Getting kids moving with the Kinder + Sport Futsal Cup

Getting kids moving with the Kinder + Sport Futsal Cup

If you have never heard of Futsal, then you are not alone. It is a relatively unknown sport in the UK – which is surprising given that some of the world’s most famous football stars, including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, attribute their incredible football skills to playing Futsal from a young age.

So what exactly is Futsal? This fast paced game is played by teams of five players and is similar to football, but played on a smaller indoor pitch, with hockey-sized goals and a smaller, less bouncy ball. It can be traced all the way back to the 1930s, when a five-a-side football game was created for a youth competition in Uruguay. Brazil was next to catch ‘Futsal fever’, before its popularity began to spread around the world.

Futsal’s smaller pitch and goals encourage players to practice fast footwork and quick decision making. You need both technical skills to dominate one-on-one challenges with creativity, as well as tactical knowledge to overcome the opposition. The format is great for kids as they enjoy the fast paced nature of the game, experimenting with creativity and developing a greater tactical appreciation.

In 2015 we launched the Kinder + Sport Futsal Cup, in partnership with the EFL Trust to incorporate the sport into our Kinder + Sport programme.

The competition is for boys and girls, aged between 14 and 16 in schools across England and Wales. In our first year, many of the teams that participated were brand new to Futsal and the feedback was fantastic. Since then, the player numbers have continued to grow and this year over 4,000 players from 400 schools took part.

After a series of local knock-out stages between schools and regional finals, the final sixteen (eight boys teams and eight girls teams) met at the Derby Arena for the final showdown and the chance to win the title of national champions for 2017.
Then in two tense finals, the winning teams battled it out for the national championship title. It ended in a victorious Hartlepool United taking home the girls cup, and Mansfield Town winning for the boys. A well-deserved win on both accounts!

For those who want to take their passion beyond the Cup, the EFL Trust offers a Futsal Education programme, a 2 year BTEC Diploma in Sport, delivered by the club’s community trusts. We’re proud that our investment has helped create education opportunities for the boys and girls involved in the Kinder + Sport Futsal Cup, and that we have helped to grow the game of Futsal nationally.

We encourage children to embrace the joy of moving and this is one of our core CSR principles, both in the UK and globally. The Kinder + Sport Futsal Cup has been a fantastic way to demonstrate these principles and expand our partnership with the EFL Trust as part of the wider Kinder + Sport initiative involving older children to appreciate the benefits of an active lifestyle.

A big well done to every single one of our participants – and the EFL Trust team for such a fantastic day!