When I lived in England, which is almost 3 years ago now, I used to regularly play five aside football. I played quite a bit of it actually, two games a week, one on Thursday nights and one on Sunday nights with the games lasting one hour each. And I did that for 28 years.
So that’s quite a few games of football.
As old as I am, and as poor as my old limbs are, I had hoped to continue playing five aside football here in Australia. But after searching high and low (Google of course) for somewhere where they played it, I drew a blank. “Perhaps they just don’t play it out here” I thought.
Then a fellow in a pub told me that I should have been searching for futsal. Futsal? What the heck is futsal? I play football, I follow football, I read about football, but I’d never heard of futsal. These Australians really are weird, why call it futsal?
Anyway, I returned to Google to check it out. And a search for the single word of futsal returns about 12,500,000 results! Seems I’m the only person who’s never heard of it. And it’s not an Australian thing, it’s worldwide.
Apparently, it’s the only indoor five aside football recognised by FIFA and they even have their own World Cup. There have only been six of them so far, and guess what? Brazil has won it four times. And England are no good at it. Some things never change.
But then it’s not surprising England are no good at it if you read the description of the game, which I did, courtesy of Wikipedia, where it says…. “The rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.”
No, definitely not a game suited to the English.
Anyway, I still didn’t find anywhere around here where I could book a hall. Things run differently here in Australia, I think because Australians are very serious about their sports and they are very competitive. Back in England, I could easily book a sports hall on a regular basis and turn up, just me with a bunch of my mates, and simply have a game.
All the sports halls I approached here were fully booked by competition organisers who would provide referees, arranged fixtures, set the timetable, produce the league table each week and then charge you a fee for entering the competition. And the trouble with that was they were all fully booked, no room for any new teams. I was told I could go on the waiting list.
Then I got the opportunity to play six aside soccer, outdoors on grass. And I wrote a post about that towards the end of last year when I introduced you to our football team, Hardly Athletic. I’ve been playing ever since.
Then a few months ago, one of the players in the team mentioned that he thought there had been a new indoor sports centre open up about 25 minutes drive from where we live. So I checked it out, and yes, they do play five aside football indoors, and it’s not even called futsal after all that. It is simply called indoor soccer. Well, I suppose expecting it to be called football would have been asking too much.
So, I got a team together, (yes, isn’t that good? I now have enough friends around here to get a whole five aside football team together) and we have had six games so far. We’ve won four and lost two, so we do have room for improvement.
The sports hall charges each team $78 per game, they provide the referee and the ball and there is even an electronic scoreboard. Way more professional than how I used to do it back in England, but I have to say, also quite a bit more expensive. But it is fun.
So, after nearly 3 years I’m back to playing football twice a week again. In that previous post I did mention there were only two things I missed from England, a proper local pub and playing football.
So all I need now is for someone to build a pub down the road. There is already a rumour it’s going to happen. So if you’re thinking about moving to Australia, but worried about some things you might miss about your old life. Worry not! It may take a little time, but whatever you had back there, you can replace out here.