Tag: Futsal

LNFS and LNFS England discuss joint plans

Javier Lozano (LNFS President) and Albania Grosso (LNFS England Chair) at LNFS headquarters, Madrid on 22nd July

Albania Grosso, Chair of LNFS England, met LNFS colleagues, including Javier Lozano (LNFS President), in Madrid last week to discuss our joint plans for the season ahead.

The following main points were agreed:

  • We will continue to develop the LNFS futsal brand worldwide, with several exciting international developments to be announced over the next few weeks.
  • LNFS colleagues in Spain will work with their counterparts in England to develop marketing and communications that are appropriate to the current level of development of English futsal.
  • Colleagues will also work together to develop a suitable broadcasting format for English futsal matches in a way that encourages viewers to want to participate in live futsal as either players or spectators.
  • The first Anglo-Spanish Cup will be held in 2022 in Spain between the two LNFS England Premiership play-off finalists and two leading Spanish sides (subject to the usual sanctioning requirements).
  • Spanish colleagues with English language proficiency will host webinars for LNFS England coaches and players to help develop both technical and club management skills.

Because of Covid-19, this eight-hour meeting was the first opportunity for LNFS and LNFS England colleagues to meet face to face rather than over a video link.

Albania said “It was great to meet Javier and LNFS colleagues, who live and breathe truly elite futsal. They provide inspirational leadership for the best futsal league in the world and I look forward to learning how to adapt their approach to the English situation.”

“The LNFS and LNFS England face similar challenges and opportunities” said Javier, “and by working together internationally we can collectively meet these challenges and enjoy the opportunities.”

GRASSROOTS FUTSAL BECOMES ACCESSIBLE TO ALL

Britain’s top futsal club ProFutsal London joins forces with North London Charity Bloomsbury Football.

ProFutsal London, 2021 National Futsal Series 1 Summer Showdown finalists and runners-up, will become an entity of the North London charity providing the best football experience for young players in the capital; Bloomsbury Football Foundation.

The Charity uses the power of football to improve the lives of young people, offering sustainable programmes that support active lifestyles, promote positive impacts and pursue full potentials, all powered by their visions of social cohesion, equality of opportunity and sporting excellence. Through holiday camps, school, open and foundation sessions, ‘Bears’ (eighteen-months to six year-olds),  girls and pan-disability programmes, as well as their own their own academy, Bloomsbury Football Foundation ensures every child has the opportunity to play football irrespective of their ability. And now, futsal joins that list, as ProFutsal London will join the Charity’s umbrella to become Bloomsbury Futsal, an add-on and futsal specific sector to Bloomsbury Football.

ProFutsal London began six years ago and was founded by former Arsenal Academy player and Aberdeen professional, Jon Kurrant, who despite his talent, didn’t enjoy the sport. He’s been part of the futsal format for eleven years now after being introduced to it during his time at University.  

“After Loughborough, I was coaching grassroots. Many concepts of what I was coaching were futsal components. A lot of parents and players really enjoyed it but said it felt different to what they were normally being taught. I was asked to set up a futsal session, and it blew up within a year, we started with an U12s team and then had a full pathway of U10s to U16s very quickly”.

ProFutsal’s current set-up encompasses U6s to U16s and a highly elite adult pathway. From next season, the U18s Development side will be split in two; into a Development team comprising peripheral First Team players, developmental players and impressive Academy graduates, and an U18s team of Academy graduates in need of experience. The First Team, which has seen seven of their players including Kurrant capped by the National side, have only been running the courts for four years but play in Tier One of the National Futsal Series and are one of two mainstay teams competing for the title. Their quality, despite their infancy, is testament to the First Team manager Juan Tapia-Owens, according to Kurrant.

“He is excellent, and could easily be a professional coach abroad. We’re quite lucky in that respect because that’s what’s catapulted us the last couple years and is what makes us compete at the top level. It’s gotten to the point where ProFutsal London is huge and is ready for better and bigger infrastructure, and Bloomsbury can support that and deliver our objectives, to expose futsal on a much bigger scale in London”.

The structural foundations of the organisation ProFutsal are set to befit is one that Kurrant describes as “one of the biggest grassroot infrastructures”. The reliability, quality, and expertise of Bloomsbury’s extensive task force of full-time and sessional staff already working to provide the plethora of programmes that they do, will be for Kurrant the best support futsal can ask for driving the sport.

