Just like the women’s national football team inspiring the nation with their World Cup performances in Canada, a group of Hartpury College students and staff are doing their bit to get more girls involved in sport with their recent futsal exploits.
A trio of Hartpury students were a part of the successful Bristol City women’s futsal squad who secured FA Futsal Cup glory this season after a 6-1 final win over reigning champions, the University of Gloucestershire, at the Copper Box Arena, London.
Emma Mundy, 22, a Masters student in Coaching Science, and Georgina Presswell, 20, a first year degree student in Veterinary Nursing Science, both played their part in helping to secure cup success on the pitch while Julio Oliveira, 34, also a Masters student in Coaching Science, is currently the goalkeeper coach for the side.
And the team is spearheaded by Hartpury’s Sport Coaching Lecturer Luciana De Martin Silva, who has also overseen the development of futsal at the college.
The Brazilian-born head coach said: “I am delighted that our hard work has paid off and we were able to win this prestigious competition. It is every coach's dream to win an FA Cup and it’s great that some of our very own students were able to be a part of the occasion as well.”
Since introducing futsal to Hartpury in 2012, Luciana has seen the sport grow among both university and college students. After initially having only three players, the sport quickly blossomed with more girls taking up the sport and the college has had a team play in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) competition since 2013, while the squad made it to the semi-final stage of the FA Cup a year later.
In January, the college began playing a leading role in an initiative to grow the game of futsal in partnership with the Gloucestershire County Girls league after funding was secured from the FA to help deliver a new project that saw girls’ futsal leagues from Under-eights through to Under-16s start in the county.
Luciana said: “We have managed to deliver the project to almost 100 Under-16s girls since then and the number will continue to grow, particularly with all of the positive headlines regarding women’s sport lately.
“Our students have played an active role in helping to get more girls participating in futsal as they were involved in planning and delivering coaching sessions for the Under-16s which was great for their own professional development!. There’s a great opportunity for our students here to progress, not just as a player, but through a variety of other ways, including coaching and sports development.”