Jamie Fahey’s ‘Futsal’ book revives the importance of the sport

Futsal Book

I remember the first time I played futsal. I joined an adult league for exercise and fun and thought it would be a good idea to try indoor soccer. When I watched the Continental Indoor Soccer League, I pretty much knew what to expect.

What I experienced was very different from what I had imagined. Despite being a loose league with rudimentary tactics, the speed and intensity of the game meant I got a workout I never expected. And it was an absolute blast to play.

In the US, we look at futsal as one of two things. For one thing, it’s the game our children play between fall and spring. On the other hand, it’s the kind of football that Christian Pulisic did so well. Not surprisingly, the game has a much deeper story and infrastructure.

Veteran journalist Jamie Fahey attempts to summarize the sport in his new book. futsal. Drawing on his own experience of the game and unprecedented interviews, Fahey offers readers a glimpse into a game that is revolutionizing the game of football.

Jamie Faheys futsal book and fast-paced sport

Looking at the table of contents, the book appears traditionally structured. Like many books, there is an element of personal narrative. This is followed by a history lesson before a world overview. Instead, the book shifts from perspective to perspective with little transition, almost as if it contained a series of articles on the subject. We’ll start with Fahey creating his credentials. This includes playing football in small teams on the streets of his neighborhood. His stories of wildly spinning balls connect him to the game. Many play some version of futsal without even realizing it.

We are moving in the history of sport. Granted, that was a confusing part. With so many claims to authentic futsal, it’s hard to tell which clubs and movements represented which. At some points I was unable to follow countries’ performances at different tournaments, but that may be the fault of the reviewer and not the author. We then proceed to a tactics discussion that also includes stories about the coaches and players who shaped futsal. The book concludes with reviews of the locations of futsal around the world, including the ‘upcoming nations’ of the USA and France.

A criticism I alluded to above about how hard it is to summarize the book because it changes so quickly. For example, the chapter on Brazil (the true parent of sport) ends with a discussion of the Oriundi. This is a big issue in both football and futsal, especially in Italian history. For reference, these are players who were born in other countries but have used their ancestry to declare themselves a different nationality. While it makes sense to mention Brazil, which (to some extent) exports players to other countries, the subject is probably important enough for its own chapter or focus, with most of the conversation revolving around Italy’s futsal culture in particular.

Formatting tells a story

At first, the fast transitions bothered me at first. Then I realized it was somehow appropriate. Futsal is a game for quick thinking and quick reactions. After all, in futsal the goalkeeper only has 4 seconds to possess the ball before it passes! Unintentionally or intentionally, the book reflects the game of changing from topic to topic. Consequently, it combines into something interesting.

And this book is interesting. Sometimes it was hard to put it down because Fahey knows so much about futsal. He can call some of the biggest names in football and futsal and get their take on the game, including Roberto Martinez. His global view also reveals a sport that has matured in many places (Portugal, Brazil, Russia) but is emerging in unexpected places (England). As someone who understands futsal and its impact on world football, this book was an eye opener. At under 300 pages, it’s the right size for a solid read on why futsal needs your attention now.

Futsal: The Indoor Game That Is Revolutionizing World Soccer is available through Amazon and all good booksellers.

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