A group of Exeter students aged 17-19 from the Exeter City Football In The Community BTEC Sport programme travelled a total of 286 miles to participate in the ever growing, EFL Futsal National finals.
Expectations were high as Exeter teams had previously performed well with the Express & Echo awarding their prestigious “Team of the Year “accolade for winning the competition last year.
The Grecian youngsters were one of fourty teams involved in this year’s competition and were placed in the South West qualifier group with seven other teams from the region including Plymouth Argyle and Bristol City. Winning 5 games, City finished second behind Newport County, with the top two teams going through, Exeter had booked their place in Birmingham for the National Finals.
June 22nd, National Finals day. Despite the long journey from St James Park, City showed no sign of fatigue. Showing great determination and team spirit, the young Grecians beat Cardiff City 4-1 in their first group game. They eventually topped their group being unbeaten in the process and progressed into the Semi-Finals. After 20 mins the game vs Grimsby Town ended 1-1 which took the tie to a penalty shootout, they held their nerve and won the game in sudden death winning 9-8.
City had made it into the Final in very dramatic fashion and now Peterborough were the team that stood between them and the cup. It proved to be a tight encounter that could off gone either way. Unfortunately, City went behind early on and couldn’t recover.
A controversial decision nearly resulted in a last minute penalty for Exeter however the decision didn’t go their way. City then pilled on the pressure and dominated the dying embers of the game. They threw everything at the opposition but some fantastic saves from the keeper denied City’s glory. Peterborough came out victorious, full time Exeter City 0 Peterborough United 1.
Exeter City Football In The community, Futsal coordinator and Head Coach, Chris Shephard, said “Despite the result in the final, it’s been a great journey and fantastic to be a part of, the hard work that these boys have put in over the last two years has paid off”
“Winning the nationals last year and getting to the finals this year is some feat. I feel very proud of every single one of them.” Says Chris
Speaking about the Exeter College BTEC Futsal course, Chris says “It’s a brilliant stepping-stone for the younger generation with a passion for football”
“The course itself provides a great foundation for students to make friends for life and enjoy the benefits of the great games programme that the EFL trust have created it provides.
“Our main aim at the futsal academy is to produce well rounded young adults and make sure the education comes first and the Futsal is secondary.”
Exeter City Football In the Community working in partnership with Exeter College offer BTEC Sport level 2 & 3 courses which include the opportunity to be part of the Futsal Academy.
For more information on how to get involved contact Chris on: Chris.Shephard@ecfc.co.uk