FUTURES Selection Process with the Director of Player Development
The FUTURES Programme, compromising an intensive 8 days of futsal and personal development brings together some of the best players from across the United States to Barcelona, Spain. How does a player get to be part of this unique and exclusive programme? We spoke to United Futsal’s Director of Player Development Thomas Goines to find out.
He told us that it all starts with the Champions Cup Series. This is where 24 clubs across the States organise competitions with regional and national championships. During the tournaments around 400-500 players across the various age groups in boys’ and girls’ division are nominated by their coaches or identified by United Futsal’s technical staff.
They are then invited to the National Training Camp where the players train intensively for 1 week under the supervision of expert futsal coaches brought over from Spain and Brazil alongside the US Coaching Directors and staff coaches. The next of these camps will take place in Oklahoma City between June 23rd-27th 2023.
Those that continue to shine there then receive the highly coveted invitation to be part of the FUTURES programme where they get the opportunity to travel to Barcelona to train full-time with world-class coaches, play against elite teams, watch professional futsal matches and tour the FC Barcelona stadium among other activities.
Goines, who previously worked as a Head Coach in College Soccer, describes the process of finding the best talent; “We try to make it a funnel. We take the entire Champions Cup Series, which is a highly competitive futsal programme, take the best third of that and put them into a national camp and then take the best third of that and bring them to Barcelona and put them with the best coaches around.”
The former NCAA Division I soccer player is clear the programme will help already talented players take their game and personal development to the next level. “When you go into the FUTURES programme it makes you stronger. Those selected on this programme come from places where they are the top players but when they come here, they are going to be challenged to become better. I think that’s what you need to accelerate yourself as an athlete and as a person.”
“The programme forces you into development and challenges you not to be comfortable. That is what everyone needs, especially kids who have always been told they are good because that can stunt your growth. When they get challenged, they can push on further.”
With the 2023 FUTURES Programme concluded, the process begins again to find the players who deserve to be there in 2024. What is certain is that those that have experienced it this year will be doing all they can to live it once again including taking advantage of all they have gained from the programme this time around.
*ABOUT DOUG REED*
Doug Reed is a professional futsal player from England whose passion for the game has taken him across the world to report on top stories and provide insights from someone inside. Visit his website at www.dougreedfutsal.com or follow him on social media via @DougReedFutsal.