1 pitch, 9 hours of futsal, 300 kids

Hundreds of kids play futsal at the Park

The last action on the pitch at St James Park this season was a junior futsal tournament on bank holiday Monday, in which 300 children from across the Exeter, Mid and East Devon area took part in a round-robin event for Under 9s, Under 10s and Under 11s.

“The Futsal Youth Tournament was the last event of a 12-day period when Exeter City opened the St James Park pitch to host cup finals and tournaments for schools, colleges, youth and adult leagues,” said David Evans, the youth commercial manager.

“Seeing a total of 300 children taking part in 108 games played over a nine-hour period at St James Park on the bank holiday was an amazing sight.  That’s what the game is all about – giving youngsters opportunities that will stay with them forever.”

All the children were thrilled to be taking part in the event, which was sponsored by Eurocamp, who operate football tours on the Costa Dorada in Spain.  As they ran on the pitch at the start, one player from Otterton U11s stopped and held his arms in the air and said: “I have waited all my life to be on this pitch”.

There were nine teams in the U9 tournament, which was won by Sidmouth Warriors who beat Exmouth United in the final after a penalty shoot-out.  Central won the U10 event, which was contested by 12 teams, again with the final going to penalties, where they beat Twyford.  Feniton came out on top of the nine teams in the U11 event, winning an exciting final 3-2 against Twyford.

Futsal is the FIFA/UEFA approved style of small-sided football which is credited by players such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as being fundamental to their development.  It places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, which makes it an excellent way to develop football techniques that can be translated into the 11-a-side game.

On Monday evenings, Exeter City’s Football in the Community department runs a futsal league for U10 and U11 players in the sports Hall at St Peter’s School, Quarry Lane and on Fridays there are junior futsal sessions in the sports hall at St James High School, Summer Lane, which are open for children aged six to nine (from 6-7pm) and then 10-13 year olds from 7-8pm.

For more information on the league or the sessions, please contact Danny Harris on 07827 871721 or email danny.harris@exetercityfc.co.uk.