St Albans City Youth Futsal Tournament produces 'exceptional' tournament
PUBLISHED: 10:07 28 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:33 28 July 2016
St Albans City Youth held their fourth annual Girls' Futsal Challenge Cup in Birmingham - bringing together teams from all over the country.
The tournament, which had age groups at U14 and U16, is a five-a-side, indoor version of football, with a weighted ball designed to emphasise players’ touch, technical ability and flair, as opposed to typical physicality and power.
Twenty-four teams took part with St Albans and Tottenham Hotspur provided the biggest contingent.
In the U16 group, Spurs White went unbeaten throughout the day, edging out compatriots Spurs Yellow in a fiercely contested final.
City Youth Gold took home the bronze with a 1-0 win over Hitchin Belles in the third-place playoff.
But despite having three of the four semi-finalists in the U14 competition, it was Denham United from Uxbridge who took home the trophy.
City Youth coach, Chris Johnson, has been an advocate for more futsal opportunities as he feels that it not only offers a great alternative for cancelled games in the winter months, but can also act as an excellent tool for developing a player’s game.
He said: “Poor weather and pitches undoubtedly shape the way our players develop as individuals and a team’s style of play.
“Futsal and street football form part of every player’s introduction to football in countries such as Brazil and Argentina, where technical excellence and creative style are the cornerstones of their national teams.
“Most importantly, Futsal is a fantastic game in its own right, with the constant transitions in play and high importance of the goalkeeper, rewarding all players with more touches and involvement.
“The standard of football was exceptionally high, despite all of the teams coming from grassroots. It was a pleasure to watch the technical ability of not a few but all of the players on show.
“Many of the clubs now have futsal-specific training, and it is clear that the quality [of players] has benefited enormously.