Images: supplied

Players from New Zealand have reached the ultimate heights of the English club competition.

Bloomsbury Futsal’s senior men’s and women’s sides lifted their respective FA National Futsal Series titles on 3 June, with both sides heavily represented by kiwi players. The club is based in London and the wins mean both sides have qualified to play in next season’s UEFA Futsal Series.

Futsal Fern representative Hannah Kraakman was one of them and said her side’s 2-0 win over Bolton in the national final was “surreal”.

“We’ve been training and playing for 10 months so a lot of preparation went into winning!” she said. “We’ve learnt a lot from the coaches over the season and it was amazing to be able to put it all on the court in the final.”

Fellow national reps Dayna Manak and Tessa Leong are members of the victorious Bloomsbury team.

“To be honest we didn’t have a connection before moving over here (me, Dayna, and Tessa),” said Kraakman.

“We reached out to a couple of London clubs that were playing in the National League and Bloomsbury stood out in terms of the way they support the women’s team and the investment they are putting into Futsal for girls and women and the whole Futsal programme in general.”

She describes the level of Futsal in England as “really great”.

“The game is more physical here and there are some really skilful players, I also think the level from the start of the season to the end improved so much in terms of knowledge of the game and tactics used across the competition.”

The men’s side won their final with a 3-1 win over Manchester. New Zealanders Jordi Ditfort, Tom McGowan and brothers Logan and Kyle Wisnewski helped Bloomsbury achieve an unbeaten league season, winning 12 of their 14 games and drawing twice, before winning the knockout stages.

“The guys all joined the men’s team in the January transfer window, after playing for Reading Royals in Tier 2 alongside two other kiwis – Sam Masterton (coach) and Brayden Lissington.”

Kraakman is passionate about the benefits of Futsal.

“I’ve been playing and coaching Futsal for close to ten years and there is a growing number of us who only play Futsal now. That is really exciting to see and hopefully we can create more opportunities in NZ and across OFC for those kids (and adults!) that want to play Futsal more. You get so many benefits that can transfer to football from being able to play out of tight spaces to your one v one defending and attacking ability and general decision making will improve.”