We all love Futsal in the UK and are extremely excited about the opportunities on where this beautiful sport can go in the future.
Futsal is also very much a worldwide game and is extremely popular down in Australia. Due to the huge influx of migrants who have been exposed to Futsal from an early age, our beautiful sport is fast becoming the number one game in Australia - (even being referenced to as the ‘shot in the arm’ that football needs, as was Twenty-20 to cricket). Australia has its own ‘F-League”, for semi-professional clubs, played nationally which is due to recommence in June 2018 after a short break.
Players are starting to play extremely young in Australia, and one such young man that we have recently been made aware of is 16-year-old Max Kelly. Max was born in the UK but migrated to the Gold Coast in Queensland with his family in 2010.
Max quickly became involved as a futsal keeper, (transferring his outdoor skills to indoor), fell in love with the game and rose through the ranks. He represented Gold Coast teams for several years and two years ago was selected to play for FC Galaxy, a semi-professional futsal team based on the Gold Coast, playing in the F-League.
Fast forward two years and he is now the first-choice youth keeper, (for between 16-19 years of age), and last year has also broken into the senior squad at just 16.
FC Galaxy also have a ‘sister club’, Gold Coast Force, who compete in the Series Futsal Australia Championships, (which hold state championships in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland). The top two teams from each league compete in the ‘Series Futsal Australia’ championships.
Max was recently a member of the Gold Coast Force futsal squad that have just won the prestigious ‘Series Futsal Australia National Title’, and again Max is still only 16 years of age. This is the highest achievement in Australia and involved playing against international and a significant number of overseas players (http://www.galaxyfutsal.com/gold-Coast-force/).
He was also a key member of the squad that has just finished runners-up in the Series Futsal Queensland League, and Finals runners-up. This is the highest tournament in Queensland and enables Gold Coast Force to participate in next year’s National Championships once more.
Through his journey, Max has had to endure setbacks, injuries, non-selection at trials etc, but throughout all of this he has remained focused, diligent and always respectful of others, (coaches, team mates and competitors). He realises that within Australia he is extremely lucky to have access to several people who have had extensive experience in Futsal across the world and the most important part of his development is to listen, learn and put all aspects of their advice into practice.
He trains every day, whether with his team or in the gym, is always open to feedback, recognises that he still needs to learn and is fully equipped with the dedication, commitment, humility and most importantly, 100% love of the sport that is required to achieve his goals.
He is now being touted as a ‘young gun with a big future’ by several senior people involved in Futsal in Australia - which is awesome! As a ‘stretch target’ he is very keen to represent either his country of birth or adopted country someday.
As part of his ongoing development he has recently contacted Simon Wright from Manchester Futsal Club, sharing his ‘futsal resume’ and some of his recent videos. After a conversation, Simon and the Manchester Futsal team have offered Max a chance to go to the UK and train, develop and possibly play with the Manchester setup.
This is a huge opportunity for Max, and clearly shows from a club perspective that Manchester Futsal wish to support young talented players fulfil their aim of playing at the top level (regardless of location), as well as further demonstrating the progressive plans that Manchester Futsal have and reach that the club has across the world. (Manchester Futsal Club also have had previous conversations with FC Galaxy about ‘reciprocal opportunities’ for players).
By demonstrating this type of ‘worldwide reach’ and openness to opportunities, we are sure that with our positive approach, that we will really help to build the UK Super League into the fully professional environment that we all want it to be. This approach should be commended.
Max and Simon are now currently in further conversations for Max to join the club, learn/develop and hopefully play with the team(s) in January 2019, (once Max finishes his school). There may also be an opportunity for him to study in the UK whilst he plays with Manchester Futsal Club.
This is a great story, a focused, diligent and humble young man who (despite a number setbacks), has remained focused, worked extremely hard and is now starting to gain state/national recognition in Australia at such a young age. Furthermore, hopefully he will be able to ‘traverse continents’ to learn with a play with/for a forward-thinking UK-based futsal club, who are keen to build worldwide relationships with other futsal clubs, and perhaps assist Max in achieving his long-term goal of representing his country.
Below is his latest video, taken from the recent Series Futsal Queensland finals, (in which Gold Coast Force were runners up).