“Our CPD (continued professional development) and knowledge of futsal in England is very strong. Now it’s about rolling that out. It’s about getting more sessions and exposing the game, that’s definitely what Bloomsbury can provide. Being able to get more coaches in, interested and involved is a massive plus. Having HR and a core to build from, will allow us to really concentrate on the court a lot more and build those sessions, rather than having to deal with venue finding and the administrative side. Bloomsbury alleviates that”. 

But maybe the most impressive for Kurrant, and simultaneously most important component of Bloomsbury’s infrastructure, especially for wanting to lift the level of provision of the sport of futsal in the capital, is how the Charity operates.   

“The model that Bloomsbury has, there’s not barriers to people playing. There’s a fixed rate for people that can afford it, but if you can’t afford it, there’s 50%, 75%, or full bursaries. That means we’re not leaving out players that could really benefit from Futsal and be exposed to something quite exciting in England. People that don’t make it in their football or don’t have the skillset to make it at the elite Academy level, have a massive opportunity to do so now with us in futsal”.

The nature of futsal is what makes it so strong as a development tool for football, but also as a format in it its own right as a game to be played at the higher level. “We want that to be just as much of a focus” stated Kurrant.

It serves as outlet for so many who may not favour the physicality of football due to being victim to how everyone’s biological age versus their chronological age differs. Instead, the format of futsal, because of the frequency of having the ball, quickens and improves decision making; where football may only have dwelled too heavily and unsavourily on physicality, something Kurrant wholly believes in.

“I played at a decent level of football, and I didn’t really enjoy it, because you don’t touch the ball as much. I was a centre midfielder, so I wanted the ball all the time. The futsal format allows you to be engaged with the game a lot more, especially goalkeepers who are as much an attacking influence as a defending one. You’re going to develop as a player, because you’re going to get the ball a lot more, and make more mistakes, and then learn from them and do the right things and understand why you’re doing them right”.

Impacting over 3000 beneficiaries, Bloomsbury is an organisation that uses sport as a vehicle in contributing to a collaborative and more cohesive society, educating, engaging, steering children away from anti-social behaviour and altogether developing children personally, through promoting soft skills. 

Now the tool of futsal, whether it be used for football or personal development, is due to be offered to so many future players.  

“I just know how much it’s going to grow. Not just the name of Bloomsbury or for Pro becoming a part of that name and growing, but Futsal doesn’t get the exposure it deserves. It’s a great game, I want to get it out to more kids and more adults. And I think we can do that, pushing on that infrastructure: there’s a platform to springboard from. I think we’ll be competing at the top for a long time. The biggest reason is because of the sustainability Bloomsbury will provide for the youth and adult players playing at highest level. Making sure that provision is at the highest standard possible in England, I think we’ll achieve that”, stated Kurrant.

For that reason alone, the amalgamation is extremely exciting, but for Bloomsbury’s CEO and Founder Charlie Hyman, it’s particularly special for another reason. Hyman has been involved, like Kurrant, with futsal for a number of years and himself is a ProFutsal London player too, and first-hand has experienced the value of the sport. It means the already familiar tried and tested relationship of Kurrant, Tapia-Owens and Hyman now suddenly becomes prolific on an entirely new level.

Hyman, speaking on the announcement, exclaimed that “Jon and Juan who currently run and manage Pro Futsal are incredible and have amazing knowledge and expertise in coaching futsal, and we feel that Bloomsbury as an organisation have the infrastructure to support them. Supporting futsal in growing an incredible programme, providing a better service, increasing the awareness of the sport, and elevating the sport of futsal which is still a niche sport in this country. Building both participation elements but also the elite pathways for young players to progress through into Youth teams, Development teams and First Team – both for boys, girls, men, and women”.

The partnership is part of a wider ambition to not only propel the sport of futsal into the household name it’s potential deserves, but for, what will now be Bloomsbury Futsal, to double its weekly participants of two-hundred in eighteen months, to build an equally elite women’s set-up both at Academy and First Team level, and to allow both First Teams within three to five years to be paid for their performances on the court.

“We are also looking forward to building our partnership with the University of Hertfordshire in delivering their futsal programme. Bryn Clark, UoH Deputy Director of Sport, is clearly as passionate as we are about the growth of Futsal and look forward to continuing this relationship going forward. The new structure will allow for a full pathway from youth to adults whilst allowing an incredible opportunity to study a degree alongside playing in the BUCS Premier as well as opportunities to play for Bloomsbury in the National Futsal Series”, expressed Juan Tapia-Owens.

