João Almeida, new IFA Head Coach
Portuguese coach João Almeida will be the new IFA Head Coach and Loughborough Futsal’s FA Futsal Super League Manager. João’s latest job saw him leading Bahrain’s National Team, an adventure he attempted after becoming Portuguese U19s champion and coaching Associação Académica de Coimbra in the Portuguese top division. We talked with him gather his thoughts about the IFA, Loughborough and the coming season.
Please tell us a bit about your coaching history.
I started with 17 years old in my small village club, coaching a Futsal Team U15. I stayed with that group of players for 5 years and in the third year I opened a Futsal Academy with this group of players. In the first year of this Academy the U17 were runner-ups in the National Cup, and in the second year we raised the number of teams and reached a number of almost 100 players. After this I went for another club and I was Coach of U19 team, in this club we were National Champions and I stayed there for three years before I started my experience with Senior players in another club. In the same year I was Coach of Coimbra University Team, and we were Vice Champions of Portugal. Following this I was manager of a Associação Académica de Coimbra, in thez Portuguese top division, and in 2014 I went for Bahrain National Team, until 2017. My main focus is to develop players and allowing their growth as a Futsal Players.
Where do you think English futsal is at the moment?
I believe English Futsal will be a flag in this sport in the near future, growing with small but important steps. The development of young players and the main focus in the National Player will take England to the next level, and we can already watch this development in the last tournament in China, where National Team of England showed a amazing image of their capacity.
The English player need more knowledge of the game and more intensity during the competitive moments, but with more experience and competitivity this points will have a individual development and English Futsal will be in the next step.
What is your philosophy as a coach?
I believe there are two main points in Futsal Coaching. The first one is the full preparation of games, from a defensive point of view and offensive point of view, working all the moments of game and developing the knowledge from the other teams to give us the ability to avoid the surprise. The second point is the capacity to fight with intensity and with the spirit to work a family in the field, the capacity to recover a lost ball or to cover a brother mistake can make the full difference in the game.
So my philosophy is focused in the preparation of all the details of the game and the teamwork and spirit to fight as a family and attitude of winners. If our mind and preparation are stronger than the other teams, we start all the games with advantage.
What are your objectives for the season, for both the International Futsal Academy and for Loughborough’s Super League team?
The goals should live always to improve, to make better and more. We have to take the amazing work from the past and be able to grow with strong steps and vision. For the Super League Team, the last season was very good, but there is space and conditions to improve, so we should look at the League ambition and to do this we have to work hard and together to improve our position. We have to look forward always and want more, we must believe.
Regarding the International Futsal Academy, the goal should be based in the quality of work, to promote our players and to give them conditions to allow our Super League Team to be stronger in the future, but ambition should be always present and in our minds, looking forward to each weekend, to show how we are doing a good work and how we are happy to make it. Game by game until the final Goal.
Loughborough is quite a special place for anyone sports related. Are you looking forward to working at the World’s best University for sport?
Yes, for someone like me be a part of this reality is amazing, it’s something to desire and to work for. My motivation is in the top level with the sport environment that Loughborough share and this is something that someone connected to sport want. Also this year I will be doing my Master Degree Thesis with Futsal as a subject so it’s one more good point to be at Loughborough. I hope to let everyone happy in the end of the season and to be able to learn more and to share my knowledge with everyone.