It has been a good year for the Club. We’ve grown our academy programme in line with the plans we set out at the start of the season, adding an u7 group and have strengthened the squads we already had in place. We also successfully ran our first season long junior Futsal competition for grassroots football teams to experience the game, the feedback from this has been really positive. We have faced the usual challenges such as facility hire and attracting enough of the right type of people who we can turn into Futsal coaches, both of these have restricted our ability to expand our offering quickly and these two challenges really shape our strategy going forward.
The goal of our Futsal Academy programme is to create a generation of English Futsal talent that can go on and represent the Club at the highest levels of domestic competition. In the future this means playing for our adult teams which we will form again at some point over the next 5-10 years. In an ideal world we would love to offer Futsal to everyone in the community which is why we ran the junior league competition this season but its going to be difficult for us to run this again given the facility availability issue. One day tournaments could provide a solution for us but we have no immediate plans on this front.
For us to realise our long term goal we are focusing on the academy teams we have in place. Our focus for the players in our academy programme will be to continue to guide them so that they can realise their full potential in Futsal. We will have a few spaces in each squad particularly at u7 and u8 and will look to fill these with players identified through our talent ID initatives.
Strengthening our team
I am very proud to say that we have a fantastic coaching team here at Carlisle Futsal. We are all passionate Futsal people who are constantly learning. Our Club is its people and so we take the recruitment of coaches extremely seriously. This has restricted the speed of our growth but to continue to deliver the quality coaching which our Club has built up a reputation for we need to be selective. I think the parents of our players appreciate this. Being a not for profit organisation gives us the luxury of taking our time and being selective. I am delighted to say though that we are in talks with two experienced Futsal coaches who fit our ‘person’ profile and will really strengthen our coaching team.
The World Group Carlisle Junior Futsal League ran by us was a great success. Our finals event video got 14,000 views on Facebook, more importantly though I think we gave all of the finalists a real taste of a Futsal event and hopefully it will stick with them for the future. We are also in discussion with 3 of the most established Futsal Clubs in the North regarding a junior competition for our teams and the details of this should be finalised in the next few weeks. Again this will provide season long high level Futsal competition for our teams and coaches, something which I believe is critical to developing the top level Futsal players of the future that we want.
We are in the middle of our first ever summer break. We’ve always operated the academy for 12 months of the year but this year we’ve decided to have a short shut down period. I think this works well and allows us as a Club to plan for the season ahead but also leaves players and staff refreshed and ready to attack the new season.
Something we are doing which is new for the 2017/18 season is to schedule designated ‘match’ weekends. This means our players and parents know when games are scheduled for and allows coaches to plan their training cycles for the squads. We will issue a CFC calendar at the start of the new season and it will include details of where and when we will have league games, tournaments and friendlies.
World Group will continue to be our sponsors for the coming season. Their financial support for the junior Futsal League and for the Club has been incredible and has allowed us through the activity we have done this year to raise enough funds to be able to donate a set of Futsal goals to Cumbria University. We now use these for training and the public can also use them.
One of the other challenges we have faced this season has been from professional Football Clubs Academies. The ‘Futsal as a development tool for Football’ marketing cliche is one we have all become familiar with in the Futsal community but unfortunately for us it is proving to be very true! We have had a surprisingly large % of our players be offered trials and contracts with pro Football Club academies this season and this has often left parents a little confused as to whether their child can still play Futsal. The simple answer is yes they can. At foundation stage players should be playing both sports. Carlisle Futsal Club offers its own elite pathway into a professional sport and there is room for both Football and Futsal. We are working on a link which should help reinforce this message and hope to be able to announce more about this in the next few weeks.
The 2017/18 season will be a good one i’m sure of it. We have big plans so keep a look out on CarlisleFutsal.com and our social media channels as we keep you up to date.