Here at Manchester Futsal Club we’re passionate about futsal, and believe that it is a sport with massive, unexploited potential in our country.
We’re dedicated to growing the sport. But why? Why do we think that futsal is the best sport for you and your children? Why do we love futsal?
Well that’s exactly what we’ve asked everyone at the club, from the chairman down, in a new weekly feature that will reveal exactly why we choose to spearhead English futsal.
This week, we chatted to new signing, England international Richard Ward.
What is your first memory of futsal?
I played in a tournament when I was 15 without really knowing what it was. It was with a full sized ball but they called it futsal. We ended up winning, and I scored, but I completely forgot about it soon after.
When did you first play the sport?
Aside from my accidental brush with the sport at 15, I tried out for the men's football team at university. There a big night out before the trials and I decided to go out rather than prioritise the trials. Safe to say I was rubbish at the trials! Then I saw at the sports fair about futsal from Janio Cruz. I went to the trails and was fortunate enough to get it. Little did I know, but also there that day were Joonas Puolamaaki, future Finland international, Tolu Sotonye, future England international, Joan Agusti who I’d go on to play with les corts in Spain, and Shimon Akiyama who’s a fantastic Japanese player. Probably the best trial I've ever been at and there were only 12 of us in total!
Do you have a football background?
I played until I was 18 at university but never had any trials at clubs. I played in a pub team for a season to build up my strength which was fun – but the football wasn't always the best.
Why is futsal better than football?
There are so many reasons. Most of all for me it's how to make space in tight areas. Nothing makes me happier than a pass to a pivot, a fake run, immediate set and finish. It's a pity I can't do it but I like to watch. Watching LNFS (Spanish futsal league) videos on YouTube you can really see the high level differences, the movements, the set pieces and the physicality of the players. It is something I aspire to.
What is the future of futsal?
It needs to be more recognised as a sport in its own right and not purely a development tool. In two years hopefully we have one league, and five years some sustainable pro teams. First and foremost I hope we get families coming to enjoy the game in a good atmosphere offering more thrills than football. It's a culture change but I think it's a breath of fresh air from football.
Can England ever win the Futsal World Cup?
Monkeys, typewriters, Shakespeare. So of course!
What is your favourite futsal memory?
Representing the University of Sheffield in EUSA (European University Championships), against hosts Finland. And every game in an England shirt.
Why do you love futsal?
It's all the skills of football but more intense. More than anything else it's more exciting.