Futsal in London, is due to explode. And to kick off the start of the accessible provision promised by the partnership, Bloomsbury Futsal is hosting FREE drop-in sessions every Wednesday 15:30-17:15 for school years 6-11, at Westway Sports & Fitness Centre, W10 6RP. Should you want to find out more about the drop-in sessions or Bloomsbury Futsal, visit the website, follow them on Instagram and Twitter, or contact Jon Kurrant at [email protected]

British Futsal Club Cup

Discussions with colleagues from futsal clubs playing in the different British nations show there is a strong appetite for an annual club competition – the British Futsal Club Cup – that would allow clubs from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales to play against each other in a friendly tournament over a long weekend every summer.

The tournament would have the following structure, although all details are open for community discussion before a final decision is agreed between the clubs in the four nations (who would then seek sanction to enter this competition by their respective National Governing Bodies in the usual way):

  • The tournament would be held over three or four days during the summer period, after the end of the futsal and football seasons.
  • Two teams would enter the tournament from each nation, so there would be a total of eight teams from the four nations. The two teams from LNFS England would be the finalists in our Premiership play-off competition. Criteria for entries from other nations would be for the clubs in each home nation to decide.
  • The tournament venue would rotate around the nations each year. LNFS England would be happy to host the inaugural tournament in 2022 – at a venue in either the Midlands or the North with an international standard court and spectator seating (e.g. St. Georges’s Park).
  • The competition structure would be:
    • Two groups of four teams, with one club from each nation in each group, allocated at random. The four teams in each group play each other once, so every team has three matches during the group stage against a team from each other nation. There would be a total of 12 matches in the group stage (6 per group), with two matches per group per day (i.e. four matches across both groups) run over a period of three days, so every team plays once a day.
    • The top team from each group plays in a grand final to determine the overall tournament champion, with the possibility of additional matches for other teams beforehand to determine overall rankings (i.e. 3rd to 8th place).
    • All matches would be filmed and broadcast.
  • The host country league would pay for the venue, match officials, and match broadcasting and may choose to charge a spectator admission fee. Each team would pay for its own travel and accommodation. Any sponsorship for the tournament would be used first to reduce or eliminate the expenses of the host and then to reduce or eliminate the expenses of the participating teams. Once all host and participant expenses are reimbursed any surplus from the tournament would belong to the host.

We look forward to working with clubs and NGBs to progress this exciting initiative as soon as key colleagues in all Home Nations return from furlough.

Jose Carlos Lopez joins LNFS England as Technical Advisor

The LNFS England board would like to welcome Jose Carlos Lopez, the Spanish professional futsal player, as he joins the league as its Technical Advisor. Jose Carlos will be working with LNFS England clubs to improve the standard of futsal played on the court and to assist in transferring knowledge from LNFS in Madrid. He will combine his vast playing experience to improve standards on the court and the match-day experience for players in England.

Jose Carlos has been a professional futsal player for the past 18 years. His debut for Boadilla FS in the Spanish first division came at the age of seventeen, and since then he has played for many professional clubs in Spain, including Pinto FS, Tres Cantos, Carnicer Torrejon, Caja Segovia, Pescados Ruben Burela, and Jimbee Cartagenia. He appeared in four Spanish Cup finals, two play-off semi-finals in the Primera division, and received one golden boot award. During his career playing in the LNFS Jose Carlos scored around 230 goals in more than 500 matches spread over 14 seasons.

He already has a good knowledge of the game in England, having played for two seasons with Baku United in 2014/15 and 2015/16. Both seasons Baku United won the domestic double and in the second season they qualified for the UEFA Champions League main round, the only ever English club to do so. Jose Carlos was the leagues’ MVP and top-scorer in 2015/16, scoring 128 goals in around 50 matches during his time with Baku United. Over the years he has also made ten appearances for Helvecia in the UEFA Futsal Champions League.

He also has further experience with other European futsal leagues, having played in the Italian Serie A for Napoli Calcio 5, the French top-flight with Sporting Paris FS,  and in Croatia with Square Dubrovnik. Having played at a range of levels across Europe Jose Carlos will play a valuable role in helping English futsal develop, improving the standards on the court. He already has a good relationship with the LNFS in Madrid and has an excellent network with futsal clubs both in Spain and all across Europe.

Jose Carlos told us “It is a pleasure to be involved with LNFS England, an organisation linked with one I know well in LNFS. I will try to give my best to help develop futsal – making it more professional and widely known in the community. You have all the right things in place to be successful, so step by step and with patience we will achieve our goals”. Abrazos Jose Carlos! We can’t wait to get started. On behalf of all clubs in England who will benefit from your experience we want to thank you for helping to develop futsal in England!

