An accidental Aussie rep (TAS)

The Advocate

Devonport's Matt Smith has made the Australian under 19 Futsal team which will travel to America at the end of the year. Picture: Katie McDougall.

Futsal is a sport on the rise, and Tasmania has embraced it with yet another Australian representative.

Devonport’s Matt Smith impressed selectors so much at the recent national titles in Sydney that he was selected in the under 19 Australian team to travel to America later this year.

“I’m absolutely stoked once I got the letter,” Smith said.

Being a state representative in the bigger form of the game – soccer – futsal was easy to get his teeth into.

Smith only took up futsal at the start of the 2008 season when he and a group of friends entered a tournament in Burnie.

“We used to play in the school gym with one of those big tennis balls and we decided one day to enter this tournament,” Smith said.

“At the tournament there was a scout there who picked our whole team as the state team and I have just gone on from there,” he said.

Smith recently quit playing the big version of the game to take up playing football for East Devonport.

“I’m moving to Hobart … to study, play futsal … but since I have made the Australian team I might have to take normal soccer back up again to get my skills up.”

For his achievements in making the Australian futsal team, Smith is this week’s The Advocate-IGA Sports Star of the Week.

Comments 40

  1. Just to help you Henky, you fly to Japan , turn sharp right and keep going for about 8 hours….European colonization began shortly after the “P&O” cruises led by a guy called Columbus in 1492. Largest nthxsth land mass on this planet !
    Good Luck Matt ! Well done ! Enjoy the moment !

  2. Well done Matt,

    Not sure what you are getting at Henk?

    Matt is one of the best Futsal players in the state and has been playing for several seasons now after being found at school Futsal Titles in Burnie.

    Hope Matt continues to improve as he will be a big part of our men’s program going forward!!!

  3. interestingly, I see plenty like Henky (Grimma) on here having a crack at a kid who gets selected to head overseas on a futsal tour with vikings, but never see any stories about kids being selected to head overseas on a FFA futsal tour.

    All this crap on this site about who does what fails, there were over 200 teams or around 2000 players playing elite Futsal 2nd week of Jan and kids from one tournament will head overseas to further their Futsal experience, I guess the others go back to club football. I for one are stoked that so many were playing in Jan.

    Which one is creating the Futsal Player?

  4. @ toepoke. Don’t confuse criticism of Vikings double standards with having a crack at a kid. You and other Vikings supporters rail against the involvement with football players in futsal yet you want to trumpet a kid who in his first try at futsal in 2008 gets selected with his whole team as Tasmanian representatives. He now plays AFL (?) for East Devonport and is thinking about going back to normal soccer. Compare his selection in the “Australian” Vikings team with the way the Futsalroos were selected. Good luck to you Matt in what sport you choose, but Vikings should lay off this rubbish about futsal and football not helping each other.

  5. Bit of a generalisation about football and futsal not helping each other Henky. Virtually all the top footballers have futsal experience.
    Football (in Australia) often threaten futsal players with non inclusion in top sides (if they play ‘that’ indoor game).If Vikings have double standards as you say, thats two more than football currently has ! lol)
    More and more kids will turn to futsal because its better run and more fun than outdoor…they know its a sport in its own right and not a training tool for the inadequacies of Australian junior football.
    FIFA,FFA and Jnr Football are not what you pretenders are trying to convince us they are…..sanctioned by those three ?….who cares ?
    Criticise selection of teams ( or the journalistic representation of same ?) Thank God for the European teams and coaches – not too many Australian based players in the socceroos is there Henky or am I missing something (p.s. Europe is in the opposite direction to America!).
    Keep criticising, you’ve little else to do.

  6. “You and other Vikings supporters rail against the involvement with football players in futsal”

    Can’t speak for others on here Grimma but my issue is Football have a perfect chance to promote the game of Futsal and benefit from it, but choose not to. In fact, threaten people with Bans for playing the game. (I had someone just today ring me worried they are going to ber banned as they play super league and play mid week futsal for Vikings)

    If Cricket can join forces with a private company who play indoor cricket and make it work, surely, for the good of the game, the FFA can see the need for Futsal to be a stand alone sport yet benefit from the capitations fees etc.

    I’m gathering in Vic your in charge of Football this and Football that oh and can you sort something with that Futsal game please… this is common amongst many football associations around the world, Futsal is a role tagged on to many football roles

    I’m pleased kids get the chance to play overseas with a Vikings Australian side, is more than what they receive with any other Futsal in this country any, just maybe, some of them will continue on and become true futsal players.

    You might be able to answer this, the Australian Futsal side that goes to the Maccabi games, who selects this side and is it sanctioned by the FFA?

