Saturday 30th May 2015 was a much anticipated date in the Carlisle Futsal Academy calendar four of the Clubs academy teams representing the County in the North West regional finals of the FA Futsal Youth Festival. The prize for the winners of the competition was a place in the National finals competing against the best junior Futsal teams from across the Country.
Carlisle Futsal Club had teams representing in every age group under 10s, under 12s, under 14s and under 16s and hopes were high that the Clubs young players could put into practice everything they had been learning in training and demonstrate an ability to play some good Futsal.
The day started with the under 10s competition and Carlisles under 10s did superbly well to navigate their way through the group stage to find themselves in a final against the academy team of Super League North rivals Manchester Futsal Club.
Whilst Carlisle had played some good Futsal themselves and defended well in the group stages it had been Manchester who had attracted the attention of the crowd playing a level of Futsal that defied their age. Luke Miller coach of Carlisle’s under 14s side was a spectator and commented that ‘Manchester played the best Futsal of any team across all age groups on the day, they are a huge credit to the Manchester coaches and something which we should all be aspiring to in order to drive the standard of the National game forward in the coming years.’
So there was an expectation ahead of the final that Manchester would emerge victorious. However Carlisle had played some nice Futsal themselves, receiving praise publicly on twitter from a few of the hundreds of spectators in attendance.
It turned out to be an exciting affair, Carlisles players showing that they had gained some tactical knowledge of the game in training implementing a full press for the first time in a competitive situation in their lives. It worked and they won the ball high, restricting Manchester to little time on the ball and no space to move – the only tactic available when playing such a talented team. The game finished all level after an exciting encounter and the decision on who would proceed to the National finals would go down to the always cruel but never dull penalty shoot out.
Carlisle scored all three of their penalties with Alex Cairns, Kian Ullyart and Kai Osborne finding the back of the net. Lewis Little the Carlisle goalkeeper managed to save Manchester’s second penalty which meant Carlisle progressed to the National finals after an outstanding team performance. Coach Al Tindall was delighted with his teams efforts ‘I’m so proud of the players, not just because of the way they applied what they had learnt in training but also because the way in which they conducted themselves and supported each other as a team. Today was never about winning but about applying their learnings in a competitive situation. Everyone could see the spirit, enthusiasm and the effort the players put in. When you add all those ingredients together you more often than not end up with success and I don’t think anyone could argue that boys didn’t deserve to progress to the next round. I’m so pleased for them’.
There was also success on the day for the under 14s and under 16s who put in outstanding performances earning plaudits for the way they played and their sporting conduct. The under 14s team only just missed out on a place in the final on goal difference whilst the under 16s made short work of the group stage coasting to victory after victory before a controversial final ended in a narrow defeat. Mervyn Beacom who was leading the u16s side which had only been formed 2 weeks previously was disappointed for the players but full of pride ‘the lads gave everything, their attitude, the application, the ability was superb, they were undone by a some decisions that went against us but you have to role with them in Futsal and they’ll learn that. What’s really exciting is that some of these players have now worked their way into my thoughts for the Super League squad for next season.’
The day was a huge success and the event was made by the travelling army of parents and supporters who could be found chanting on the sidelines. It was a fantastic experience for everyone. Simon Doyle, Carlisle City FC Coach and parent of under 14s player Olly Doyle commented, ‘Carlisles teams did amazing and pretty much dominated the event, and only missed out on the last matches due to tiredness and a little lack of experience, fabulous effort by all the players and coaching staff.’
The Club would like to extend a huge thank you to all parents and players for all of their effort. A massive thank you to all the academy coaches who volunteer hours and hours of their time each week to educate and deliver quality Futsal sessions. And to Irvings Coaches for the punctual travel arrangements.
The Clubs under 10s look forward to representing the North West at the National Finals in Birmingham on 27th June.