Club application window for LNFS England 2021/22 season remains open

We know from discussions with several clubs that the FA’s decision to remove our league from the futsal pathway in April and then reinstate us last Friday has caused understandable confusion and may have dissuaded some from entering a team into our competition for next season.

Because of this confusion, which was beyond the control of clubs and our league, the LNFS England Directors are happy to consider applications for the 2021/22 season until June 21st.

Please email Ewan Minter for an application form if you wish to play in our club owned and controlled league – or fill out a web form here.

The LNFS England league structure will be finalised at our AGM next month. This structure will be based on evidence of each team’s competitive standard. In order to maintain league and sporting integrity, any team entering the league after next season will do so via our lowest tier.

The benefits of LNFS England membership next year include:

LNFS England ownership

  • Joint democratic ownership and control of your league with other Member Clubs. LNFS England is wholly owned by all its Member Clubs via the National Futsal League Community Interest Company.
  • A major say in how the league is run. All Directors of the league are democratically elected annually by the clubs, who are encouraged to nominate candidates as Directors to help run all aspects of the league for the benefit of Member Clubs.
  • Partnership with the Spanish LNFS, the world’s foremost futsal league, exposing English futsal clubs, players, and coaches to truly elite futsal.
  • Membership of a growing international community of LNFS Associations in the United States, the Baltic, and elsewhere, offering opportunities to work with, play against, and learn from futsal clubs and organisations worldwide.
  • Affiliation to the Football Association as an independent futsal league, owned by and accountable to its clubs.

LNFS England organisation

  • Competitive balance and travel minimisation, with teams placed in either the Premiership North or South divisions, or in the Championship North, Midlands, or South divisions. Movement between these divisions is by the normal process of promotion and relegation.
  • Co-ordination of youth leagues to ensure a smooth and competitive development pathway from junior to senior futsal.
  • Home and away matches in local venues. The LNFS England playing model is based on teams playing at least 10 home and 10 away matches each season in the best available local venues, as identified through our futsal arenas database. Central venues are only used for play-off matches at the end of each season.
  • Every team has something to play for until the end of the season, including divisional championships and promotion/relegation playoffs.
  • Opportunities to play high-quality opposition from other countries. There is an annual Anglo-Spanish club tournament for Premiership North and South winners; we are also in discussion with clubs from other Home Nations to start an annual British Club Futsal Cup; and further international playing initiatives in Europe and further afield are available.
  • Workshops on club development and club mentoring delivered by local and international experts, including Futsal World Cup winning coaches from LNFS clubs.

LNFS England funding and awards

  • All surplus funds are reinvested in the league. As a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, the National Futsal League reinvests all surplus funds into development of the league. For example, next season the league will pay for one of the two referees officiating at every league match in order to help clubs recover from the financial burden of the pandemic.
  • Value for money. LNFS England Directors do not receive any salary or expenses and a major aim is to make futsal widely accessible by keeping the cost of league entry as low as possible.
  • Awards and trophies. Each season divisional winners receive a trophy to keep, and their squad members receive winners’ medals. Divisional Golden Boot and Golden Glove awards are made to the top goal scorers and the goalkeepers with the best record. Divisional Coach of the Year awards are voted on by all coaches in each division.
  • Sponsorship by Joma and L4 Teamwear to deliver free match balls and discounted playing kit to all clubs.
  • Access to funding opportunities from an independent, futsal-specific charity set up to help encourage well run futsal clubs and democratically accountable futsal leagues.
  • A partnership with Koi Sports C.I.C. to provide ongoing support, coaching, and mentoring for LNFS England and its Member Clubs, help them build partnerships with businesses, and attract financial investment.
  • Comprehensive health, injury, and illness insurance for players and clubs from Our Game Football.

LNFS England communications

  • A high-quality website which includes news and views, fixtures and results, team and player profile pages and comparison charts, plus automatic display of player tweets.
  • A regular newsletter to help develop and maintain communications between clubs and Directors, plus all Directors can be contacted by ‘phone or email and welcome feedback to help improve the league.
  • Broadcasting. LNFS England’s YouTube channel broadcasts at least 40 matches and highlights each season, drawing upoOn LNFS experience to developing a realistic and achievable broadcasting strategy.
  • Match analysis. LNFS England’s partnership with Proindia provides video match analysis to help clubs improve individual and team performance.

Ewan Minter, LNFS England Communications Director, is happy to discuss your club’s application in complete confidence either by email or on the ‘phone. Please feel free to contact him.

League statement – The FA “Sets aside” LNFS England removal from Futsal Pathway

The LNFS England Directors would like to thank the FA for yesterday restoring our league to the futsal pathway in England.