  7. You are confusing your wish list with reality. “….Virtually all the top footballers have futsal experience”. In England, Germany, France, Holland etc. Futsal is virtually unknown. Yet these countries have many top footballers. I would consider every player in their national team to be a top footballer yet I know none who have played futsal. A more accurate statement would be “Some very good footballers have futsal experience”. “..More and more kids will turn to futsal….they know its a sport in its own right and not a training tool for junior football..” Wrong again. Virtually every newspaper article by Vikings trumpeting some junior player proves this statement is incorrect. Have a look at “Kai sets his sights on a sports path (QLD)”Kai… has set goals for reaching his targets of playing A-League and even making it into the Australian World Cup team in 2018… futsal was all a part of the plan to play football at a high level…Football is his passion…“My favourite team is Barcelona..best player in the world, Tierry Henry””. Go on, go back through the newspaper articles put on this website by Vikings. How many kids do not think futsal is great for improving their football?

  8. I will start a collection for your travel fund Henky….3 year olds in Europe know more about futsal than you ever will ! Holland had (and pls forgive what may be a slight numerical error!) around 160 futsal teams in their NATIONAL FUTSAL LEAGUE 20 years ago ! But of course its virtually unknown in Europe according to you ! I wont go into numbers of professional futsal players/leagues in Spain, Italy etc etc etc…
    I wont go any further, I think your fan(s) are still shuddering ! hahaha

  9. Vic Hermans…. one of the Best Futsal coaches ever.

    I believe Marty Calvert played pro in Holland as well.

  10. @toepoke. Who is threatening who? If this is a club, I suggest the player leaves for a better club. Futsal is where it is because it is not well supported by the futsal community. Look at the poll of number of people willing to pay $10.00 to watch a National League game. Compare this to the tens of thousands who watch cricket in the heat. The Maccabi team is a club team playing in the Maccabi games in Isreal. It is no different to your futsal club sending a team to play other teams. I think the cost was around $10,000.00 per player.

  11. Marty played pro in Holland ? But Henky tells us all theyve never heard of futsal west of Perth !
    If nothing else Henkys’ good entertainment value !

  12. There you go again F.Sala. Living in the past 20 years ago. You are confusing yourself again. You said “virtually all the top footballers have futsal experience” but when I challenged you to name some in England, Germany, France, Holland, you could not and started talking about professional futsal players in Spain and Italy. Pathetic.

    @toepoke. Vic Hermans was considered for the FFA job, amongst others, but is now with Malta. My challenge to F.Sala was to name the top footballers with futsal experience, not to name professional futsallers.

  13. Just to save you opting out at another tangent Henky, you name who YOU consider to be the top 6 footballers in the world and we’ll see if there’s a common denominator……..you know you’re going to look silly AGAIN !
    Trouble is for you Henky nearly everyone else apart from you knows these facts !
    p.s SPAIN and ITALY ARE part of Europe…geez I’m good to you – you’re learning soooooooo much !

  14. He cannot as most top footballers do not have futsal experience. It is just a fantasy of his. Henk 13 F.Sala 0.

  15. I might help out and say… Ronaldinho.. Messi..
    Cristiano Ronaldo…. Ronaldo… Zidane… Figo
    seriously they all played futsal as youngsters…

    Even Johnny Warren was critical of how the FFA used futsal.. It is untapped resource for player development …

  16. Dream on girls ! Henkys’ having trouble isolating 6 top class footballers that aren’t futsal wise…….must be like America in downtown Victoria, you only get local news !
    I’ll help you a little Henky (as I normally do !) DON’T include any Brasilians (Sth America)in your list (Ooooops and they tell me Brasil have won more football world cups than any other country ? Oh my what a coincidence ! lol)

  17. We could look at pretty much any Brazilian footballer in the world played futsal as a junior. The same can be said for most dutch players who the same sort of emphasis on futsal for their junior players. They also have a dedicated futsal facility at their national training facility, but I guess that haven’t ever heard of futsal.

    Thanks smithy for the informative and colourful comments. They are really adding to the discussion.

  18. Henky you ask about futsal in England – Futsal has a national league run in 3 regions…..if you read Wikipedia it says something to the effect that futsal is the key to Brasils dominance in WORLD FOOTBALL>
    Englands ‘national’ futsal league has been operational for a little under 2 years ! Why you may ask ????????????

    Not surprisingly futsal in England is administered by…………….wait for it………… THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

    Now, how familiar does that sound ?

  19. stiiilllll no answer from Ian.

    @i love futsal my comments are just as useful to the discussion as Ian’s are. He can slag everyone off no problem at all, but never ever answers a direct question from anyone.

  20. SO Henky, you (and others) seem to have no issue with a Futsal Club side from Sydney calling themselves the Australian Futsal Team.

