NOT ALL battles take place on the court

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Since the inception of ProFutsal's Academy 5 years ago, to our surprise, many players are still in our Academy or have progressed to our first team, a great feat for the club and testament to the coaches and infrastructure in place that players have enjoyed and continued to develop.

A year after the academy was born, the ProFutsal first team was created to provide a beacon for players to aspire to play for and create a fully fledged pathway. This first team has created motivation, drive and focus for youth players and much like the academy, the first team has developed very quickly to be one of the leading teams and therefore clubs in England.

One player in particular, Oliver Kaye (Ollie), has been at Pro since its inception 5 years ago as a young and very small U11 player. Technically strong, but physically quite weak for his age, what stood out and transformed in his first season in the academy was his intelligence and adaptiveness in training and game-related situations.

Many would argue that as much as futsal provides a setting whereby skill & technical capacity are necessities to be able to excel at the game, decision-making is as if not more important. However, a component of the game that is vastly overlooked is the intelligence of a player without the ball. There are many factors and determinants of what makes someone good without the ball, but I am going to focus on 2 key areas;

  1. Out of possession defending (intensity and technical body positioning to protect passing lines and win the ball)

  2. Movement when team is in possession (both selfless and selfish moving)

Ollie dinking the keeper in a first team pre-match warm-up when he was U12!

Ollie Kaye is undoubtedly one of the strongest youth players in England we have seen without the ball. His cleverness to create space for himself selfishly and selflessly is extremely intelligent as he has a knack for exploiting space based on a number of principles that seems so effortless. He understands what the opponent is thinking, he understands if a teammate has time or is in trouble and changes his decision and how his body is showing to get the best possible outcome for the team - this is hard to teach, or let me rephrase that, it is very hard to learn.

"Ollie is one of the brightest prospects, he is so young but so mature for his age"

This coupled with his defending intensity and body shape if he is the direct defender pressing the ball, makes Ollie one of the most accomplished young players, not just at Pro, but in the country. But his talents off the ball, do not finish there, he reads the game to snuff out the danger. Specifically, he can cover a teammate based on how dangerous the decision is, he can block multiple passing lines with his body shape and his ability to swing his hip, and if he gets it wrong, he is set-up to recover and defend the next phase - a joy to watch.

Ollie working hard in the #SaveFutsal event at Westway - which the U16s won

"There is quite a lot of stigma around stoma bags so I want to reassure others going through it,"

Unfortunately, Ollie's life took a really negative turn at the start of 2020 He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in January and had his colon removed in June. "There are not many people my age who speak out about this and a lot of people judge others," Ollie has commented. "So if someone is going through this I wanted to give them the confidence that it's not the end of the world."

Oliver was initially given medication to treat the inflammatory bowel disease but after he fell more seriously ill, he underwent surgery at St Mark's Hospital in London.

"There is quite a lot of stigma around stoma bags so I want to reassure others going through it," he said. Oliver said when he found out he would have to undergo surgery, he "was pretty scared as it was the last resort". But when he looked online for other people who had been through a similar procedure, he "was reassured they were doing well and living life".

Since the operation, Ollie has been back in training from September, post lockdown 1 and has looked in fantastic shape. He was part of the ProFutsal U16 squad that won the #SaveFutsal event at Westway. ProFutsal's Director Jon Kurrant believes "Ollie is one of the brightest prospects, he is so young but so mature for his age and we cannot wait to give him the opportunities when we return to some kind of normality in 2021 - he has a very bright future ahead."

Ollie epitomises on and off the court what it is to be a Pro player - he attacks on and off the ball and is most definitely one of the hardest workers in the room in every area of his life, it is an absolute pleasure to have you back!

Follow Ollie on insta: @thekidwithabag

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