LNFS England was removed from the pathway on 16th April without any prior discussion or notice. Since that date we have corresponded extensively with the FA in an effort to understand their point of view. This correspondence has included an open invitation to FA officers to speak to us on the ‘phone and the provision of detailed written answers to all FA queries.

We have clearly shown that no FA, UEFA, or FIFA rules have been broken by LNFS England, and our partnership with the LNFS is of benefit to the wider English futsal community.

We are glad this issue has been resolved and look forward to future positive engagement with the FA to develop futsal in England, with the expert help of our partners in Spain.

We have provided further details to our Member Clubs.

Weekend Round-up 8 – Women’s Super Series continues & men’s Summer Showdown begins

Another weekend, another set of fixtures in the FA’s National Futsal Series. This time, some of the top men’s sides in the country began to play each other in the ‘Tier 1 Summer Showdown’. The ‘Tier 2’ competition continued, although it has been very difficult to cover these matches since there was no video or really even any live reporting. But first, the Women’s Super Series played their second round of fixtures – this week saw some better match-ups and as a result some more competitive games.

Helvecia Ladies 5-3 University of Liverpool

Both teams dominated with relatively easy wins last week and this was always going to be a closer encounter, between two of the best women’s sides in the country. Liverpool were excellent in the opening stages, Newsham in particular a real handful on the break and she should have scored or set up a couple of goals but the closest she came was in hitting the post. Helvecia also wasted a few good opportunities, Emma Tune setting up her teammates on a number of occasions only for them to miss hit what seemed like easy opportunities.

Helvecia’s teenage goalkeeper Alicia Grimmond, largely a spectator last week was excellent here in the first half, making a number of good saves and showing fantastic distribution with her hands. After almost an entire half of high quality play from both teams it was unfortunate that an error lead to the first goal. Selin Buyukgiray’s tame shot was only parried by Liverpool’s keeper, and Tune was on hand to rifle the loose ball into the roof of the net. Tune followed it a couple of minutes later after a good breakaway by Helvecia, beating the keeper at the near post as she shaped to fire it towards the far post. Ana Alvarez-De La Iglesia scored a third before half-time after a fairly simple corner-routine was deflected in off the defender’s attempted block. The score line at half-time was harsh on Liverpool who had really played well and could easily have been on level terms with slightly better finishing.

The second half picked up exactly where we left off, Helvecia with a touch more of the ball, but Liverpool always looking dangerous on the break. Erin Slade & Emma Lysons were both fantastic in the opening exchanges, adding to Newsham’s threat. Slowly, Helvecia became more dominant in the half and after more than nine minutes of goalless but breathless play in the second half, Alvarez-De La Iglesia capitalised on a poor throw out in the middle, but still had a lot to do in beating the keeper with an excellent left-footed strike into the far post.

Helvecia were now in control of the match, a slightly deflated looking Liverpool struggling now to get out of the half. Emma Lyson’s breakway offered some hope, and a way back into the game after she put it through Grimmond’s legs to make it 4-1. As the teams tired, Buyukgiray was allowed to advance up the centre of the court and she blasted it beyond XXX in the Liverpool goal to restore a comfortable four goal lead. Liverpool were determined to at least make the scoreline respectable – especially given they’d given the country’s leading women’s side such a good game – Grimmond was forced into some more excellent saves. Newsham managed to pull one back with a free-kick that was rifled into the bottom corner, and almost immediately she followed it with another strike after being put through brilliantly by Lysons. Liam Francis called a timeout, clearly concerned about Liverpool ascendancy. Helevcia were better thereafter, although the game did still contain chances for both sides to score, it finished 5-3 to the Champions. A fantastic game and an even better advert for women’s futsal in England.

Helvecia’s Head Coach Liam Francis said after the game: “It was a great performance from the team, we knew it was going to be tough, and we had to weather a storm in parts. However, the players stuck to the game plan, and our relentless press came to fruition on multiple occasions.

But also, what a great advert for women’s futsal that was, two of the best sides going head to head and producing some brilliant performances.”

Helvecia will next face Loughborough Students, while University of Liverpool will face Reading Royals.

Elsewhere, Loughborough Students beat Reading Royals Women 4-1, Bedford managed to beat a confident Birmingham WLV by 4-3 in an exciting encounter and Bolton continued their impressive start to life as a women’s club with another victory, this time against local rivals Liverbird Futsal. The remaining fixture, Genesis v Cheshire, was cancelled after a positive COVID test in the Genesis squad and the win was awarded to Cheshire. All of the action can be viewed here

NFS Tier 1 Summer Showdown – St Georges Park

The FA National Futsal Series ‘Summer Showdown’ is being held over the course of four weekends this summer, and it’s not only great for those teams to get some competitive action for the first time in fourteen months, but also fantastic to see the work being put in to promote the game by streaming the event live on YouTube, and airing the highlights next weekend on Freesports. The first set of fixtures made some decent viewing, although ideally everyone would have had more time to prepare by training indoors, so it may take a week or two for everyone to get fully up to speed.

