I don't want to go into too much detail about covid and how it has impacted on ourselves and futsal in general over the last 2 years because I think it is important to focus on the positives and the future. There is a lot to be positive about!!!
Player development has and will always be at the forefront of our objectives and despite the challenges of 2021 we feel that most of our players have developed with a number training and signing with pro academies including Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Dundee, Fife Elite, Hibs, Livingston, Alloa and St Johnstone. We also have a few girls that have been selected for the East of Scotland Regional select team!!
What we have noticed is that we have a great record of older players going on to sign pro, by older I mean 12 and above and players that had maybe thought that they had missed the boat when lots of kids sign at 10 years of age. They are evidence that the dream isn't over if you get released or you are not with a pro team at 10 years of age. Everyone develops at different times and it is often the late developers that go on to have greater success.
Well done everyone but as I keep saying, the hard work never stops!!
Futsal Escocia Academy
The academy has over 200 players participating in futsal each week and the signs are that number will continue to grow in 2022. In 2022 we plan to increase the number of sessions available and to particularly focus on more girls being involved. This may result in girls only sessions. Look out for further information around the Spring.
Towards the end of 2021 we started 3 Kickstart Scheme employees, providing them with the opportunity to work with myself and our other coaches. This is the first time we have employed our own staff and we will look to increase that number early in 2022 providing each member with the knowledge of how to plan and prepare sessions and successfully deliver them. The Kickstart member will play a vital part in helping us grow futsal in schools in 2022.
Futsal Escocia Teams
2021 was a pivotal year for the Futsal Escocia teams with the creation of a male first team that now completes our male pathway. The creation of the first team is massive and provides players with the opportunity to continue playing futsal into adulthood and for the players to test themselves playing against men in a more structured and competitive environment in the Scottish Futsal League. So far the boys have coped extremely well with the transition from the youth to adult game and have reached the semi finals of the League Cup and remain undefeated in the league. The matches have provided the boys with different challenges each week and they have then taken that into our own structure in the Futsal Escocia leagues which benefits our younger players. The knock-on effect then works its way down our pyramid.
A massive benefit of the teams is our structure and prioritising player development ahead of results. From Liga 7 all the way up to Liga 1 we want to create an environment where the players are being challenged. This year we have continued to see players provided with the opportunity to play up age groups and the experience to play with and against older players. We fully believe in this structure for player development and it should give every player the incentive to do well.
We understand that most of our players have aspirations to be a footballer but there's also opportunities for them to do really well in futsal with international opportunities and a professional career abroad not out of reach should they want it.
For me it is vital that our coaches (academy and teams) are always wanting to learn and develop. I am currently midway through my UEFA B course and it has most definitely improved my knowledge of futsal and myself as a person and coach. It is easy to stand still and be content with what you have but if I want my players to work hard and be ambitious then I have to show them that I am the same. Irrespective of what level you are at, I think you should want to improve.
I should also mention a massive well done to Eck who is near completion of a diploma with FC Barcelona. The course is 6-8 months long and is a lot of hours each week. I am sure that he will be the first to say that the course has changed the way he thinks about coaching.
2022 - The Year Ahead
Our objectives for 2022 are pretty simple. We want to increase awareness and participation in futsal and will achieve that by:
We don't want to go into too much detail but your input and advice is welcome.
Thank you for your continued support throughout 2021 and all the best for 2022!!!