A report on the successful tournament held at the Goonellabah indoor sports complex
It was a fantastic showcase of skills, thrills and action at the inaugural “Northern Star” sponsored Far North Coast Futsal Challenge tournament at the Goonellabah indoor sports complex over the weekend. Teams from Ballina, Casino, Mullumbimby, Lismore, Lennox Head and Alstonville battled it out to see who would be crowned FNC Futsal (indoor soccer) champions.
The men’s teams fought it out on Saturday and it was a test of stamina with each team playing a grueling 6 games before the semi finals. It was a high standard of play with town pride on the line and close tussles all day. The Casino team was looking favorites going into the final however the Lismore team “Ezyduzit” had paced themselves well, and were too strong at the end of a long day and took the crown. Wayne Mortimer of Casino (ex Italo Stars) was voted most valuable player of the tournament by the referees and took out the the golden boot award as well.
On Sunday it was the kid’s chance for fun and glory with some of the best club teams between U10’s and U16’s competing. For some it was their first major tournament, for others it was a chance to showcase their skills in front of regional coaches and selectors. Regional manager Tanya Bond said “the sport here on the Far North Coast has had an exponential growth in the last 3 years as more and more people discover what a fast and exciting sport it is. She added, “It’s also a perfect summer sport for our tropical rainy summer climate”. FNC Futsal is forging close links with its more established sister sport Football. FFNC General manager Steve Mackney was there on Sunday to watch the action for himself.
The large crowds were treated to fantastic ball skills and plenty of goals. FNC Director of coaching Vinnie Leite said” in my native Brazil the kids can’t play outdoor soccer until they are 12 or 13. They learn their game awareness and ball skills playing Futsal as soon as they are old enough to kick a ball. That’s the reason Brazilians are so good at outdoor Football. In Futsal the players have to touch and play the ball up to 10 times more than in a typical game of Football and so they learn and improve 10 times faster. They also learn quickly that teamwork is essential to success”. He added “this tournament has been a great success as it allowed kids from our small towns to play at a higher standard and learn new skills in a really fun environment”.
In the U10’s grand final the Mullumbimby based “Jelly Beans” beat The Byron Bay Bombers in an exciting close tussle. In the U12’s final the Alstonville based “Masterblasters” team out muscled Mullumbimby’s “Blak and Gold Strikers” to take the crown.
In the U14’s Final the Lismore based “Condors” went out to win against “Man United” from Alstonville and took the gold medal. The U16’s final was a local Lismore derby however “Stepovers” overpowered “Footy Creek United” 4-1 to take the gold medal.
The overall junior golden boot award was won by Matt Bond of the U12 “Masterblasters” team. The referee’s voted Krista Ruehe from the U12’s “Blak and Gold Strikers” as the coveted most valuable junior player of the tournament.