University of Nottingham Futsal Club President Sam McGrath has set his sights on a top four finish in the FA National Super League North Division, a run in the FA Cup and continued progression in the BUCS League this season.
The Super League side have embarked on their new campaign, starting with a 9-5 defeat to Cambridge and a 7-4 victory over Sheffield FC. Last season, UoN finished bottom of the table in their first season in the Super League, but confidence is high over the squad’s prospects for this season.
“Particularly the first game against Cambridge, we were extremely sloppy and had periods of lapses in concentration which cost us. It’s a case of implementing the coaches tactics throughout, rather than only for periods of the game and cutting out individual errors. Once we’ve done that we’ll have a real shot at the league this year,” the Futsal president told Impact.
“The point of the matches was to test ourselves against the best teams around; futsal in Portugal is a lot stronger than it is in England,”
Indeed, the UoN Futsal squad seem in better fettle going into the 2016/17 campaign, having had the experience of playing in the Super League last year. The club also went on a pre-season tour of Portugal this summer, where they gained valuable experience through games against high calibre opposition, including Benfica Under-20’s.
“It was interesting to see what futsal is like in a country where it is a professional sport. It was particularly interesting to see how the academy sides feed into the men’s teams, which is something were looking at doing. We played against Portuguese first division sides which was a really good challenge”.
“We lost both games quite heavily but the point of the matches was to test ourselves against the best teams around; futsal in Portugal is a lot stronger than it is in England,” McGrath said.
BUCS prospects for this season also look promising; UoN Futsal have entered eight teams overall this year (four men’s sides and four women’s teams). The men’s first team won their Midlands 1A league in the last campaign, while the women came second in their division.
The men’s team will have the chance to retain their title this year, with McGrath eyeing Derby and Loughborough seconds as strong contenders in Midlands 1A: “Loughborough have fantastic facilities and a great futsal set up, as well as a Super League team to learn from and watch.”
On BUCS ambitions this season, McGrath said: “All of our BUCS teams should be aiming to win their leagues. The way that BUCS has been restructured this season means that teams cannot get promoted, but that doesn’t mean we should take our foot off the gas, as there is still BUCS points to be won and preparation for the season after for when we can get promoted.”
Futsal at UoN will hugely benefit from the new £40 million David Ross Sports Village, with a new indoor pitch to play on and an increased capacity for spectators to come and watch games.
“The pitch is really close to being international standard, a great opportunity compared to what most futsal teams play on in this country, which is sports hall courts with small markings. With the increased crowd as well, were looking forward to making it a place where we’re hard to beat.”
You can find UoN Futsal at the sports fair during freshers week which takes place at the sports centre on University Park from 10am-4pm on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th September 2016. Like their Facebook page University of Nottingham Futsal for more information.
Words by Joe Tanner
Images courtesy of University of Nottingham Sport via flickr.com
Video courtesy of youtube.com