Te Awamutu player makes NZ Futsal team
Law and commerce student Tessa Leong is preparing to represent New Zealand in the fastest growing sport in New Zealand — Futsal.
The 19 year old from Te Awamutu is one of nine University of Auckland students selected to play at the World University Futsal Championship, being held in August in the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan.
It will be her second World Championships after competing in Brazil in 2016.
“Last year we were competitive but didn’t quite get some of the results we wanted but I am confident in our ability to improve on this and show the world what New Zealand can do,” says Leong.
Leong is already an accomplished football player. She recently returned to New Zealand from a year-long football scholarship at Indiana State University in the United States, before deciding to transition to Futsal.
“Futsal is very fastpaced and technical. It includes all the aspects of football that I love, such as skill, creativity and intensity.”
Futsal is a form of football, usually played on an indoor court with five-aside players, and is particularly popular within University sporting tournaments.
New Zealand is sending a men’s and women’s team to the worlds, both led by the coaches of the University of Auckland teams — Marvin Eakins and Nic Downes.
So far 24 nations have confirmed their registration for the 2018 FISU World University Futsal Championship including Brazil, China, Spain, France, Germany and the United States.
“I am looking forward to playing against some of the world’s best and I am beyond excited for the challenge,” says Leong.
Her team will take part in intensive training camps at the University of Auckland in July and early August before departing for Kazakhstan on August 16.
The competition is selffunded and Leong is seeking sponsorship, having so far received a $1000 grant from the University of Auckland’s Sport Support Fund.