By Alex Lamberti, Third Year History
Futsal is often overlooked in favour of the popular and well-known football but, as a growing sport, it deserves it's own recognition as a fast pace and inclusive activity.
Originating in South America in 1930, Futsal has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world, yet many people remain unaware of the game. Futsal is played on an indoor, hard floored court, similar to basketball. Each side has 5 players, including a goalkeeper, on the pitch at any one time, with around 5 substitutes, who rotate on and off at anytime.
A common myth about the game is that the ball is allowed to be played off the walls or boards as is common in street football, but this is not the case. The pitch is marked out similarly to how a basketball pitch it, and play stops every time the ball goes off the court, as is the same in Association Football. The ball itself is smaller, harder and bounces less, encouraging players to favour ball control and short, quick passing above long range balls downfield.
With over 50 members, futsal at the University of Bristol is one of the institution’s fastest growing sports clubs, with 2 men’s teams competing in BUCS competitions weekly. Founded in 2012, the club rapidly gained a following, with trialists in the early years easily reaching into the hundreds.
This year, over 400 people trialled for only 15 available spaces in the club, which showcases the huge demand for the sport, consistent with it’s growth across the world over the last 10 years.
Bristol has grown into one of the biggest names in the BUCS Futsal leagues over the past few years. Both the 1st and 2nd team compete weekly in the BUCS Western league, in the Western 1A and 2B respectively.
The 1s league includes high calibre opposition including Exeter, Cardiff, Bath, Swansea and Bournemouth, who are all massive names in the Futsal leagues across the country. Additionally, the 1st team will compete for the national trophy this season, with a first round fixture away to Wolverhampton the first up.
Both sides this year are looking to win their respective leagues and cup competitions, looking to follow up good performances last season. The 1st team have already begun strongly, beating Bournemouth 11-5 in the opening game of the season, whilst the 2s demolished the University of South Wales 21-3 in their own curtain raiser.
Grounded in an identity combining high quality performance with a strong club morale, the Futsal club is one of the most inclusive and tightly-knit communities in the University.
The club focus on the needs and wants of club members ensures that all who join the club have the best experience possible. This is proven by the club having one of the highest player retention rates of any of the sports clubs at the University, with over 95% of players who join the club playing for the full 3 years
For anyone interested in playing futsal at a more social level, we have, this year, set up a futsal intramural league which is set to begin later this month. If the sport is something that appeals to you, be sure to check out our Facebook page (University of Bristol Futsal Club) and our Instagram (@uobfutsal) for details on how to get involved with the club.
*Featured Image Credit: Coutesy of Alex Lamberti / UOB Futsal
Check out Futsal's Facebook or Instagram to follow their season or join!