EXCLUSIVE: The Brazilian star of F-League, Australia’s new national Futsal competition, has hailed it's importance to developing the next generation of technically gifted Aussie players.
Melbourne-based Andre Caro Salve from Inner City FC was awarded the most valuable player gong after the conclusion of the F-League last week.
The F-League is Australia’s first national Futsal league and it featured six teams from NSW, Victoria and ACT. The tournament, endorsed by FFA and played in Sydney, heralded a new era for the code in this country.
“In Brazil the way most of us start with the soccer is through the Futsal. All the good players like Ronaldinho, Kaka, and others, they started playing Futsal,” Salve told au.fourfourtwo.com.
“Futsal you touch the ball like 100 games in a game – in outdoor you touch the ball maybe 20 times in a game.”
Sydney’s Maccabi Hakoah etched their name in local Futsal history by taking out the inaugural F-League after a 3-1 victory over St Albans Strikers in the grand final.
Other clubs to compete included Parramatta Blues (NSW), Dural Warriors (NSW) and Boomerangs FS from the ACT. The teams played three “series” with five games played over three weekends of action.
Teenage sensation Shervin Adeli took out the Golden Boot award with 18 goals across the three series, while his Maccabi Hakoah team-mate Jarrod Basger was awarded player of the final.
Caro began playing Futsal as a three-year-old in Brazil before going on to play professionally in Brazil and Spain. He arrived in Melbourne a year ago to study English and plunged straight into the local Futsal scene.
“The day after I arrived I started coaching juniors and then playing in the Nike V-League, which is a very good league.”
Next January’s Australian national Futsal championships will be a marker for the best players from each state and a pointer perhaps to who wins the next F-League in 2012.
“We hope that year after year, the F-League becomes bigger," he added.
Many argue Futsal needs a higher profile. The F-League is now a key driver of interest in the code, which has often been cited as a key component in the development of some of our most skilful and successful players.
Socceroo and Sydney FC star Nick Carle has admitted Futsal was a major reason why he was able to develop his flair-based game early in his career.
Likewise current Young Socceroo Jake Barker-Daish grew up in the Melbourne Futsal scene playing for Victoria while Nike Chance winner Tom Rogic, 18, has already played for the Futsalroos.
There is speculation some F-League matches may be played in Melbourne next year – a Futsal hotspot thanks to the V-League - as the national league aims to expand its imprint across the country.
Salve added that he’s seen Melbourne Victory play in the A-League and sees Futsal as being an important way to help lift technical standards of our players.
“It’s a good standard [the A-League]. We have a good crowd, it’s a good show," he said.
“But about the skills, I still think in Australia they are a bit behind.”
*Pictures by Damian Briggs