At the start of every season I believe that it is important for the players and the team to set themselves objectives and to look at how you can achieve them.
This season, the objective was to qualify for the Super League and to try and win a trophy in the regional leagues. After our debut season in the SFL Edinburgh, we knew this wouldn't be easy but was achievable.
SFL - EDINBURGH
We started the season well and the larger court at the Oriam appeared to benefit our young squad. On a larger court the boys are able to make use of the space better and to use different formations and tactics to break down older and more physical teams.
Despite some really challenging matches, we won every game on the larger court, and drew 3-3 with FC Edina on the smaller court in a game we felt we still should have won. The results ensured that we went on to win the SFL Edinburgh, remaining unbeaten in the process!! A big difference from last term was the number of goals conceded. To concede just 14 goals in 10 games is excellent at any level of futsal.
The league winners from the other regional leagues qualified directly for next seasons Super League, but Edinburgh has a different process with qualification gained by play-offs. In the play-offs, we faced Stirling and Edinburgh Universities on the larger court and won both matches, meaning just a draw would suffice against Dalkeith Thistle on the smaller court. Unfortunately we lost this match, and despite topping the play-offs group on superior goal difference, we faced Edinburgh University in a play-off final, which due to exams in the larger hall, was again played in the smaller court at the Oriam. The conditions are the same for both teams, however, the smaller court requires less running and there's a far greater emphasis on physical duals. It's a completely different game and even more challenging for a group of players predominantly between 14 and 17 years of age. Everyone connected with the club was devastated to lose this match (4-3 to Edinburgh University) as we believed we had done enough to earn promotion to the Super League. Without sounding like it is sour grapes, I feel this is an area that needs looked at in the future to ensure the best teams are going forward to the Super League.
During our league campaign, we started an enjoyable run in the Scottish Cup beating Glasgow sides Ambassadors and Glasgow Deaf in the earlier rounds before defeating Edinburgh University 2-1 in stop clock conditions on a full size court in Perth. In the semi final we faced Dundee Futsal Club, who had just secured 2nd place in the Super League. Despite the difference in leagues, players ages, and the experience of playing on a full court and in stop clock conditions, we believed that we were capable of causing an upset. We performed extremely well and more than competed in an exciting match that we were unlucky to lose 3-2. This is probably the best the team has performed and it further highlighted our ability to play at this level.
SFL EDINBURGH - LEAGUE CUP
In the League Cup, we were drawn against Nerazurri, Dalkeith Cardo and North Sea. This was an opportunity to provide more game time to players and for players to make the step up from Futsal Escocia Liga 1 and make their debut for the first team. Adam Prior scored 4 goals in a Man of the Match performance on his debut.
We topped our League Cup group, winning all 3 matches, before facing Dalkeith Thistle in the semi final. Our performance in this match was right up there with the semi-final performance against Dundee and we were convincing 9-3 winners. This match was played on the larger court and made the play-off defeat all the more frustrating.
In the final, we faced FC Edina, winning 7-4 in a match that despite going behind at one stage, we always felt we were in control of. A domestic cup double!!
Overall, we have to be delighted with the progress the team has made, but being as I am, I know that there's more to come. To win every match on the larger court in Edinburgh isn't easy, especially with a young squad. Winning 2 trophies surpassed expectations and the Scottish Cup run to the semi final was an added bonus that has given everyone the appetite for further success next season.
Next season we are in advanced discussions with FC Edina about merging for the Super League next season, and the plan would be to retain at least one Futsal Escocia team in the SFL Edinburgh. The merger would assist FC Edina in fulfilling matches and will provide a stronger team to compete in the Super League.
Competition for places in the team is important but it's also important to show that there's a futsal pathway for all our players to be involved. The more advanced players should look to be involved in the first team in the Super League. A level below that will be the B, and potentially C teams, in the Edinburgh Regional League. Our Futsal Escocia internal leagues provide a pathway to the A, B and C teams. There should be a level for anyone wishing to play futsal.
As a club, our long terms objectives are to create a sustainable futsal club with a clear pathway to the first team. Our ambition is to win the Super League and to qualify for the UEFA Futsal Champions League.
As a structure based on the motto 'All about DEVELOPMENT and FUN' it is important that we help players fulfil their objectives in futsal and football and to provide them with an environment where they continue to grow players and people. For most players their personal ambition will to be a footballer but the reality is that unfortunately won't work out for most of our players. Futsal can provide the players with an alternative option or something to fall back on should their football career not go as they wanted. Within our first team squad we already have 3 players that have quit football and now just focus on futsal. What would they be doing if we weren't running?
To achieve what we have in the last 8 years is incredible...just imagine where we could be in 10 years time if we keep looking to better ourselves!!
I genuinely believe that we have players capable of going on to play Champions League Futsal and to represent their country in international competitions. It will be interesting to read their personal objectives when we ask them soon,
If you would like to be part of Futsal Escocia, please get in touch. We are open to boys and girls, men and women, of all ages and levels of ability.