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Greg Giovenali - Futsalroos: Nurturing Passion, Inspiring Generations

With the commencement of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Futsal Asian Cup in Thailand this week I sit down to reflect on my journey from the fast-paced courts of Dural, Sydney to the coveted arenas of Rome, Italy and to the dazzling heights at the helm of the Futsalroos, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities, challenges, and triumphs that have shaped my career.

Born and raised in Australia, my love for futsal knew no bounds. At the age of 16, I made the bold decision to move to Italy, after a successful trial with the club a few months earlier, I was off to pursue my dream of playing professionally. Joining S.S. Lazio C5 was a pivotal moment in my life, where I immersed myself in the rich futsal culture of Italy and honed my skills both on and off the court.

Captaining the Futsalroos was both an honor and a privilege for 8 years (11 Years as a player in the team). It was a role that demanded not only skill on the court, but also leadership off it. As captain, I often refer to learning from the best that was Lachlan Wright. I strived to inspire my teammates, lead by example, and foster a culture of resilience, determination, accountability and fun. Together, we celebrated victories, overcame setbacks, overachieved countless times in Asian region tournaments, qualified for 2x FIFA Futsal World Cups ( and forged bonds that will last a lifetime. I’m sure Dean Lockhart, my roommate for many years can attests to all the behind closed doors chats we had!

Early Days as Room Mates - we joked as 10-year-olds we would do it - and we DID!

Now, as I transition from player to spectator. My heart swells with immense pride as I watch the next generation of Futsalroos talent take to the court. The upcoming AFC Futsal Cup is a testament to the dedication and determination of our sport as we strive to qualify for another World Cup with minimal funding, education and opportunities bestowed upon our amateur team.

4 years apart - qualifying for 2 x FIFA Futsal World Cups

The journey will be arduous, but I am in full support in the resilience our players. The current Captain SHERVIN ADELI is a player that will get you off your couch in excitement. With the great Peter Spathis (Goalkeeper extraordinaire – see link here: Spath Saves vs Argentina 2008 ( a man, who as captain I would often look to for advice is now part of the coaching staff and I know he will ensure that the players are all giving their best! A quick shout out to the excellent coaches we were lucky to have at the helm like STEVE KNIGHT, ROB VARELA and SCOTT GILLIGAN – who all in their own unique way helped shape Australian futsal for the better! It pains me to not be involved at a playing capacity anymore as my legs grow weary from age, I am of the belief however that our futsal niche culture can lean on myself and other former players to offer words of wisdom, knowledge and expertise to future camps and programs.

One player, in particular, holds a special place in my heart – my brother, Wade Giovenali. Wearing the number 6 jersey, he embodies the spirit and tenacity of the Futsalroos. Seeing him don the green and gold fills me with immense pride and nostalgia of our time together on the court. His journey mirrors my own in many ways, but his ceiling is so much higher than mine ever could have been, and I have no doubt that he will make invaluable contributions to the team and help guide this team to another World Cup to be held later this year! I also was lucky enough to play with my other brother RHYS GIOVENALI for Australia, but we were never lucky enough to all play together! 

Celebrating Wades First goal for Australia together

As I pen (or should I say type!) these words, I am reminded of the legacy I leave behind with my colleagues from the years we spent together – a legacy of passion, leadership, accountability, and camaraderie.

My time as a professional futsal player may have come to an end, but my love for the game and the memories I've created will endure forever. I hope that those players currently involved take a moment to step back and appreciate the position they are in as, like many of the ex-players will tell you, it goes by very fast and you’ll miss it when its gone! If it’s for 1 tour, 10 tours, 1 minute on the court or 10 – just be grateful as so many others would love and have done everything they could to be in your position!

To my teammates, coaches, and supporters – thank you for being a part of this incredible journey. As we embark on the next chapter of Futsalroos history, I encourage everyone to tune in and support our first game this Wednesday night, at 7pm AEST time -

Let's go, Futsalroos!

Celebrating the goal to get us into the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup with my brother and 2 mates i grew up playing with! Daine Merrin and Bully.

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