Chasing a football dream

by Neil Sherwin

It’s every young football fan’s dream to play the beautiful game for a top team in front of thousands of adoring supporters.

For 25 year old West Australian Daniel Cappellaro, football aspirations have taken on a slightly different form and the renowned trickster is currently fulfilling his having taken up a professional contract in Argentina…to play Futsal.

Futsal is predominantly played in South America and, having played at amateur level in Perth for a number of years, Daniel was only too delighted to seize the opportunity to head to Buenos Aires.

“For me, as much as a playing experience, it’s a learning experience,” he says.

“So if I go over there and I see something I’ve never seen before then I’d love to take it on board.

“Having more time to train and everything else will be a huge difference as over here is that everyone has another job so you’re not training every day.

“If I can show people something that they like and they like what I do and I can stay there it would be the dream job.”

His new club, Deportivo Caseros, spotted Daniel at a tournament in Cairns last year and he has been given an initial six week contract with a view to something more long term.

As well as his endeavours in the Futsal world, Daniel plays 11-a-side at a semi professional level in Western Australia and also takes part in events for street football company “Trickstar”.

He is also heavily involved in coaching, organising small sided games for children before Perth Glory’s A-League home games, and later this year he will be going for an Australian C coaching licence having already obtained his youth qualification.

“I’ve been coaching since I was about 19 and when I was younger that was something I wanted to get involved with,” he says.

“If I couldn’t play the game I wanted to coach but as I’ve gone through it and coached more and more it’s become nice to see to pass on things to kids.

“They learn from you. You can show them a move and then they’ll go off and use it, and it’s very rewarding to see that.”

Speaking to Daniel, it’s interesting to hear his thoughts when comparing and contrasting Futsal with the outdoor 11 a side game, and he believes that the skills learned in the small sided version transfer well to a bigger pitch and vice versa.

He is aware that flair players who ‘showboat’ will be targetted by more physical players, but is of the opinion that you just have to get on with it.

“I think it’s a mentality, if you’re going to do stuff with the ball then you have to be prepared to take a tackle; that’s just part and parcel of the game,” he says.

“I believe it (playing 11 a side) helps from a physicality point of view. When you go and play Futsal the contact in the sport is less obviously, you’re not playing on grass and people aren’t sliding everywhere.

“It does help you in that regard because you know how to deal with it as well.”

Of course there are considerable differences in the skillsets required for each discipline, despite both falling under the football banner, and Daniel believes that it important to know when and how to apply yourself correctly.

“You play when you can basically so if the time comes to play short you play short but personally one thing I miss in Futsal is being able to play that 30 yard ball,” he says.

“Sometimes it’s nice to play a ball through or from one side of the pitch to the other, and you don’t have that side of things in Futsal.”

Despite the game originating in South America, it perhaps isn’t surprising that Spain currently holds the number one ranking in Futsal with Brazil in second spot, while Daniel’s new home, Argentina, is in seventh.

Like the 11 a side World Cup, the Futsal World Cup takes place every four years with the next one scheduled to tak eplace later this year in Bangkok, Thailand as Brazil looks to defend its title.

Futsal in Australia is still very much an amateur sport but they will be hoping to make it to November’s World Cup when the AFC Futsal Championship, from which the Asian representatives will be drawn, take place between May 12-22 in the United Arab Emirates.

Daniel may not be involved with the national team this time round but he is still in his mid 20s and has plenty of time on his hands given the possibility of a long career in the game.

“You’ve got a rolling bench so if you’re an influential player you can go on and play for a minute and a half or two minutes and if the team scores a goal they can pull you back off,” he says.

“I’d definitely say that the life of a Futsal player is a lot longer, though you do still have your fair share of injuries.”

Off the pitch, Daniel’s stocks continue to rise with an appearance as a playable character in the upcoming FIFA Street 4 game next on his agenda.

He has secured the sponsorship of Pelé Sports Australia who supply him with a range of clothing, football boots and Futsal shoes, and in 2009 he appeared on the FOX8 television program ‘Football Superstar’ showing off his skills to the show’s contestants.

The future certainly looks bright for Daniel and he’s well on way to achieving that dream of making it in the game.

For more information on Daniel, check out his website and YouTube channel, and you can also follow him on Twitter.

Author Info

Neil Sherwin

Neil Sherwin

Co-editor of BackPageFootball.com and BackPageRugby.com. Writes mostly on Premier League, A-League and MLS with contributions to other sites including TheFootballSack, InBedWithMaradona and Bloomberg's BSports. Has featured on The Guardian's Football Weekly.

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1 Response

  1. Ritchie says:

    Good article –– Futsal is a fantastic sport, I wish it was televised.

    As for Australians making it in South America, you do have the example of Richard Porta who played 1st division ball with Nacional of Uruguay and may do so again this year. Although he was born in Australia, he was raised in Uruguay so that kinda cancels the fact, but thought I’d mention it just the same… and Christian Vieri (who played for Italy but was born and raised in Australia) almost played for Uruguay’s Peñarol.

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