England Deaf Women’s Futsal team are celebrating a landmark year after winning the European Championships for the first time with a 3-2 victory against Spain in Italy.
“I can’t believe it’s happened, it’s like a dream come true,” said captain Emma Brown. “All that hard work has just paid off and the squad that we’ve got, it’s just absolutely amazing.
“We’re not just a team, we’re a family as well and to get that gold medal, winning the Euros, it’s just absolutely amazing.”
Not only was it a successful trip to Montesilvano for the team, there were also personal accolades to be celebrated.
Maisie O’Shea was awarded best player while head coach Marios Costi picked up best coach.
What is Futsal?
- Futsal is the FIFA-recognised form of small-sided indoor football.
- It is played between two teams who each have five players on the pitch at any one time, with rolling substitutes and a smaller ball than football that is harder and less bouncy.
- The small amount of space means players must have great technique and skill.
“That just tops off the amazing performance – I couldn’t have done it without the team,” said 18-year-old O’Shea.
“I never expected that, I did not expect it at all,” said Costi.
“That was my first tournament as head coach and it was an overwhelming feeling – I am really proud of myself for getting that.”
It follows on from the England Lionesses’ success in the summer, winning their first Euros in July. Captain Brown was at Wembley to watch the side’s victory against Germany and says their success inspired them to do the same in Italy.
“To watch the Women’s Euros, you could see the bonding in the team and that’s what helped them to win the game is being so close as a team,” said Brown.
“If they won the Euros I’m thinking ‘my Euros is coming up, let’s try and chase that dream’.”
Financially, success was difficult to achieve. Funds to get the team over to west Italy were hard to come by following the FA’s decision to withdraw its funding from the sport in 2019.
“We had to raise money out of our own pocket, find sponsors, ask family and friends to support us and raise the money that we needed to go to Italy,” explained Costi.
“Finally we had one more donation from Specsavers who we were so grateful for, for giving us that last bit of money that meant that we could go to Italy.”
The FA says there aren’t any formal plans in place to provide funding for the team going forwards.
An FA spokesperson told Sky Sports: “Following consultation with UK Deaf Sports and GB Deaf Football, The FA’s Disability Football Committee made the decision in 2019 to refocus its funding to help develop the national 11-a-side format.
“This follows an increased commitment to deaf football to formalise the 11-a-side competition pathway, ensuring there are three major competitions – a World Cup, European Championships and the Deaflympics – in every four-year cycle.”
With a Euros title under their belt, the side’s next objective is clear.
“The next one is the World Cup next year and that’s in Brazil,” said Brown.
“That’s how futsal started so it will be a dream to play futsal in Brazil. That’s our next aim, to win the World Cup.”
#Euros #glory #dream #true #England #Deaf #Womens #Futsal #Football #News