Sunshine Coast star Samara Christmas firmly believes playing futsal in the off-season has been a significant benefit to her outdoor game with NPLW Queensland side Sunshine Coast Wanderers.
After just one season indoors on the boards – a hugely successful one with South East Queensland Futsal Premier League (SEQFPL) champions Sunshine Coast Wave – Christmas has spoken about just how much a help it has been to her.
A new SEQFPL season begins next month and Christmas and the Wave have preparations for a successful title defence well under way.
And Christmas is one who will be as fit as anybody in the competition.
“Playing futsal in the summer keeps me fit and keeps my touches going as well,” Christmas said when asked of the benefits of mixing indoor and outdoor styles.
“Actually I find that futsal makes me a lot faster and sort of keeps my mind ticking. So I believe it is good for my outdoors game.”
Christmas, a member of the 2017 SEQFPL Team of the Season and winner of the Golden Boot award with 21 goals, likens the indoor code to helter-skelter snooker or chess in that players have to anticipate a move or two under pressure.
“It is kind of you have to think one step ahead,” Maryborough-born Christmas said.
“Before you receive it you ask yourself what’s your next step, where are you going to go?
“It has helped with my sharpness. I play number nine outdoors, so centre forward, so I feel like futsal helps me in terms of just holding up the ball, having confidence on the ball and looking for those creative through-balls and fast feet – all that kind of thing.
“The most important skills I have learnt from futsal? Close touch and skills.”
While the Sunshine Coast Wanderers are not having the best of times in the NPLW Queensland, they are sensing a good end to a tough year.
But then it is on to the SEQ Futsal Premier League and confidence is sky high in the Wave camp of another big season.
The defending women’s champions look like they will retain the bulk of the premiership side and have picked up a couple of handy additions.
“We have Jayah Brown, who has played for Adelaide in W-League and we’ve also signed Sofie Persson who used to play for Sunshine Coast Fire and has been training with the Roar,” Christmas said.
“We want to be undefeated again, we want to win the title again, we want to win it all again.
“This year we have a good team on paper, a really good team.
“But we’re not cocky, just confident. We know we’re coming up against some teams that will be really tough to beat.”
When she first tried her hand indoors Christmas revealed the standard was much higher than she expected.
“I was actually quite shocked by the standard because it was a lot better than what I was expecting,” she said.
“There were players there from F-League, the equivalent of W-League in outdoor.
“Players who train and play with the Roar are getting involved this year and there are a lot of quality players there, a lot of NPL players.
“It is a good competitive base for fitness during the summer and this way we can stay switched-on all year around.”
Words: Terry Wilson