With two current and six former Loughborough players, seven of them alumni or current students, Loughborough remain one of the pillars of England's pathway into international futsal. The Loughborough educated players conform the largest contingent in the National Team that have travelled to Latvia, for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Qualifiers with the National Team. England are second seeded after the hosts Latvia, in a group also made up of Gibraltar and Cyprus. If England finish in the top 2, they would make history, reaching the Main Qualifying round for the first time. Our boys have shared some of their thoughts (scroll to see the testimonies).
Will Rooke Loughborough's captain
Myself and the rest of the team are extremely excited for Latvia. Talking to some of the boys, we are saying we have never felt as confident going into an England game before. I trust every player in the squad will do their job and if we do the basics right we have the chance to be going into our last game with six points. Qualification would mean facing either Italy or Portugal which would definitely be the highlight of my career!
Nathan Davis Loughborough student
I am obviously very happy to be part of the squad travelling to Latvia. It’s my first World Cup experience so will be a privilege for me at my age, which will help me develop me as a player, but obviously the nerves playing in such a big tournament come with it. But I’m feeling confident and ready to help the team. The boys have put in so much work over the last couple of months to prepare for this and we are looking good. We are going into the group as favourites as we are the highest ranked but we shouldn’t let that get to us, stick to the plan and focus on performance. Obviously it'd be unbelievable to qualify and face either Portugal and Italy as they’re both top quality ranked teams.
James Webb Loughborough alumnus
The mood has been great amongst the squad. Everybody seems confident and our preparation has been serious. We’ve met up quite a lot over the past couple of months and we seem ready. We actually have an experienced squad. Wallace and Agon are back, Cooke still around with Dougy and Raoni, and then everyone else has now been here for some time. It’s good timing for us to be aiming for a qualification... and two teams qualify from our group. We would all love to have the chance to play Portugal or Italy in October, and this is by far the best chance we have had in a long time, if not ever. I can’t remember such a chance in my time with the squad. And I am really excited on a personal level too. I think I have always been quite shy and not fully expressing what I can do for England, and I can’t wait to be a part of this. I’ve had a really good start to the season. I got a slight injury a few weeks ago that has stopped me from playing but I should be fine for the week, and I want to play so badly that it will be. I am looking forward to this week. We can do it and then spend the rest of the season and summering preparing for the next round hopefully! We actually have the quality to do it, that’s for sure.
Calvin Dickson Loughborough alumnus
I think the last year has been a very positive one for the team. We’ve had some tough fixtures against some top nations. I feel we have learnt some important lessons that we can carry into the upcoming games.This is my first proper qualifying I have been involved in and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. We’re very well prepared and really want to perform to the level we believe we can.
Dylan Malpas Loughborough alumnus
Everything is so positive at the moment and it's the best I believe we have prepared for a tournament collectively and as individuals. Expectations are we believe we should qualify. Great honour to represent my country and be part of this great group of individuals on and off the court. It's hard work and a lot of commitment balancing futsal and life commitments but wearing that shirt for you country makes it all worth while.
Mark Croft Loughborough alumnus
We have been preparing ourselves for this tournament for the last two years now. I’m confident we will be able to get the job done! We’re not really concentrating on where the other teams will finish, as long as we put in 100% and concentrate on performing at our best then we will do well.
Russell Goldstein Loughborough alumnus
The mood before Latvia is good, we’ve been prepping for 2 years for this. On a personal note I’ve been rehabilitated for 3 months so I’m ready to go and the hunger and desire you have when watching games makes you want it more.Our expectations are to qualify and it would mean the world to me to play either Portugal or Italy. It’s always a privilege to play for England and the honour I feel ever time I go on court is incredible. To share these experiences with your team mates always is a privilege and it’s good to know we share the same common goal which is to qualify.