Futsal Escocia - Success Stories

September 22, 2022

I set up Futsal Escocia in 2015 as I believed that futsal could help create better footballers but also to provide them with something different to replace the lack of street football that children play now. I think it is fair to say that I didn't expect to see the results we have.

In the last 8 years we have seen just over 100 academy boys and girls go on to play at professional football academies across Scotland including Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen, Dundee United, Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Livingston, St Johnstone, Falkirk, Dunfermline and Alloa. Of those players 79 are still involved in a pro-environment and all except 1 is still playing football. 2 players, Alasdair Davidson (Celtic) and Summer Laird (Rangers Women) have gone on to represent Scotland at u17 level and hopefully they are the first of many. Those stats are extraordinary for a place like Fife, and we should probably be singing louder about players achievements, but we don't also want to increase the pressure that is already on them.

I am not for one minute saying that we are responsible for those players development, and we have undoubtedly had a greater impact on some than others. I firmly believe that player development is mainly down to the player themselves. Do they have that desire and willingness to learn and improve because actually becoming a professional footballer is not easy to achieve and requires a lot of commitment and sacrifices along the way. As an academy we can only guide and assist the players and parents as best as we can.

What we do provide is an environment where the players are taken outside their comfort zone, and we try as best as we can to create an environment where the players are pushing each other at session and games without really realising it. We can do this by moving players up or down levels, so they are playing with and against players that are more appropriate to their ability and physical stature rather than their age. I feel strongly that the current structure in grassroots football fails players in this area but that's for another blog and another day.

Futsal has helped develop some of the top players in world football such as Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Kevin de Bruyne, Mo Salah and a list that could go on all day and we are starting to see some success with players from the UK with the likes of Max Kilman and Calvin Bassey from futsal backgrounds. Futsal, although linked very closely to football, they are not the same, and futsal creates a number of different challenges for players:

  • Different surface
  • Different ball
  • Different size of pitch/court
  • Different numbers of players
  • A higher intensity
  • Constant transitions working anaerobic fitness
  • Reduced time to think and problem solve

Futsal is hard work and I think that is possibly why some players don't enjoy playing it. When you are on the court there is no rest period. Your body and mind are constantly being challenged during attacking, defending and transition phases. This is why futsal players can think up to a second faster than footballers.

All of the above should make playing on a bigger pitch at 7, 9 or 11 a side much easier. If you look at the top level of football most of the teams are better organised defensively and you have about 18-20 players playing in a third of a pitch. This requires players that can play in compact areas, players that are comfortable 1v1 and players that can be creative both in and out of possession. You'd be surprised how much transfers from futsal to football. Unfortunately, we are not there in Scotland yet with the ball being in the air more than any other league in the world, but football is continuing to evolve, and we are starting to see some progress at international level with 8 of the starting 11 against Ukraine last night playing in the English Premier League and a different standard and style of football to the SPL.

Here we have highlighted the 100+ players that have gone on to play pro academy football, but we are enormously proud of all of our players. We have some great examples of players that can't get a football team due to them sadly not being at the level required but our structure at futsal enables them to play at a level more appropriate to their ability than their age. We also have a number that I believe can go on to play pro football that are not already in the pro academy system.

If you ask the kids if they want to be footballers, 99.9% will say they do but even with our numbers here, we will be lucky if 1 or 2 of them actually do go on to make a living out of the game. Concerningly the stats also show that around 67.5% of the kids in a pro-environment between 16-20 years of age do not play any form of football by the time they are 21. This is where futsal can also help. There's also a futsal pathway for our players. Our First Team has ambitions to play in the Champions League and we have ambitions for our players to play for the national team. Last week we seen 15 of your players, most of whom are playing grassroots football at u17 and u14 age groups represent IFA Scotland in Spain and the atmosphere and levels of excitement amongst the players, coaches and parents have reached a new level. They have experienced a small part of what futsal can offer.

In the future we will be entering further tournaments abroad and through our links with FC Barcelona we will provide players the opportunity to learn from one of the best academies in the world at La Masia.

Now is a great time to be involved in futsal and with Futsal Escocia.

Academy Sessions - If you want to be part of our futsal academy, please check out our timetable: https://futsal-escocia.class4kids.co.uk/

Leagues - If you want to participate in our Futsal Escocia Winter Leagues with your teams (2016's to adult) please email [email protected]

If you would like to see futsal in your area of Scotland, please email [email protected]