Samba-style drive fires bid to 
increase girls’ participation

SAMBA SKILLS: Action from the Under-16s Futsal Inter Schools Cup at King Edward VI Upper School Sports Dome as King Edward (red) take on Thurston (blue)
SAMBA SKILLS: Action from the Under-16s Futsal Inter Schools Cup at King Edward VI Upper School Sports Dome as King Edward (red) take on Thurston (blue)
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With the World Cup in Brazil on the horizon, girls in Bury St Edmunds got a taste of the game which took the South American country by storm.

It may not have been the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janiero, but under the King Edward VI Upper School Sports Dome there was plenty of the same passion on display in Tuesday’s futsal tournament.

It is hoped the five-a-side version of football played with a smaller ball — often the first route into football in Brazil among other countries — can boost the numbers of girls in the area involved in what Pele termed ‘the beautiful game’.

Bury-based King Edward VI Upper School played host to an under-16 taster festival of futsal involving sides from Thurston Community College, County Upper School and St. Benedicts, organised within a partnership between the school and Bury Town Football Club.

Laura Harker, from King Edward VI Upper School, said: “These futsal events are fantastic for encouraging more girls to take part.

“They’re played in a competitive, but fun and friendly atmosphere, which really challenges the perception that girls football is only for an elite few.”

Bury Town had spoken with the four schools about the struggles of fulfilling full 11-a-side fixtures and decided variations of smaller format football would be very beneficial.

Bury Town’s Tom Parkington and Luke Reilly organised the event with King Edward, and hope to use futsal both in more school events and outside of school within the Bury Town Community Football project.

“From a player development point of view, I think futsal is a very useful tool more coaches and clubs should use,” said Parkington, Bury Town’s club development officer.

Bury Town have also teamed up with Frames Conservatories Direct, who are now sponsoring the Bury Town Girls and Ladies Football Project.

n Anyone interested in joining Bury Town’s Girls and Ladies football set-up, either as a player or coach, should email tom.gfisoccer@hotmail.co.uk