From Experts to Beginners, It’s a Perfect Place to Grow
Before you ask, no, this is not a sponsorship. I am not being paid to say this. In fact, I pay to go to the futsal gym. You all have seen me cover Birmingham Legion FC, FC Birmingham, and I have had interviews with other athletes from the Birmingham area like Nealy Martin.
It would be completely irresponsible for me to not go out and experience another part of the footballing culture in Birmingham, that being Birmingham Futsal.
Even though I am far from good, and I probably will never be as good as the regulars, I never felt like an outsider. The talent at these courts are incredible. It’s very common to see a player from FC Birmingham or from Birmingham Legion FC. Yeah, they don’t advertise that, but they go. It’s a perfect place to go train and just play some footy.
It’s impossible to talk about Birmingham Futsal without discussing Tristan Tillette. Tristan is the program director with a very hands on approach to building relationships and quality footballers. He knows almost every single person that comes through the door on a first-name-basis and makes sure everybody is comfortable.
If you want proof of his ability to train players, just look at his daughter. Auryn Tillette is an absolute quality footballer who should be on the radar of every university in the state of Alabama. Not only does does the midfielder star on the futsal court, but she was a major bright spot for FC Birmingham’s UWS squad. There are countless other success stories of players growing from being average players to becoming stars on their respective squads.
Outside of just the pickup games, they bring in great players to teach camps. Ryan James is a common face around the program with Football Rhythm, his training program to train younger players how to be accomplished in tight spots on the pitch. I have raved about Ryan the player for two years now, but Coach James is just as good, if not better. Seeing his face out on the pitch as a coach and player really brings into prospective how hard professionals work to get where they are, giving players a blueprint on how to succeed.
This does not even include the youth training Tristan and his group of coaches put together all year long, for all ages. It’s a top notch program with the student in mind, always. Which, as a young teacher, will always give major brownie points.
My Experiences at Birmingham Futsal
Admittedly, Birmingham Futsal was intimidating at first. As somebody who grew up playing goalkeeper because all I knew how to do was punt the ball and sometimes catch it, the idea of my technical skills being put on blast was horrifying. Well, after weeks of practicing on my technical skills and stamina, I worked up the courage to go my first night of pickup games.
I don’t know if you were expecting a heroic “against all odds” story. I sucked. I was bad. Actually, every time I’ve been I’ve sucked, but that is not to discourage you. My teammates were all very uplifting. Don’t get it twisted, but these matches are intense. EVERYBODY wants to win. If you screw up, you will hear about it, but not in a demoralizing way. I have received more coaching in two weeks of pick up than I ever did in high school. My teammates communicating when to take time, how much time to take, when to dribble, when to try some 1-2s, it’s just incredible.
In my two weeks of futsal, I have one goal and one assist. Not going to lie, I think about that assist all the time. I was on the right wing, I got the ball, and on the first time I passed the ball right to an on running teammate for a tap in. For many players, it was an easy play. For me? It was the highlight of my footballing career.
It is seriously some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing football. It’s hard. As of writing this, I’m exhausted. I’m sore, I’m fatigued, and I cannot wait to go again. I’ll be there on Monday, June 27th. You better be, too.