Youngsters in Liverpool are being given the chance to show off their football skills thanks to a new ‘futsal’ league which kicked off at the weekend.
The league, consisting of four groups of six teams, allows players from the ages of seven to ten to play in five-a-side teams and develop their technique in a game made famous across Europe.
Futsal is a version of five-a-side football, played indoors, which emphasises skill and technique.
Ash Celtic coach Tommy Walsh told JMU Journalism: “A lot of games were cancelled last year because of the weather and having these games inside gives the kids a chance to play more.
“It is important to play when you are young and futsal will help us to teach them how to control the ball with the sole of their foot.
“This is the game that top players in other countries are brought up with.
“The Barcelona team is an example as the players are taught to be clever enough to find their own space and the key skill is passing and moving into space.
“These skills are also massively important for 11-a-side.”
Matches will take place for 15 weeks and, if it is successful, there have been talks regarding further two or three 15-week periods.
League organiser Ricky Heywood told JMU Journalism: “It was Tommy’s idea as he has a strong interest in futsal.
“We have had backing from the FA which has been helpful. It has been difficult to find teams to start off with but hopefully we will soon be turning people away.”
The first round of fixtures would have made both Mr Heywood and Mr Walsh pleased after big wins for the under-seven side (5-0) and the under-nines (5-3), although the under-eight side lost heavily (0-6) to Farmers JFC.
FA representative Danielle Shields told JMU Journalism: “We originally set up a Monday night adult league which took off well and we wanted to replicate it for younger players.
“The interest has been phenomenal. Two weeks ago we had a taster session and we got some very positive feedback.
“It will be good to see if the development of the players can be applied to the games on a Saturday.”