The NZ Futsal White shares his experiences playing in Australia and the gap between Aus and NZ Futsal
With series two of the ASB National Futsal League kicking off this weekend nzfootball.co.nz caught up with Brazilian-born 14-cap Futsal White Lucas Silva who is now based in Australia.
Silva chose to pursue work and lifestyle opportunities in Brisbane following the ASB Trans Tasman Cup in September. Soon after arriving Silva was invited to trial for the Queensland state side and was selected in the squad for the 2013 FFA National Futsal Championships in Canberra.
However, under the user-pays system the cost of travel was too much for former Capital Futsal mainstay, and his coach offered him a novel solution.
“They offered me a player/ manager role so I could play free of charge. It gave me a new appreciation of what goes into the organisation of a team playing in a tournament.
“I just wanted to focus on playing, but I had to worry about the team uniform, filling in the team card, water bottles and all of that stuff you don’t think about when you’re just a player” Silva said.
Despite the added responsibility Silva started all matches scoring two goals and credited with “a few assists” as Queensland finished fourth.
Having played in the ASB National Futsal League and for the Futsal Whites against our closest rivals, Silva is well positioned to compare the respective national leagues and how his adopted country stacks up against its trans-Tasman rivals.
“In terms of the league structure it’s pretty close to New Zealand, although it’s played in three rounds over a week. There are all ages from seven right up to senior, men and women so there’s a real festival atmosphere.
“I think the level is slightly higher in Australia, but we will catch up soon. Before I came over I thought they were miles ahead of us, but I think they’re just a step ahead mainly because they have a bigger player pool to select from.”
Living in Australia has opened up new futsal opportunities for the 28-year-old who enjoyed the ability to watch the FIFA Futsal World Cup live on television and watch Oceania’s representative to the world event, the Solomon Islands, in a warm-up match against the Futsalroos.
Silva has also had the opportunity to witness the Solomon Islands next crop of international players first hand when a U-16 selection travelled to Queensland for an invitational tournament where he coached a Brisbane South youth side.
“They had some flight problems and could only arrive on the day of the finals so they played all their games back-to-back in a day.
“I don’t know what they are doing over there but it seems to be working, they were very impressive, the speed they move the ball and the skill. I think New Zealand and even Australia have a bit of work to do to catch up!”
Silva has confirmed he will be available for the Futsal Whites if selected despite living across the ditch, although he was quick to reject a tongue-in-cheek offer to player/ manage the national side.
“No way, no chance!” said Silva before wishing his former Capital Futsal teammates the best of luck for the ASB National Futsal League.