Blanes, Spain - The 2020 Top12 Experience recently came to a close in Blanes, Spain. The sixth edition of the annual youth futsal player experience concluded with Top12 Cup at Ciutat Esportiva Blanes. The international youth futsal tournament consisted of six age categories with Australia, Brazil, England, Spain and the United States as participants in the event.
In the second Top12 recap, United Futsal provides a player overview of the eventful week.
On Sunday, February 23, Top12 participants arrived in Lloret de Mar, a coastal city located an hour northeast of Barcelona. The Top12 Experience Opening Ceremony was held that night at Ciutat Esportiva Blanes - the event facility for the next week. Xavi Closas, FC Barcelona Futsal B head coach, and Miquel Feixas of the Spain National Futsal Team greeted the talented youth futsal players that were preparing for a week-long training and competition experience. The players also heard opening speeches from Rob Andrews, United Futsal President, and Jamie Waters, Top12 Director, and received their training as well as match gear.
Following the ceremony, Top12 players returned to the hotel with the first two-a-day session scheduled the next day. Training was held from Monday to Thursday at Ciutat Esportiva Blanes. Explore Top12 training highlights.
On Thursday, England arrived and immediately made its presence known at the Don Juan Hotel. The vocal youth futsal players chanted and waved flags of their home country as well as local clubs. The arrival of England sparked a contagious environment that surged with international pride for the days to come.
The Top12 Cup kicked off on Friday, February 28, at Ciutat Esportiva Blanes.
On Saturday, Brasil hoisted three boys division titles, while the United States was crowned champions of one boys division and both women’s. Check out the list of 2020 Top12 Cup winners and finalists below.
A highlight of the Top12 Cup was the gathering of three English-speaking countries with a growing futsal presence. For Australia, England and the United States, Top12 exposed aspiring players to an enthusiastic futsal community that lives and breathes the sport.
"Futsal isn’t that big in our country," said Jack Harrod, England South and Braintree Futsal Club head coach. "So coming here - it’s not just the players but also the supporters and staff members that get to see what futsal really is."
In addition to the electric atmosphere, the youth futsal players in attendance competed against opponents with different futsal backgrounds and experience. The competition level pushed players outside of their comfort zone and forced them to adapt to playing styles they were not accustomed to.
"The atmosphere was great," said Christian McCauley, 14-year-old goalkeeper from Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. "Everyone playing is at the same skill level. You get to learn how others play. In one region everyone plays a similar style. But here everyone was different."
The 2020 Top12 Cup was a valuable experience for aspiring youth players that seek a career in futsal.
United Futsal applauds the motivated players and supportive families that evolve and elevate the game. The 2020 Top12 Cup achieved a level that was only possible with their passion and commitment.