In many countries futsal is still a relatively new and unknown sport and, therefore, many people are only now being fortunate enough to discover it. From my own experience and that of people I have met through the game, I have seen how futsal can be very rewarding and enriching. Here I will discuss some of the experiences I have had in order to highlight the opportunities available for those that decide to get involved in futsal.
First I would recommend to anyone to try the sport because whether you are playing, watching or refereeing this wonderful game, it will quickly get you hooked. It is filled with intensity, emotion and dynamism. As a player it will challenge you physically, technically and intellectually. Its characteristics simply make it an incredibly fun and enjoyable game. But beware, as once you get a taste you may become addicted.
If you wish to take the game more seriously and dedicate yourself to it there are many amazing opportunities and memorable experiences on offer. Through this sport I have been able to see the world. After recently being recalled to the England National team I travelled to Doha, Qatar for two international friendlies. This was the 11th country I have visited this year for futsal and this has allowed me to discover very diverse and different parts of the world.
Many of the countries I have visited have been places that I am sure I would never have seen in my life had it not been for futsal. Further, playing professionally has allowed me to live in four countries, enabling me to learn different languages and how to integrate into new cultures. Not only has this been very enjoyable but it has also helped me develop as a person.
I would say one of the biggest benefits I have got from futsal is the people I have been fortunate enough to meet. One of the great things about this sport is that the futsal community is very friendly and welcoming. I now have friends located across the globe and have met some amazing people. Some of these include the world’s top futsal players and coaches which would not be so easy in other sports.
Through futsal I have represented England which is a great achievement in any discipline. It has been fantastic to play for my national team and compete for my country against the best from other nations in elite competitions such as those organised by FIFA and UEFA. There is an extra special feeling that you get playing for your country that you don’t get at club level.
Finally I am now in my fifth year as a professional player and it is an amazing privilege to be able to earn your living from your passion. Many athletes get tired of their sport as the routine can get repetitive but, thankfully, I still love what I do and love going to training every day.
Futsal is growing and developing rapidly and the type of opportunities I have experienced will only become more common and readily available. It is already a very international sport with many teams venturing abroad for tournaments and friendlies. Its professionalism is improving all the time.
Of course these opportunities don’t just fall in your lap and take a lot of hard work to earn. However this is not considered a sacrifice if you love what you do. Anyone who is willing to show dedication can have similar experiences to the ones I have had.
If you wish to get involved with futsal I encourage you to contact your local federation or football association to find out how you can be introduced to this amazing sport. There is not only playing opportunities but also other roles such as coaching, refereeing, administration etc.
Since the last post here are a few selected articles I have written and an interview I did with UEFA.com
Interview with myself on UEFA.com