When the Football Association (the FA) named Harrow College as a host venue for the FA People’s Cup - a Futsal tournament which runs alongside the actual professional FA Cup, there was understandable excitement among the local community. The FA People’s Cup 2018 is the largest free 5-a-side football competition in the country, supported by the BBC’s Get Inspired campaign.
Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small sided football game that is widely played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA. Many of the world’s top class footballers played Futsal in their youth including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas, amongst many others!
The tournament kicked off in late February 2018 with Harrow College hosting matches at Vale Farm in Wembley. The day was action packed with teams giving it their all, hoping to progress to the semi-final. The winning team from round 1, competing in the college male & female category, was a team from Harrow College – a fantastic achievement!
Brunel University played host to the semi-finals (on 21 March 2018), and not only did team Harrow College compete, they also comprehensively won the game 5-0, defeating Whiltshire - another London college team. The Harrow College team, thrilled with their tournament performance, will now progress to the finals which will take place at St George’s Park – the £105m facility which is the training home for all England national football teams. Winners will be crowned during the grand final in late April, with a chance to be at Wembley Stadium for the Emirates FA Cup Final in May 2018.
Harrow College student Lestor Pereira said: “It’s a great achievement for the team and the college to qualify for the finals. It was a brilliant game and Wiltshire were tough opponents. I’m really happy to go through and I’m looking forward to playing at St George’s Park. It’s brilliant to be top goal scorer for my team too.”
Futsal is a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size four ball with a reduced bounce. It is played to touchlines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head-height. Games are 20 minutes per half, played to a stop clock (similar to basketball) with time-outs permitted. The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.
A delighted Katie Tarrant – Sports Lecturer and Futsal coordinator at Harrow College said:
“The whole Sports Department are extremely proud of how far this team has come in such a short space of time. Futsal was only introduced into the college in October so the boys have done fantastically well. We cannot wait to cheer them on at St George’s Park”.
For more on Sports courses at Harrow College, click here.