Brisbane Roar duo Jez Lofthouse and Jamilla Rankin are two of the brightest young players to come through Football Queensland’s futsal pathway.
18-year-old fullback Rankin started her futsal journey on the Gold Coast while Lofthouse began playing the game on the Sunshine Coast.
Speaking to FQ this week from Brisbane Roar pre-season training, Lofthouse said futsal was an important part of his development as a player.
“Growing up, I played a lot of futsal and I found it was a really good alternative to football in the off-season,” he said.
“It kept me fit and feeling sharp. It’s really good for quick, technical feet and learning how to play in small spaces.
“Futsal teaches you how to move quickly and think quickly. You need to play quick short passes, make big bursting movements and finish in smaller goals.”
FQ Futsal Participation Officer Trevor Edwards watched both Lofthouse and Rankin play at Futsal State Titles along with fellow A-Leagues players Josh Nisbet, Dan Hall, Rebekah Stott and Larissa Crummer.
“I’ve had the privilege of watching many talented kids at State Titles, and Jez and Jamilla are two great examples of players who have successfully transitioned from futsal to football,” he said.
According to Edwards, Lofthouse was “dynamite” on any surface, while Rankin was quickly identified as a future star.
“I can still remember the Director of Coaching of the Sunshine Coast Futsal Association, Justin Morrison, pointing Jamilla out to me and saying, ‘this girl will play for the Matildas one day’,” said Edwards.
The prediction may well come true after Rankin was recently called into the national team camp for the Matildas’ friendly against Ireland.
Lofthouse, meanwhile, is preparing for his first season in the A-League Men after signing for the Roar in September.
Edwards said the 2021 Futsal State Titles, which kick off this weekend across Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast, provide an opportunity for the next generation of futsal players to be identified.
“The State Titles are one of the identification pathways for Metro State Squads looking to compete at the Football Australia Futsal National Championships,” he said.
“It is great to see players like Jez and Jamilla make the step from Futsal State Titles to professional contracts and national team honours.
“Hopefully this weekend we’ll see some future futsal and football stars at the State Titles.”
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