The first match, between Bolton and Derby, was a closely fought contest between two fairly even teams. During the second half, perhaps not surprisingly given the intensity of the first half combined with the long time without playing, both teams looked as though they lacked the energy to make a decisive breakthrough. As Derby were a goal down it was they who were forced to do the running. A Brilliant piece of awareness combined with skillful execution saw player-manager Stuart Cook score from 35 meters after spotting the Derby keeper off his line, and it was enough to see Bolton over the line as 3-1 winners.

The second match, between ProFutsal and Worcester, I think it’s fair to say was not ‘a closely fought contest’. In fact, the only fair way to describe the match was that Worcester received an absolute walloping by ProFutsal. Worcester could barely hold the ball against ProFutsal’s high and energetic press, Jonny Sim in the ProFutsal goal had less than a handful of saves to make all match. At the other end, and despite Dylan Malpas’ best efforts goals flew in from all angles as the match finished 13-0 to the favourites for Group A. Can Worcester recover and avoid thrashings by Bolton and Derby? Can ProFutsal challenge Helvecia for the title and the European place to go with it?

Helvecia played Birmingham WLV in the third match of the day – boasting a number of new signings including Liam Palfreeman, fresh off the back of winning a Serie B title in Italy with CUS Ancona. Helvecia took an early lead, before being surprisingly pegged back by Birmingham. Hopes of an unlikely upset were quickly dashed as Helvecia piled on the pressure, sharing the goals around the team and easily beating Birmingham 8-1 in the end.

The final match of the day saw one of England’s most historic clubs take on the best University team in the country. Manchester started brightly, going into an early lead before two good goals from Loughborough put them ahead. Two penalties, neither without controversy, were put away early in the second half by Raducio King. Manchester’s new signing from ProFutsal Jeff Adubofour extended the lead, before Ruben Santos managed to bring it back within a goal. Loughborough’s fly keeper made an entertaining final couple of minutes, but Manchester held on to make a great start to their campaign.

All of the action from the men’s competition can be seen here

LNFS England becomes an Elite Champion member of Koi Sports

LNFS England is pleased to announce that it has been accepted as a Koi Sports CIC Elite Champion Member.

Koi Sports CIC were established in November 2018 to help “sustain, enhance, and grow” the grassroots sports sector by driving commercial investment into sports clubs to deliver positive social change. They work on the premise that sport brings people and communities together, no matter what an individual’s background, religion, race, or other characteristic, and that everyone should be given the opportunity to get involved in a sport that they enjoy to improve both their physical and mental health.

Koi Sports believes that in making sport more affordable and accessible, it delivers huge benefits for local communities.

Koi Sports Director, David Johnson-Rayner explains:

“This is much more than just the traditional “sponsoring of a Club and/or Team”. Businesses that we work with are encouraged to get involved with grassroots clubs on a one-to-one basis, utilising their involvement as part of their Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, which, if utilised effectively, can help Members to retain existing customers and win new business, as well as make strides to becoming an “Employer of Choice”.

One of the ways Koi Sports is engaging with businesses is through their 2021 Elite Champion Membership Scheme, successfully piloted in 2020:

“We reinvest membership fees into a business’s chosen Grassroots Sports Club as well as our chosen Charity “Sports Traider”, whilst marketing the reinvestment across social media on behalf of our members. In addition, members are invited to market their business at our twice monthly networking events, and through their own dedicated episode of our Grassroots Sports Podcast.

Koi Sports will also be providing ongoing support, coaching and mentoring for LNFS England, and its Member Clubs, to help them establish and run their own investing corporate support network, sharing their knowledge, expertise, and experience of this win-win income generation model.

All enquiries about this new partnership should be directed to Peter Sharples, LNFS England’s Business Director, who adds:

Our aim in working with Koi Sports is to develop a sustainable, recurring, and growing income stream to fund the sustainable development of LNFS England and its Member Clubs.”