    The Futsal v Football argument is a little retarded as, as a true Futsal fan even I admit Football is the world game but there are those out there who prefer to play Futsal, Falcao for instance. Hell I will go as far as saying Futsal can’t compete with the pathways on offer in Football but does that mean you don’t try and grow and develop as Henk seems to be implying?

    I have had issues with just using football oriented players in Futsal as at the end of the day they have their own passion in football. Does not mean you don’t consider them, but those players are not the future of Futsal. The SL/PL are basically football players/clubs who play Futsal for a few weeks of the year then really couldn’t give a toss. The proposed F League is certainly a step in creating a Futsal player and once you create a Futsal player the sport will move foward.

    I’m with toey on moving on as a sport in it’s own right. Futsal in Australia is being held back by Football rather than moving forward. In time more will see this as things continue to either not happen or happen very very slowly. Mr Grimma (Henk) in Vic can say whatever he likes about Football and I wish them well, I’m more interested in growing our game, not some stunted vision by Football who don’t have the time, money or commitment to Futsal. NOT hiring Vic Hermans or Mauricio Marques for the Australian job is a classic point in case (no disrespect to you steve).

  21. @Wake up. Johnny Warren did see futsal as great for developing football players. However the usual Vikings suspects are quite against this. This whole discussion started with F.Sala’s “….Virtually all the top footballers have futsal experience”. This is obviously untrue. In most Football Confederations around the world the juniors play on smaller pitches but they do not play futsal as we know it.
    @I love futsal. I have stayed at the KNVB (Dutch) Training Centre. It has two indoor courts. However all the junior football team training is done on grass with regular footballs. The juniors play small sided games not futsal.
    @Ole. The Maccabi Australian Futsal Team do not pretend to be the official
    Australian team. The players know that they were chosen by Maccabi in Australia. They played against other Maccabi teams from other countries in the Maccabi Games. This is similar to the Vikings Australia team playing against the Vikings NZ team in a Vikings tounament. There is no problem with that. What I have an issue with is Vikings pretending to be the official Australian team by leaving out the word “Vikings” whenever they announced that so and so is in the Australian team. I don’t think many would pay the tour cost if they were told they represented a private organisation.

  22. Ok rather than chest beating, let’s comment on the achievements of Matt, who the article is on in case you forgot?

    He played Futsal (vikings) for the first time in 2008 as he resides in the North West of thhe state where there was nothing before Vikings? What chance did he have to start earlier?

    He and his mates were all outdoor players and were picked up after dominating a schools comp. and were picked for a Tasmanian SCHOOLS team.

    Matt then went on to club level and made state sides. He recently captained the side that won the State Super League.

    No disrespect intended Henk, but I believe you know little if anything of Matt as he is not in your “ffa fantasy world”, with this said I think judgements liike “says it all” are very unfair without seeing the kid in action.

    check youtube.com tasfilmproductions and you will see highlights of matt playing in local leagues.

  23. With sincere apologies to both Matt and Corey. I felt I had to point out a few “futsallers” that became top footballers (which isnt possible according to HENKY!).

    It may help some of the youngsters who aspire to being the best they can be, without any of this small grass pitches and no goal rubbish !

    Great footballers who claim futsal played a BIG part in their development include………………

    Kaka, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Romario, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Fabio Cannavaro, Roberto Baggio, George Weah, and oops a Dutchman ! Marco Van Basten

    2009 FIFA World player of the year
    2008 FIFA World player of the year
    2007 FIFA World player of the year
    2006 FIFA World player of the year
    2005 FIFA World player of the year
    2004 FIFA World player of the year
    2003 FIFA World player of the year
    2002 FIFA World player of the year
    2001 FIFA World player of the year
    2000 FIFA World player of the year

    I will correct that vague statement I made to you Henky when I said “Virtually all top footballers” It should now read “ALL top footballers ………… and that was adjudged by YOUR beloved FIFA not I !!! You will also note a mix of Sth American. European and African players. An apology isnt necessary, you do too much of that already !

  24. I see no difference to what you think the Vikings people believe and the fact that you don’t seem to believe that a true Futsal player can be created in this country.

    And, it’s my understanding that they are the Official Futsal in Australia…….. under the AMF banner. So what is the problem? I read a story (by a reporter) that stated that the Australian Futsal team was going well (at the Maccabi Games) know where did it mention Australian Maccabi Futsal Team… I see no difference.

    Personally I think your on the wrong forum Mr Grimma… this is a Futsal forum.

  25. @Henk, for the couple of weeks that I stayed at the KNVB center it looked like all they played was futsal and nothing else. The coaches that they supplied only coached futsal and they even used futsal balls. The couple of professional league games we went to watch only had a couple of thousand spectators, but they don’t know anything about futsal.Go figure.

