91 teams, 253 matches and 855 players - Capital Girls League (CGL) Futsal came back with a vengeance for the 2016/17 season as the Futsal Cup was played out over three weekends at the Copper Box Arena.
The cup, which was held at the unique venue on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the third time, aims to help clubs and players alike get one over on the winter weather by providing an opportunity to play competitive football in an indoor arena. By adopting the rules and format of Futsal, players are encouraged to focus on their first touch and technical skills by using a smaller, heavier ball.
After hosting handball, modern pentathlon fencing and goalball during the 2012 Games, the Copper Box Arena is now one of London’s most versatile and exciting events venues and is open to the public as a fully-equipped, 100-station gym. As part of its London 2012 Legacy commitments, the Copper Box Arena also delivers a diverse and plentiful grassroots sports programme for the local community, including the CGL.
This popularity of the competition has been rising year on year and this year’s competition produced:
- 29 clubs across the league
- 60 teams across all league age groups
- 91 Futsal teams entered
- 855 players
- 253 matches
- 2530 minutes of Futsal
- 5 WSL player appearances
Organiser and Middlesex FA Football Development Officer, Kelly Hancock, said: "It’s great to see the interest continually build over the years and as difficult as it is to organise for such large numbers, the opportunity for clubs, teams and players to come together and play indoors at such a great venue is invaluable."
U9, U10 and U11 were the first age groups up and were lucky enough to be joined by Arsenal Ladies, Leah Williamson who carried out the presentations and took some time to sign autographs and answer questions from the day.
The next week saw our most subscribed age group, the U13’s, take centre stage. The majority of the teams in this age group had been involved in last year’s competition, so it was great to see it grow again and visibly notice the improvement.
One of the girls from the Pro:Direct U13 team commented: "I have really enjoyed the event. We don’t play Futsal much so to come and play in a big competition is great."
The girls also received the boost of being joined by Millwall Lioness players, Jordan Butler and Beth Harford, who made a surprise appearance to present the trophies and answer questions from players.
The last date saw the two oldest age groups have their time in the spotlight. They were joined by London Bees players, Ashleigh Goddard and Sophie Harris who were on hand for the presentations and spent some quality time with the players and managers for questions, as well as showing off some of their skills.
One of the parents watching the event said afterwards: "Everything has been organised well and the games have all ran smoothly. The girls seem to have really enjoyed it."
Winners of the Tournament
U9 – Pro:Direct U10 – Tottenham Hotspur Girls U11 – Alexandra Park Youth U13 – Celtic Girls & Pro:Direct U15 – Enfield Town Girls U17 – Kent Football United
The CGL would like to thank all those who helped the day go ahead, including the Copper Box Arena, Referees, Volunteers and Photographer, as well as the Managers, Players and Parents who were there to support. As a keepsake of the event, the photographer captured every moment and these are available to purchase from the website www.wusphotography.com
Special thanks also go to the FA WSL Players who supported the event and helped to bridge the gap between grassroots football and the top tier. The time they give up to inspire the next generation is invaluable.
The FA WSL 2 Spring Series starts on Saturday 11th February and WSL 2 on Sunday 23rd April. Go along and show your support. You can see all WSL fixtures HERE.