Parents key to futsal growth in Penrith (NSW)

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Penrith Press

West City Crusaders women's players (from left) Brooke Conroy, Elise O'Kelly and Sam Collins.

Futsal lays the groundwork for future soccer players, West City Crusaders open women’s team coach Craig Laffin says.

Futsal is a variant of soccer played on a smaller surface, mainly indoors.

Laffin, who coaches the NSW Futsal Super League club, says futsal in the Penrith area will grow with the help of parents.

“I’d really encourage soccer parents and people involved in soccer to give this game a go,” Laffin said.

“In countries like Brazil children are not allowed to play (organised) soccer until the age of 12.

“The children are forced to play futsal because it is very fast and skilful.

“So many of the top soccer players in the world played futsal when they were younger.”

The Crusaders open women are undefeated and lead their competition.

Attacker Brooke Conroy, 20, of Penrith, said the club’s assistance was a key to their success.

“The club is loyal and treats their players like their own kids, so we try to serve them the best we can,” she said.

“This season we’re doing really well in the club championships, so it is a credit to the club.”

Conroy is joined by Sam Collins and Elise O’Kelly as Penrith residents in the team.

But Laffin said youngsters who played futsal around Sydney showed the sport could grow.

“Some of the girls are considerably close to the club but I know one of our players comes from a fair way to be part of the Crusaders club,” he said.

“There are some who come from the Blue Mountains, Hills district and even as far as Sydney airport.

“I am sure the sport will grow in our area.”

The Crusaders have been forced to play the majority of their games at away venues this season due to the Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre’s refurbishment.

“It is unfortunate for us but great for the stadium and it’s long-term future that it is undergoing a degree of replenishment and modernisation,” Laffin said.

“We’re very keen to come back because this is our home base and we like playing here. When it is all replenished this will be an even more magnificent centre.”

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