Futsal breeds success for Leeds

When Futsal was first established in 2014, it was just a social sport. There would be weekly social sessions every Friday night where everyone could participate and play for fun. Liam Turner ran Futsal at the time and he managed to pick players that stood out from the social sessions to compete against other universities in BUCS tournament for the first time. I was one of the players that attended the social sessions and competed in the tournament. I really wanted to drive forward the development of Futsal, as it was a growing sport not just in Leeds, but also across the country. Seeing as Liam was graduating and leaving Leeds, I spoke to him about taking over as the President and what I wanted to do. He was more than happy to pass on the leadership role to me and helped me get in touch with Andrew Lockwood, who focused on the social side of the sport. My main aim was to establish Futsal as a competitive team as well as promote the sport through social session.

Starting the season last year (2015/2016), we encountered few problems. We did not have a coach, we could only train on Friday night 9:30-10:30pm and we needed to form a strong squad who were committed to train on Friday week in, week out.

During fresher’s week, Futsal had over 100 people who were willing to try out for the team which was positive and I managed to filter out players to form a squad. Just in time, I managed to speak to Aidan Lewis, my flat mate from first year and a good friend who is very passionate about coaching. He agreed to take over Futsal as a coach and train players along with Oron Sheldon, who has been playing Futsal for a long time.

We started the league on a bad note where we lost both games. This was due to the fact that not enough players from the squad had enough experience in the sport, but as time went on and we all trained more, we started winning every game, finishing 3rd in the league and reaching the semi-finals of the Conference Cup.

This season, our coach Aidan secured a coaching position in Qatar for a year so he was away. Oron took over as the head coach and trained players week in week out while. We also got help from James Briars, who ran the York Uni Futsal Club last year. Together, we formed a very strong squad this season as we gained experience from last year and Futsal was more well known than before.

Sadly, we got knocked out of the quarter-finals of the Conference Cup, but we dominated the league winning 10 games out of 10.

This goes to prove that my main goal of establishing Futsal as a competitive sport in Leeds was successful. Running the team on my own would have been a hard work, but I had support from Oron, Aidan, James Briars and Liam Hine, who is part of the football committee. Liam helped out a lot in terms of running the social media and transportation.

Hopefully, for next season we can form two teams and continue to develop the sport and get a decent training slot at the Edge because training on Friday nights is very tough for all players.

Subarna Rai

Featured Image: Leeds Uni Futsal 

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