Futsal is sometimes just viewed as a way for soccer players to keep fit over the summer months, but Futsal Tasmania state manager Romeo Frediani says futsal is, in fact, a fast- paced, fun sport that can be played in its own right, with the Australian Futsal Association (AFA) offering a full range of competitions, from school, to club, to national titles.
The AFA was formed in 2010, when it was identified that there was a real need for a body that is focused on the development of futsal as a sport in its own right.
With member clubs, futsal centres and affiliates in every state across Australia, AFA is by far the largest futsal organisation in the country.
The AFA Schools programme has approximately 2200 teams competing in local school com- petitions across Australia every year, and in 2021 it is coming to the Huon Valley.
In Term 2, Futsal Tasmania will host competitions for five to eight year olds at the Huon Valley PCYC, starting at 4pm from Thursday, May 6 for six weeks, and for eight to 13 year olds at Port Huon Sports and Aquatic Centre starting at 4.30pm from Friday, May 7 for six weeks.
Futsal Tasmania head women’s coach Claudia Holmes lives in the Huon Valley and said she would like to see the sporting facilities down here better utilised.
“For me, it’s about seeing how good futsal is in Hobart,” said Claudia.
“In Hobart we have training for three hours and, by hour four, the parents are getting annoyed because their children won’t get off the court.
“And so sometimes their kids are there for four and a half hours.
“These kids, that could be anywhere else, doing anything else.
“Bringing something for kids to do, something for them to achieve, into this area is really important.
“There are great facilities down here, it’s just getting the programmes into them and the funding to run them.”
Futsal Tasmania has been running school titles in Hobart, the North West and Launceston for primary school, high school and college age students, but will put a toe in the water in the Huon Valley with a primary school competition to gauge interest.
“If we get the numbers and there’s interest there, I don’t see why we couldn’t start more competitions,” said Romeo.
“Futsal gets bigger and bigger every year.”