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Organic approach taken to futsal development

In anticipation of the explosion of futsal in Samoa, OFC futsal and beach soccer development officer Paul Toohey ran the first ever OFC Futsal Development Course at FFS headquarters.
oceaniafootball.com was fortunate to sit down with Toohey to learn more about the course and the potential for futsal in Samoa.
Why run a futsal development course as opposed to a coaching course?
It’s a starting point for futsal. If we want to develop players, we all have a responsibility to create activities like futsal. The words ‘futsal’ and ‘development’ go hand and hand – for me, when you talk about football – they are the same thing.
In highly developed football countries like Brazil and Spain futsal happens naturally, it is organic. I believe we have to try to have the same approach in our region. If you are a football coach and you don’t have deep knowledge, futsal can help. Players understand and adapt very quickly. After you create regular futsal for your players, then you can start discussing coaching – Level One, Level Two etc.
What kind of content does the course contain?
The primary focus is why we have futsal – its role in football development and the opportunities it creates for our players. We discuss how to find venues to play, how to extend your football activities with futsal, the Laws of the Game. There is also some content on basic attacking and defending principles. We also discuss the countries that are leading the way in our region – for example New Zealand, Tahiti and Solomon Islands, and the methods they are using to develop the game and how it might be applied at a local level. Another important theme is recognising that the game itself is the teacher.
It’s the first time you have run this particular course, do you think it was successful and achieved the goals
you set out for it?

It is the first time, a pilot project. There is always room for improvement but overall I am happy with the course. But really, we have to wait to see what follows before we can judge its success.
How well received was it by the participants?
I think it was well received. We had good attendance for each day. I know for sure they loved watching the videos of Brazil, Spain and of course Solomon Islands at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012!
How many participants did you have?
Why was Samoa the first OFC MA to receive this course?
With the inauguration of the new court under FIFA Goal IV Project we felt a course of this level was appropriate, a means of launching the activities that will take place on the new court. The plan is to follow up early in 2014 with coaching and refereeing courses after the regular futsal activities are launched.
What is your opinion of the participants potential future in futsal?
The responsibility lies with the participants, to go back to their communities, to find places to play futsal, to develop regular activities, particularly for young players. Futsal can help football in this country, I am certain of that. On the court, I saw some great potential – natural players with a great first touch, vision and a feel for the game. In the classroom too, there were some excellent contributions.
I have no doubt the federation will start to implement futsal, not only through regular leagues, but in the Development Centres and the Centres of Excellence. The participants on this course now have to support these activities and together we must all build the future for our young players.

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