Futsal, the abbreviated version of football, is set to continue to grow in Nelson with the addition of a Nelson Suburbs-run outdoor futsal league.
Starting in January, the New Zealand Football-sanctioned five-a-side league will run for 10 weeks which organisers say offers the perfect opportunity for our top young talent to develop skills.
Nigel Pugh coached the Nelson Bays under-14 futsal rep side to third at the national champs in Wellington this year. He recently returned from a football tour around Europe and said clubs like Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Borussia Dortmund are all using futsal in their academy teams in all grades.
“The drive is to provide kids and adults with a fun game that will develop their football skills at a faster rate than football alone,” said Pugh.
“Liverpool football academy have two of their five training sessions a week playing futsal, and they are seeing the results in their youth teams’ achievements.”
Beyond, that he believes that there are multiple reasons to get involved for parents and first-time players alike as it is essentially non-contact so there is much less chance of injury.
“The good thing about futsal is that it can be played by young and old alike. The ball doesn’t bounce as much so is easier to control.
“The pitch is smaller so you don’t have to have the same amount of fitness as a prerequisite. It is ideal for parents who want to join in with their children but often don’t feel they have the necessary skills, fitness or confidence.”
Other futsal competitions includes a 16-team league that runs for six months over winter, a junior league and a Thursday league which will end in December.
Normally an indoor sport, Pugh said it will be played outside to reduce the cost to players. There are three grades 10 to 14 years, 15 and over and family teams. Register online at nelsonsuburbs.co.nz, registration closes December 15.