Women and girls are being urged to get a kick out of futsal and make it one of the fastest growing sports in the district.

Kirklees Futsal has big plans after its first ever futsal tournament attracted more than 160 women and girls.

Organiser John Caven, backed by England Futsal and with help from the West Riding FA, held the tournament in Dewsbury and women and girls from across Kirklees took part.

“The weekend was a huge success,” said John. “England Futsal financed it with £1,000 as they wanted to raise participation levels and wanted to run some events for girls who have not played before. 

“The tournament gave women and girls a chance to play the sport for free and give it a go. We have big plans to expand the women and girls’ futsal community in Kirklees and I’m delighted to be working with England Futsal and the local FA on this.” 

Futsal is a football-based game played on a hard indoor court. It has similarities to five-a-side football but the main difference is that the players play with a smaller, harder, lower-bounce ball than what they play with in regular football. This means the players end up being very skilful and technical. Futsal is extremely popular in South America and Asia.

John added: “In countries like Brazil, Argentina and Portugal they are raised on it. So from those countries particularly I know that futsal helps to create more technical players.

“They have more skilful players who don’t panic on the ball, they can manipulate the ball in tight spaces and that’s what the Three Lions want us to be able to do. Other countries have been doing it for a long time but we’re some way behind here in England.” 

On what the future holds for futsal in Kirklees and West Yorkshire, John said: “Out of the hundreds of kids that go to West Yorkshire Futsal, only two girls play the sport. While they are superb technically, they are also emotionally robust enough to work in pretty much an entirely male-dominated sport. 

“For new girls trying the sport they may be more comfortable in an all female setting. So what we’ve done is create Kirklees Futsal Women where it will be completely focusing on participation rather than winning. 

“We are going to be the bottom block on the pyramid, then West Yorkshire Futsal and then England Futsal. So when they initially come to us it’s about enjoyment and participation and then if the girls want to progress there is going to be a pathway for them to do that.” 

John is confident there could be a league set up in Kirklees by September. 

He said: “A lot of football clubs now have women’s teams with the growth of women’s football over the last few years. However we want to provide something a bit different in futsal for them.

“Lots of these junior girls’ sides struggle to get games on due to their pitches not being usable. In futsal we automatically don’t have this problem due to the game being played in a sports hall. 

“We don’t want to take those girls from their local teams but we do want to offer them something different. Hopefully we can build up a league futsal structure and create a Kirklees Futsal division system where teams can play competitively. That, as I said, isn’t the main focus but it will give the girls something to aim for.” 

For more about Kirklees Futsal please contact John on john@gwlunited.org.uk