Missing penalties in Champions League semi-finals are not the only thing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have in common. Both developed their early football skills by playing Futsal, a five-a-side indoor game first made popular in Brazil.
It is officially recognised by FIFA, the sport’s governing body, and is rapidly spreading throughout Britain. In Swindon the game has flourished in the @Futsal arena at Kembrey Park which caters for players at all levels, from keen veterans who simply want to play with their friends, to academy youngsters who aspire to be stars of the future and are developing their skills.
Arena manager Lee Rowlands oversees a packed programme of league and cup matches for all ages and gender, but the arena also plays a major part in providing youngsters in the area with the chance to obtain educational qualifications through a series of courses, after-school clubs and Saturday/Sunday AM Clubs from the age of 4 upwards.
He explained: “Here at Swindon we use Futsal to give youngsters an opportunity to benefit from a mixture of learning programmes combined with soccer skills. The qualifications they achieve can lead them into further education or place them on the job ladder.
“Others who play Futsal regularly just take great delight in coming down to the arena with a few pals and having fun playing a game or two in one of our leagues and then enjoying a drink and a chat afterwards.”
The arena can also be booked for children’s parties to celebrate a birthday by playing a game of Futsal before enjoying refreshments in the sports lounge.
Key events this summer:
• Summer camps will run 23 to 27 July, 6 to 10 August, 20 to 24 August and 28 to 31 August.
• Open tournament European Championship event for men on 24 June sponsored by world leading football brand Joma with up to 25 adult teams competing for amazing prizes. Register your team on the website.
Find out more about @Futsal in Swindon at www.futsaluk.net or by calling 01793 617072.