Recent IFA graduate Nathan Davis trains with ABC Nelas in Portugal

The International Futsal Academy (IFA) prides itself on growing and developing young futsal talent and Nathan Davis is a great example of a recent huge success of the programme.  Nathan joined us in 2016 from Bristol City’s Community Trust programme. Whilst always a natural talent, Nathan’s passion, determination and sheer grit has seen him capitalise on the available opportunities at Loughborough and catapult him into being one of England’s best players.

So when the decision time came to send one of our graduates for a trial with our Portuguese partners, ABC Nelas, Nathan was the clear choice for the opportunity.  We caught up with Nathan during some of the rare downtime he gets while training full time in Portugal:

So you’ve been in Portugal for just over a week now, how has it been?

Really good thanks, I’ve really enjoyed the experience a lot. The people here are really nice and the futsal is a great standard.

What have you learnt so far being in Portugal?

I’ve learnt a different culture to futsal. How it’s played in a different country where players have played the game since a really young age. How they press, the ball speed, their movement is all different to the English game which is good for me to see. I’ve also learnt some Portuguese phrases that I’m sure will help on the court.

You were on the IFA programme and played for Loughborough Student Futsal Club for three years, what learnings did you take to Portugal with you?

That if I am committed to training and put 100% in I will get something out of the experience. Ask for help whenever I don’t understand something and perform to the best of my ability.

What has been the highlight so far?

I’ve enjoyed every moment so far but probably the recent friendly tournament we had. That was really enjoyable and fun, and I got to see Portuguese futsal in a competitive environment.

How have you managed with the language barrier?

To be honest I’ve coped really well. The manager speaks Portuguese but explains the drill on the futsal board so I can see what he wants when he explain the drills. Also a few of the lads speak a little English so if I’m stuck they can translate so it’s really not as bad as I thought it would be.

What’s the main difference to training in the UK?

The main difference is the intensity. Everything they do is so much faster then the game in England for example pressing, ball speed, movement etc. They also love to attack. Everytime they see an opportunity to attack they will, rather then securing the ball and keeping it they will attack the opposition. Also the heat plays a big part. Although I’ve coped it does get very hot in the hall – I’ve never sweated before like I have here!!

You’ve been a consistent presence in the England national team last season, how do you think this experience at ABC will build you as a national athlete?

This experience will help me develop as a player as I will see the game in different ways. Therefore, I can adapt my game and include things players who play at a better standard do and hopefully take that into my game at club level and international level.

We wish Nathan all the best for the rest of his trial at ABC Nelas.

If you want more information on the IFA programme at Loughborough then visit our website:

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