Weekend round-up #7 – LFL Conclusion, Return of NFS

After several weekends with disrupted outdoor events due to the wettest May on record in the UK, national-level competitions returned indoors for the first time in just over fourteen months. The FA’s futsal competition, the National Futsal Series (NFS) began their Women’s Super Series and their long awaited men’s “Summer Showdown” competitions. Over the next four weeks the men’s NFS1 teams will compete for a single Champions League spot, while the women’s clubs will compete for their national title. Meanwhile, NFS2 teams will also play a competition to determine another champion. It should provide plenty of entertainment over the coming weeks – some of the competitions are available live on the NFS official YouTube channel – futsal fans should subscribe here!

West London 10-8 Los Benjamines

First though, we need to tie up loose ends! The London Futsal League has been playing outdoors at Westway for the past six weeks, but inclement weather disrupted the final stages. This weekend the organisers made the sensible decision to play the final round indoors to finish the competition and crown a winner.

Los Benjamines have been so impressive and were undefeated thus far in the competition, whilst West London had started with no wins in their first three matches and were fortunate that the tournament format allowed them a path to the final.  WLF Started the match fast, taking an early two-goal lead, Osama and Fabio N getting on the scoresheet quickly. Los Benjamines fought back, levelling with two goals of their own and then with momentum on their side were able to press on and extend their lead to 3-2 at the interval.

WLF manager Douglas St. Louis’s changes at half time proved effective as the match swung back in their favour. Five second half goals from Osama, giving him six in total in the match and twelve in the competition overall , and even though tournament start player Erick was able to add a few himself in what became a ding dong affair, goals flying in from all angles, Los Benjamines were unable to overcome the early momentum shift and the tie finished 10-8 to WLF. This edition of the London Futsal League goes to them after an improbable turnaround, not only in the game but the competition as a whole! Congratulations to them, and well played to everyone involved.

West London Futsal – LFL Winners Spring 2021

Helvecia Ladies 6-0 Reading Royals Women

Helvecia, undoubtedly the most famous and successful futsal club in England have not only the strongest men’s team in the country, but also the most successful women’s futsal team – runaway and undefeated leaders in the COVID-stricken 2019-20 season, but also multiple national champions, both as Helvecia and in their previous guise as South London Ladies. This tie was therefore always going to be a baptism of fire for the relatively inexperienced Reading Royals Women’s side, who will no doubt find subsequent fixtures easier than this one. Nicole Pepper’s strike after a corner opened the scoring for Helvecia and was soon followed onto the scoresheet by Louise Hogan’s toe-strike into the bottom corner. Some excellent saves By Cristina Sarmiento kept it close for the first quarter, and Reading eventually settled into the match, making fewer errors and beginning to look like they might have some luck on the counter.

Helvecia, thanks to quality in particular from BT Sport’s Ultimate Goal star Selin Buyukgiray, continued to dominate the ball. Selin and her teammates passed it around with great precision, and eventually that dominance led to a goal just before half time – an excellent ball from Ana Alvarez-De La Iglesia was flicked delightfully in by the ever impressive Emma Tune – probably the best known female English player in the league. Helvecia began the second half well, and were relentless in putting Reading under pressure with and without the ball. Hogan set up Lucindha Lawson to score the fourth, and Helvecia were regularly able to find their way in behind Reading’s defence. Some excellent goalkeeping, and on several occasions the frame of the goal, prevented the score getting out of hand. Eventually Nerea Castro-Chaudarcas scored a fifth after being found at the back post by Arabel Vilas Serin. The best goal of the match was an excellent counter-attack, Tune breaking the length of the court with amazing speed after intercepting a Reading corner, and then showing composure to find Pepper who finished high into the goal. Tune, who on another day could have scored a hat-trick managed to hit the post again before time ran out. Viewers can re-watch the full match here

Liam Francis, Helvecia Head Coach told us after the match – “I thought we were excellent on Saturday, we controlled the ball from start to finish and didn’t allow our opposition too many opportunities to hurt us. It was a commanding performance and one that I am proud of for our first game after well over a year. I would also like to state just what a well-run team Reading Royals were, they showed great team spirit to keep driving on for the whole match, and I know they’ll cause an upset further down the line.”

Fernando Silva, Reading’s manager added – “It was our debut and we couldn’t be happier than to have the chance of playing against one of the best women’s futsal teams in the country. I’m super proud of our girls, we are going to keep working hard to get better every week. The team spirit is really high and after today’s game we are definitely a better team. It was amazing to be back indoors again after so long outside! Well done to London Helvecia for their deserved win.”

This Saturday Reading Royals will face Loughborough Students and Helvecia’s next opponent will be The University of Liverpool. Both matches will be live streamed on the NFS YouTube channel.

