Football League, and the local league that could ultimately lead to a place in the regional and national finals of the annual FA Women’s Futsal Cup kicks off in Sussex on Friday.

First round of matches in the south-east regional league is at Eastbourne Sports Park on Friday night, when a number of teams will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of two of last year’s entrants, who made it all the way to the national finals, held at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Olympic dream

Adam Wolecki, who runs the Eastbourne tournament, told Sent Her Forward: “Last season we were the only qualifying league for ladies in the south-east of England. Both Isle of Wight and Eastbourne District General Hospital qualified, progressed through regionals and made the finals at the Copper Box Arena – the last eight in the country.”

Among those enthusiastically behind the league – which costs £25 for two matches an evening – is Bexhill United manager Katie Wilde, who is Sussex Futsal’s ladies head coach.

She told Sent Her Forward: “I also officiate on the men’s league and can say they are both well organised competitions.  I think everyone should have an opportunity to try the sport – it’s really fun – and have a chance of competing at a fantastic facility if they win the league.”

She added: “It’s a great way to guarantee football in these winter months because it’s indoors. And it helps with fitness.  We entered last year and really enjoyed it. I can definitely recommend it.”

Wolecki, who is manager of Eastbourne Ladies, added: “The top teams from our league get to play at regional events, with a chance to compete on the national stage, which is a real buzz. But even if your team doesn’t get that far, being part of a league promises players plenty of competitive action.”

Not sure whether it’s too late to enter now, but this is the man to contact: adam.wolecki@eastbourne.gov.uk / 01323 649214/415409.

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