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Just before the New Year I attended The World Futsal Cup in Barcelona. It is an annual international youth tournament attracting teams from across the world as well as Spanish clubs including FC Barcelona. I was invited by the organisers USAFutsal to assist with the event.
Teams came from England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, USA and France to compete in the four age categories going from U12s to U18s. The tournament had a professional feel with fixtures held in a very impressive facility that had 6 full size courts with plenty of seating.
The English team present was Escolla Futsal. It sometimes seems that teams from emerging futsal countries like my own are afraid to play against those from more established nations so it was great to see English players testing themselves at the highest level of youth futsal.
The only way to be able to reach the level of the best is to play against them. At the start you might not compete but you will eventually learn from the experience and improve. If you do this when you’re young then by the time you reach the senior level you will be ready. Escolla did really well (1 team made the semi-finals) and I know they gained a lot from their trip.
The U.S.A. teams in City Futsal and San Jose Legends also represented their country well. The first of these train 3 hours a day, 5 times a week so it wasn’t a surprise and shows the more you practise the better you get. The sport is really growing in the States and it is the country where most the visitors to this blog come from.
America is the world leader in promoting and marketing sports so if they catch the futsal bug it will be great for the sport. I believe it is going to be a very important region for futsal in the future and will play an important part in developing the sport.
Overall it was a really special event. A lot of the credit for that must go to USAFutsal and their team of staff who did their utmost to ensure everyone had a fantastic time and the feedback was very positive.
As well as the tournament they organised tours of Barcelona including the Camp Nou, training sessions with FC Barcelona coaches and much more to ensure an all round experience.
HERE is an interview I did with UEFA.com about England and the qualifiers which I will unfortunately miss through injury.