Originally published in the Shields Gazette on June 1st, 2013.
St. Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic College will represent the county in Futsal after the team were crowned champions of Durham in their first tournament together.
The came second in the first round of games in Monkwearmouth in a league system before winning in the semi-final and then in the final.
As a result, the school, in Temple Park Road, South Shields, will represent the Durham Football Association in Leeds today, and if they win that, they will go to the national tournament at the end of June.
Assistant headteacher William Bone said: “Normally we’re an 11-a-side team, so this was the first time we had entered a Futsal tournament to represent the school. It’s a big achievement for us to win in our first tournament. There were six or seven schools in the first round and then the semis and final straight after, so there was plenty of competition.”
The team are playing at the Regional Futsal Festival at the Leeds International @Futsal Arena, and despite the likely wealth of quality, Bone remains confident of his side’s chances.
He said: “I would like the lads to go on and win it. We’ve got quite a strong side, but obviously it depends on what happens on the day as we don’t know what the opposition will be like.
“But our side is good – they got to the semi-finals of the County Cup last year in Year 8.
“Football’s a huge sport throughout the school, with teams throughout the year groups from year seven to 12.
“There’s quite a lot of lads from the school who have represented the district as well. We’re known for having quite strong sides when it comes to football.
“Futsal is a format of small-sided football which places a large emphasis on technical skill and abilities in situations of high pressure. It is a five-a-side game, played with hockey-sized goals and a smaller ball with a reduced bounce.
High profile footballers such as Ronaldinho, Luis Figo, Lionel Messi grew up playing Futsal, and credit it with supporting their footballing development. The FA are now planning to introduce the game to all youth levels below under 13s in an effort to realign English youth football with other nations.
“It’s exciting, a new sport for them and it’s quite fast as well,” added Mr Bone on Futsal. “It gets them involved in the passing and moving and makes you think quicker.
“In two years, the Durham FA are moving to 9 vs 9 rather than 11-a-side so it supports the progression to that too.”