After working in futsal development in New Zealand for three years, Matt Fejos attended the English FA’s ‘Catalyst for Change Futsal Conference’ in November, 2014. Following on from this event, Matt was able to draw parallels between the goals of both New Zealand Football and the English FA, both in terms of their development strategies, and how they would incorperate futsal. Matt shares his predictions and thoughts around the growth of Futsal as a sport, and some possible similarities with the World Game.

One question still dominates in both England and New Zealand: how do we develop technical, tactically creative players capable of success on the world stage? And what part does fustal play in this?

England is fast approaching a half century since their famous 1966 World Cup win, the national team’s last major success. While England continue to slide down the FIFA rankings, Belgium have rocketted from 66th in the world to fourth in four years (2010 – 2014). It’s no coincidence that they’re one of the ‘best practice’ examples England is looking to emulate.

In the wider football context, England are on a slippery slope. Out of this hardship and perceived failure England are rethinking and attempting to change their approach. Many believe this lack of success has coincided with the death of street football in England, which provided a similar playing experience to that of futsal.

Many believe this lack of success has coincided with the death of street football in England, which provided a similar playing experience to that of futsal.

So, out of this situation, what has happened? Development is often born from discomfort. England have had an introspective examination and researched best practice worldwide. The result has signified a new direction and strategy at both the grassroots and elite levels of the game.

At the grassroots level, England released a new plan for youth football in England in May 2012. Nick Levett (The FA National Development Manager for Youth Football) called for ‘a climate change, this is kids football, not the World Cup’. Similar formats were applied based on this best practice research of children’s enjoyment and (perhaps related), player development.

At the high performance level, in December 2014, The FA produced the England DNA”, a blueprint for the national programme, after a year of self-reflection and research. They described the traditional English mentality as “characterised by our passion, fighting spirit and effort”.

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