Graeme Dell on Futsal

FIFA, 05 Sep 2023


Graeme Dell, a distinguished figure in the world of futsal, holds the esteemed positions of FIFA Futsal Technical Expert and FIFA Futsal Development Consultant. Boasting an illustrious career as both a coach and a coach educator, he has a place in the history books as the first-ever coach of the England national futsal team.

Part 1: Dell’s role with FIFA and what it entails
Part 2: Unique characteristics of futsal and role in player development
Part 3: Recent tactical trends in futsal
Part 4: Advice for prospective coaches

Part 1: Dell’s role with FIFA and what it entails

In the first section of the interview, Dell gives an insight into his career in football and futsal, and explains what his current roles as FIFA Futsal Technical Expert and FIFA Futsal Development Consultant entail.

Part 2: unique characteristics of futsal and role in player development

In the second part of the interview, Dell discusses the uniquities of futsal, before going on to explain how the game can contribute to the development of football players. Indeed, he offers examples of iconic footballers who grew up playing futsal, including Xavi Hernández, Lionel Messi, Kaká, Andrés Iniesta, Marta and Deyna Castellanos. The futsal expert also comments on how a number of FIFA member associations offer players the opportunity to play both futsal and football – known as the twin-tracking system – up until a certain age, before the two pathways converge again later on in the player’s development, with futsal playing its part in the overall player development process of young footballers.

In recent years, Dell and his colleagues have identified some interesting tactical trends, both positive and negative, in futsal that have enabled FIFA to see where it needs to help the playing and coaching community. He cites some statistics to reflect the situation regarding power plays in recent tournaments. Another development that the FIFA Futsal Technical Expert refers to is the trend for teams to substitute whole groups of outfield players, with all four players being substituted and replaced by a whole unit of players. Dell also explores the influence that a coach has in futsal compared to football, in which although there are no in-game timeouts, the coach has longer to reflect on the actions they wish to take.

Part 4: advice for prospective coaches

In the last part of the interview, Dell offers some pointers for anyone interested in becoming a futsal coach. He notes that potential coaches should study the futsal resource being produced by FIFA and comments that it is important that any prospective futsal coach not only observes the game but also plays the sport in order to immerse themselves in it and enhance their understanding.

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