Copyright 2014

Futsal proving a hit with Merseyside schoolchildren

THIRTY-SIX teams play in Ash Celtic Junior Futsal League, which runs every Friday night in the Wavertree Tennis Centre from 6pm-9pm.

"It is currently the only junior futsal league in the UK that caters for age groups from under 7 to under 10," explained Ricky Heywood, who organises the event alongside fellow coach Tommy Walsh.

"Teams take part in the league from all over the city and standards are improving in all age groups.

"We believe this game is now a fundamental part of a young players development.

"As of next season the league is expanding to include the under-6 and under-13 age groups.

"We are very soon starting coaching for under-5s to prepare them to play next season. This will mean there are 72 teams in the league, which will be a fantastic futsal spectacle."

Walsh and Heywood, who both coach at Ash Celtic, are the only two FIFA FA Futsal coaches in the Merseyside area. The pair are extremely dedicated to creating the stars of tomorrow, via Futsal, and primarily through the Ash Celtic Junior Futsal League.

Further league and coaching details available from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mobile: 07546617427

FUTSAL is an exciting, fast-paced small-sided football game that is widely played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA.

It began in Brazil in the 1930s and is structured as a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size four ball with a reduced bounce. It is played to touchlines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head-height.

Games are 20 minutes per half, played to a stopping clock (similar to basketball) with time-outs permitted.

The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure. In coaching circles it is regarded as an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game.

Many of the top world class footballers played futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their footballing development. These include Pele, Zico, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured), Deco, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas.

The England senior men's team enters the FIFA Futsal World Cup and UEFA European Futsal Championships. They draw their players from the leading futsal clubs that play in the FA National Futsal Leagues.

It is said that futsal is set to explode onto the football scene in Asia with Iran already boasting a professional league and countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Thailand all keen to follow.

The FA National Futsal Leagues are the leading elite adult futsal leagues in England that have been coordinated and run by The FA since 2008.

The top male futsal clubs in the country compete in the challenging and exciting FA national futsal leagues.