  26. @ Corey. I said “Good luck to you Matt in what sport you choose, but Vikings should lay off this rubbish about futsal and football not helping each other.” 29 Jan. My point was if this was a FFT selection the rabid Vikings supporters would be up in arms about footballers being picked for State futsal teams etc. F.Sala is so stupid that he is now trying to prove that futsal is great for football, the opposite to what he had been saying in all his other posts. FFA does want to use futsal to develop football. I believe that futsal will take many years before it becomes professional in this country but we are working towards it.

    @F.Sala. Apart from the Brazilians, lets see some real evidence that these great footballers actually played futsal. Please don’t cite the video of Zidane playing after he retired. George Weah did not leave Liberia until he was 22 years old. There was no futsal in Liberia.

    @I love futsal. I have photos of my time at KNVB. Shall we both send our photos to futsal4all admin and ask them to comment on who had been there and who had not?

    @Ole. There was no need to as they were (at the Maccabi Games). If the Vikings Australia team were playing against Vikings NZ in a Vikings Competition there would be no need for the commentator or reporter to say Vikings every time, would there?

  27. Henky, what a childish response to being TOTALLY wrong ! I feel everyone is laughing AT you again ! Look up their profiles you dummy !
    There are none so blind………..as the saying goes, was that written especially for Henky, I wonder ?

    I have always said that Futsal is the BEST tool for developing footballers here, not the rubbish the FFA came up with !

    F.Sala is so stupid, he stills tries to educate the ignorant, but there’s no helping some “Henkys” !

    Go study the “tackle” Muscat made on Cullina, its more interesting to you than futsal, obviously ! You total Goose !

  28. Tell you what Henky I will write to FIFA and ask them NOT to include any players that have ever played futsal in their future World player of the year list.
    I believe Bartholomew Bigglesthwaite from the Black Stump F.C. U/9 F’s hasn’t played our fabulous game yet as they dont have a court to play on. Now he stands a good chance of winning this year !!!!!

  29. Boy what a load of rubbish this is.

    I don’t believe for a minute that the Vikings organisation thinks futsal football don’t assist each other in a technical sense. If you read all the rubbish on here you would see that they are pushing for Futsal to be self governed and treated as a sport.

    Your very quick to point the finger at them twisting words etc, may pay to have a look at ones self.

    I’m curious, how many pure Futsal staff (by this I mean those who only do FUtsal) in the FFV and FFA office?? And while we are at it, why didn’t Vic or Mauricio get the coaching role for Australia, I’m pretty sure Steve would have loved to have spent time with either of them.

  30. @f.Sala. What is childish about asking for proof? You have said “Virtually all the top footballers have futsal experience”. Apart from some of the Brazilians, none of those on your list have said futsal “played a BIG part in their development”. I have looked at the biographies of most of the players. I can’t find the word futsal anywhere. Are you going to provide proof or are you going to make childish comments again?
    @toepoke. If you and others think Football and futsal assist each other in a technical sense (and I do) then you should not be so anti football. FFA and the state federations will develop futsal at their own pace and Vikings can do the same. Staffing at FFV and FFA are on their websites. Reasons for selecting the national coach are confidential.

  31. Thank you to Sir Henk, the most enlightened one. Thank you for correcting me on what I have seen.

  32. Really Henk, you know very little about Futsal…. and there is nothing wrong with that.

    If the pace currently set by the FFA and the state bodies is anything to go by Futsal won’t be far from where it is now… sadly.

    The confidential part is …. the FFA weren’t prepared to invest anything more than the bare minimum into the game (they are already on record as saying they will not do anything with the mens team unless asked to by afc or fifa) not much of a development plan there… again sadly.

    Bring on the F League Futsal run, for Futsal players!

  33. Isn’t it funny that a dinosaur (me – in computer terms) can find reference to ALL of these players accepting Futsal as an aid to them, yet Henky cant ? Alright just to appease you Henky…none of them I listed before has ever seen or heard of futsal………..feel better now ?
    Sorry Bartholomew, looks like your chance of a 2010 FIFA gong has gone !
    Just before I sign off on this you did state that “…apart from some of the Brasilians…..” I’m dying to know which Brasilians DIDN’T play futsal ????????? Please inform us all Henky.
    p.s. dont look up credibility on the web site, yours may have been handed in to the police after you lost it !

  34. @i love futsal – I fear its like getting stuck in quicksand, the more he struggles the deeper he gets ! lol

  35. “Bring on the F League Futsal run, for Futsal players!” – ole

    Its not run by Vikings and not run by FNSW/FFA/FIFA (although accredited).

    Shouldn’t evenone be happy about that? (lets not start the elitist topic… again! LOL)

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