Olympic Catuvellauni, the multi-discipline sporting club established in 2013, has announced that they will be starting a Futsal Academy for players from the age of nine upwards.

The Academy will be predominantly based in Northamptonshire, with sessions for different age groups taking place across the county from January 2016. It will be headed up by Howard Willmott, a qualified futsal coach and experienced UEFA A licensed coach, and former Histon manager Brian Page. In the last 15 years the pair have overseen the development of a number of players who have gone on to play professional football.

The growing sport of futsal has its origins in South America but the game is now played throughout the world, being recognised and supported by UEFA and FIFA.

Academy Director Willmott explained: “Football participation is back on the rise and there is an increasing number preferring the smaller-sided game. For the one player who is fortunate enough to make a living from the professional game, there are squads of players at every age group who don’t make the grade.

“At the moment, futsal provides another pathway and ensures they aren’t lost from the game. A lot of the players that miss out are normally the late developers; they are highly-technical players but aren’t as effective on an 11-a-side pitch, often because of their size. In a five-a-side environment they can shine because the physicality doesn’t play such a vital role.

“Having coached a lot of players that fall into that category, I’m excited to be working with Brian and Chris, and the Oly Cats community, to provide an opportunity for these players, and others, to progress within the sport.”

Chris Rivett, founder and chairman of Olympic Catuvellauni, added: “We are excited by the opportunity to replicate the successful structure we have established with the handball club, under the guidance of Bobby White, to other sports.

“In many ways there are a lot of similarities on the court; futsal is another fast-paced sport with a big focus on developing the skills and tactical appreciation of the players. We have brought together a team with an excellent coaching pedigree who are keen to share their knowledge, passion and energy, and develop an enriching youth programme.

“Going forwards futsal could well become the first experience of football youngsters get and we look forward to playing our part to grow the sport locally.”

The senior team will make their first competitive appearance on Friday when they take part in the Northamptonshire Football Association’s Futsal Christmas Cup at Moulton College.

Youth team training will start on Monday 11th January 2016 at the Sir Christopher Hatton Academy in Wellingborough and anyone interested in further details is invited to contact Howard Willmott via howard.willmott@olycats.co.uk.