Become the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo with the opening of the ‘Footstars Futsal Centre’ in Ipswich

Lionel Messi grew up playing futsal as a youngster. Photo credit: PA

Lionel Messi grew up playing futsal as a youngster. Photo credit: PA - Credit: PA

Ever dreamt of having the technical ability of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Ronaldinho?

Cristiano Ronaldo also grew up playing the fast-paced sport. Photo credit: PA.

Cristiano Ronaldo also grew up playing the fast-paced sport. Photo credit: PA. - Credit: PA

Well, you can start making that dream a reality in weeks to come with the opening of the ‘Footstars Futsal Centre’.

Starting on Monday, February 9, Footstars owner Guy Hayes is welcoming all interested individuals to join in weekly futsal sessions at Ipswich Academy (Braziers Wood Road).

Never heard of futsal?

Well, speaking from my own experience, you are missing out.

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You’d be naive to confuse the increasingly popular sport with traditional five-a-side, basing its main principles on touch, skill, passing, vision, awareness, and movement.

Played on a marked-out indoor surface with five players on each side, allowing kick-ins and corner kicks, futsal is played with a much smaller but heavier ball than your regular sized-five football.

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The goals are also square-size, with all players (including goalkeepers) permitted to enter both penalty areas.

Matches are 40 minutes long (20 minutes per half), include rolling subs, with time stopped when the ball goes out of play.

Ever wondered how the aforementioned footballing trio have achieved such success in their career? Well, they’ll certainly tell you that playing futsal on the streets of their native countries has played a big part.

For Hayes, who coaches Ipswich Town’s Elite under 10’s side as well as managing Ipswich Wanderers Reserves of the SIL, playing regular futsal is one of the best things to implement into improving your 11-a-side game – the predominant reason why he is looking to generate more interest in Suffolk.

“Futsal is just non-stop defence v attack,” Hayes said.

“It’s fast-paced, end-to-end, and great for your stamina – you’re always in the thick of the action.

“You can link all its benefits into your 11-a-side game – from technical to tactical.

“One of the main other reasons why I’ve set this up is to make people aware of the sport itself – re-iterating that it’s not just your average game of five-a-side.”

Still got your doubts? Well, just have a read of these statistics Hayes researched and cited: “On average, in a futsal game, you touch the ball five times more than you do in a 11-aside game.

“The ball is also out of play just eight to 10% of the time in a futsal match, compared to 34% in an 11-a-side football match.”

Hayes’ vision is to initially generate interest in the sport in Suffolk, providing sessions to all interested parties on a weekly basis, before hopefully running a round-robin competition, as well as eventually creating an official club to play other teams in competitive leagues.

So why not give futsal a go this Monday (8-9 pm)? All you need is £5 fees (per session), your kit, and some suitable indoor shoes. Contact Hayes on 07963 560439 or

Who knows, I may even give it a go – I was an integral part (unused GK sub) of the National Championship winning University of Brighton side after all!

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