Courtesy: Vital Football/York CityYork City massive for us - Roberti
York City Futsal head coach Junior Roberti admits the recent merger with York City FC has massively raised both the profile of his club and the sport itself within the local area.
The Minstermen secured themselves a second consecutive league title following an eleventh game without defeat at the weekend, and are now busily preparing for their much-anticipated return to Super League.
"We've been champions [on Sunday]; eleven games and we've won ten and drew against a very good Tranmere team," Roberti told The Daily Futsal. "It's a great season for us so far.
"York City came on board a long time ago, actually. We've merged with them this season. We'd always been playing as the University of York but felt that the community participation was important for us.
"We have to remember we'd been champions last year as well. But we wanted to go further and that's why we finally discussed with York City. I said: 'It's time for us to to merge because we want the community involved'.
"York City was already participating in futsal in the background," he continued. "They love the game and are backing us up. Today I can say we are visible thanks to York City. We're getting more and more fans from the football to futsal. We are present in the local newspaper weekly with results and match reports.
"And social media activity when we merged with York City increased massively. Today we have thousands and thousands of views and interactions with the local people here. So York City definitely helped us.
"The most important thing in my personal opinion is the fact that we're attracting more and more kids to the game," the Brazilian explained. "Yes they might be approaching us thinking about football, which is not necessarily a problem. But when they came to me I will be coaching futsal and we play futsal with them.
"York City has given me that opportunity. We always had an academy and kids here, but when we became officially York City, I can say that basically doubled the number of kids involved."
Runaway champions York have absolutely taken National League Division Two North by storm this season and should now receive a richly-deserved opportunity of challenging the absolute best in the country on a regular basis.
"We have big plans - we want to be in Super League," Roberti added. "We were never supposed to be out of Super League in the first place. We've been relegated two years ago. People might not know that University of York was in the Super League already.
"We are going to Super League next year, we are sure of that. I'm sure there is no reason [not to]. We tick all the boxes that you can imagine. You're not going to find more than a few clubs with better [resources]. We are ready to go and want to go to Super League.
"We want to build a strong community-based relationship. We have sponsors and loads of kids on board - and their parents coming. So we are going to work hard to grow futsal in this region and hopefully we are going to see the English players coming through in the next couple of years.
"The main target is not necessarily going to be viewed as having the strongest squad in the country and winning the league. If we go next season into Super League, we are going to play every game to win. But our focus is a long-term plan to be sustainable.
"My personal aim and target as a coach, and as someone that works for futsal in England, is to develop players. I want York to be a factory of players."
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari