Grafton Sports Centre has brought in the big guns to help revive futsal in the Jacaranda City.
North Coast Futsal has had plans to bring the sport, which is an indoor variant of football, back to Grafton “for some time”.
Brazilian Renan Fenerich has been charged with putting the plans into action, and has set up skills programs for kids as young as three to hopefully unearth the Clarence Valley’s own Christiano Ronaldo.
“If you have a look at the winners of the FIFA player of the year (award) for the past 15 years you’d find they all played futsal,” Fenerich said.
“We’re aiming to get a big summer competition started, but we have a series of programs that have already started.
“I have held training clinics with four of the local football clubs and run a weekly clinic for a group of students from Grafton High School.”
Fenerich completed a bachelor degree in sports and recreation, specialising in football, and a masters in the development of youth elite players in futsal and football, both of which he finished in Brazil.
He moved to Brisbane from Jaboticabal (Sao Paulo), Brazil in November 2008 with the plan of spending six months abroad to help develop his English skills.
The now 29-year-old fell in love with the Queensland capital, coaching futsal in Brisbane before moving to Alstonville and, as of three weeks ago, Grafton.
“I came from a small town in Brazil and Grafton is very similar,” Fenerich said.
“Everyone has been friendly and is easy to talk to. I’m hoping to be here for a long time and am 100% focused on helping to grow futsal.”
Manager Dylan Parberry said he was looking forward to seeing futsal back at Grafton Sports Centre after an extended absence.
“We use to have a futsal program here a few years ago but that fell through,” Parberry said.
“Renan’s been great. He offers a lot of experience to the programs and we’ll hopefully have a competition up and running soon.
“We’ll have a lot more for schools in term four and hopefully get a good summer competition off the back of that.”