ProFutsal Dev 6-4 Reading Royals

Reading Royals were Premiership South champions in the National Futsal League last year – being awarded the overall title on ‘points per game’. Despite losing several key players to local rivals Wessex Futsal Club, they still have a very strong team, as proved by their recent showing in the Futsal Premier League. They began their ‘Summer Showdown’ campaign against ProFutsal Development, another excellent young team who have impressed in the Futsal Premier League this spring. They were boosted with the addition of senior players Charlie Hyman and Felipe Lima, both of whom were impressive in this match, which was an excellent display of passion, emotion and high intensity futsal right until the final seconds.

ProFutsal had the majority of the ball and were pressed with great intensity by Reading who in a similar fashion to recent displays in the FPL were happy to play a counterattacking game dominated by fast transitions and excellent distribution by their outstanding goalkeeper Dan Welch. Reading took the lead in the match after a well worked free kick was saved into the path of Josh Gillespie at the back post. ProFutsal managed to wrestle the game back with two well worked goals in the first half and then Ollie Kay scored at the back post after some excellent pivot play by Felipe Lima halfway through the second half. The game opened up from here on – a controversial goal that ProFutsal furiously complained was handball was scored by Reading. Hyman restored a two goal cushion, before Reading pulled another back with an expertly taken ‘double penalty’ by captain Phillip Lant. The Royals then drew level with yet another counter attack finished by Gillespie for his second. Then with 45 seconds left, an unfortunate ricochet fell nicely for Josh Nathan who finished past a helpless Welch. Chaos then ensued as Reading went for it, Welch joined the attack, Lant lost it in the middle, ProFutsal broke on a 3 v 1, with no goalkeeper and the defender did all he could to stop a certain goal and took the man out. Reading’s player was sent off, passions on the benches becoming frayed at this point. Lima scored the 10m penalty to put the game to bed and ProFutsal began with a win in a match that could easily have been won by either team.

Both teams will face Escolla Futsal Club in their next match, ProFutsal next weekend in Wycombe, then Reading the following weekend in Salisbury.

Sporting Southend 5-3 Bedford

Last season’s runners-up to Reading Royals in the Premiership South were Sporting Club Southend – an excellent team who improved as that season progressed, with some top players in their ranks. Nelson Santos has incredible talent with the ball at his feet and one-v-one is as good as anyone in the country playing futsal at the moment. Bedford have a less experienced team, and more home-grown players – but they felt they could cause Southend problems.

A flurry of early goals saw Santos open for Southend, a reply by Bedford via Samuel Smith, and the restoration of Sporting’s lead via another starting player in Bruno Vitorino. Jorge Correira extended their lead halfway through the first half. The second half was intense with both teams defending well – although things were threatening to boil over at one point. Pernell Taylor-Jacob pulled one back for Bedford, before Miguel Antonio scored for Southend. Bedford went fly-goalkeeper in an effort to save the game, and although Taylor-Jacob gave them hope, it was dashed by Vitorino who finished the game with a ‘double penalty’ in the final minutes.

Southend and Bedford face Wessex in their next matches.

We will continue to round-up as much action as we can – if you’d like your club to feature please get in touch with us at [email protected]

Proindia becomes the analytics partner of LNFS England

LNFS England is pleased to announce an exclusive partnership with Proindia to provide match analysis for our Member Clubs during the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons. This partnership will provide data that helps coaches and players assess and improve both individual and team performances.

The Proindia match analysis system currently includes the following metrics for teams and players, linked to match video clips so that players and coaches can focus on individual players or phases of play:

  • Possession %
  • Goals and assists
  • Total Shots
  • Shots on Target
  • Shot Conversion Rate
  • Passes Completed
  • Chances Created
  • Successful Tackles
  • Successful Interceptions
  • Duels Won
  • Total Saves
  • Total Fouls
  • Activity, vector, and distribution maps

Proindia will be provided with at least 40 LNFS England Premiership matchday videos for analysis during both the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons, plus play-off matches, at no charge to the teams involved.

All LNFS England clubs in either the Premiership or Championship may also make use of this match analysis facility by providing a match video plus player names, shirt numbers, and positions (goalkeeper or outfield player).

Unless otherwise agreed, each match analysis will be completed within 48 hours of receipt of the match video and will be uploaded to a password protected section of Proindia’s StepOut Total Management System.

All match videos (but not analyses) will also be uploaded to the LNFS England YouTube channel.

Over the summer we will work with StepOut’s Analytics Technology & LNFS England clubs to beta-test the analysis system which will ensure that it meets coach and player needs.

This initiative is part of LNFS England’s commitment to help futsal clubs develop and improve performance both on and off the court.