PROJECT FUTSAL (Football Used Toward Social Advancement and Learning) is a joint initiative between the Football Association of Ireland and the Welsh Football Trust, with the core aim of utilising football as a social inclusion tool in order to facilitate innovative community regeneration.
The overall aim of the project is to provide education and work opportunities for young people in disadvantaged areas and to influence and assist community regeneration via employment and volunteerism in the field of sport.
There are seven project hubs in Ireland. One of these is located at the Astro Active Centre, Bellefield, Enniscorthy, and is run in partnership with the County Wexford V.E.C. This year the Wexford hub has been nominated for an AONTAS Star Award.
Over the next four months the hub has organised a noncompetitive Under-9 soccer league. The league has been set up by Project FUTSAL participants and Wexford Albion coaches Brendan Corish and Thomas Kelly, with the support of Wexford's F.A.I. Development Officer, William Doyle, and with the co-operation of Don Hearne and Jack Tim Murphy (Curracloe), Pat O'Leary (Glynn-Barntown), Ken Kennedy (Cloughbawn), Richard Cleary (Fastnet Rovers), Liam Collins (Forth Celtic), Toddy Roche (also Project FUTSAL) and Theresa Pearce (both Kilmore United), and John Hill (Rosslare Rangers).
The league is non-competitive and every player that participates will receive a certificate as the emphasis is on having fun playing the game rather than on results. Group A of the league kicked off on January 12 and was a success, with all of the players enjoying themselves and looking forward to regular games over the coming months. Unfortunately, Group B fell foul of the weather last weekend but weather permitting will kick off next weekend (January 26).
This weekend will see Group A resume with: Curracloe v. Forth Celtic; Glynn-Barntown v. Fastnet Rovers; Cloughbawn v. Wexford Albion. The fixtures for Group B, weather permitting, are: Glynn-Barntown v. Kilmore United; Cloughbawn v. Wexford Albion; Rosslare Rangers idle.