Champion shares his advice
COOPER Smith's futsal dream came true when he learned some moves from his favourite player.
Former Brisbane Roar Henrique Silva was on hand to dish out some sporting wisdom at a clinic in Maryborough yesterday.
For six-year-old Cooper, who plays for Tinana Football Club, it was a chance to learn from the best.
"He is a good player," Cooper said.
"I learnt to do lots of good stuff including kicking a lot a scores.
"I learnt about passing which will help me in my games."
Silva, who has been playing futsal and football since he was young, moved from Brazil to Australia in 2004 for his football career.
He said he wanted to inspire interested players with his story.
"I am a black person from Brazil where I had no hope and to do what I have done shows them there is hope," Silva said.
"Show them that if they believe in themselves anything is possible."
He said futsal was something that he really liked to do.
"I believe any kid from any-where needs an opportunity.
"I can help them with guidance but they need to do it themselves.
"I come here show them a few tricks."
Maryborough's Australian Futsal co-ordinator Peter Souvlis loves the sport so much he resigned from a 17-year job as head gardener with the Fraser Coast Regional Council to focus on the game.
Souvlis has been playing the sport for more than 30 years in the Heritage City and was running tournaments while working.
He jumped at the chance when he was offered the position.
Souvlis said a lot of footballers were shocked at how different the game could be.
"It is compact and quick - it teaches you a good first touch," Souvlis said.
"You have a limited court space and there are no attackers, defenders or strikers - you all attack, defend and strike.
"It teaches you to think really quickly."
Souvlis said a lot of parents saw their children shine on the futsal pitch.
"The kids come off, some of these kids who never score a goal in outdoor, might score three or four in a game of futsal," he said.
"They come off and they are red and they are sweating and their parents are saying 'he's never run like that in his life.'"
"I love the game and think its really good for outdoor players."
There are a lot of opportunities for futsal players with overseas trips and representing Australia.
Selected players can tour to play in countries like New Zealand, Hawaii, USA, China, Brazil, Barcelona, Italy, Greece, and the UK.
"I get to tour overseas once a year - I just came back from Scotland, England and Wales - I took two under 14 years teams for 16 days.
"It doesn't necessarily come down to skill - if you see a player trying really hard and running hard on court you can always teach them more skill - but they have got to have that passion, that heart, that drive.
"There has been quite a few players from my futsal team that have represented Australia - in 2017 I had 15 selected out of my squad of 40 which is unbelievable.
Souvlis said he hoped to see Silva return, with the Roar star saying he was open to the invitation.
"I still haven't announced my retirement but I am enjoying my coach life right now," he said.
"I have received a lot from Australia so I am just giving back.
For information about playing futsal, phone Peter Souvlis on 0458 003 145.