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Student led futsal team goes from university campus course to national and international competition

By Basti Mueller

A photo of the Swans at their last home game in Rheinische Post, the local paper. Photo by to Julia Zasada

Most universities have at least one sport that makes staff and students proud. Among the broad athletic potential, the most notable for Hochschule Rhein-Waal (HSRW) is the university’s Futsal team, the Swans.

Andrej Kornelsen, an HSRW alumni created the futsal course as a student in 2013 as an addition to the HSRW sports programme. Then, in 2015, he turned the course into the HSRW Kleve futsal team. With their recent success this season, reaching the second place in the Niederrhein Regional League, Kornelsen says that the Swans want to reach for more in the upcoming season.

“A second place only fuels the motivation for the new season starting in September 2018, for both Men’s and Women’s futsal,” Kornelsen said.

The first few losses in the beginning of the season cost them a lot, says Kornelsen.

It bothers his teammates and him to have missed their chance for higher league advancement by an inch, but it is still the highest achievement for the relatively young HSRW Futsal Department. The first place would have meant a promotion to the Futsal League West competing with teams like Cologne, Fortuna Düsseldorf or Wuppertaler SV.

This May, the Swans ended the season with a solid 10 to 4 win against Fortuna Düsseldorf 2. The team captain, Peyibomi Amusat broke the ice with the first goal.

Amusat is an HSRW Economics and Finance student from Nigeria who has been on the team since the beginning.

“What I am proud of is what we were able to achieve and compete with,”Amusat said.

He says that he remembers a lot of good memories, such as playing in the 2016 National Futsal Championship Finals in Tübingen, or the recent quarterfinal game against the Black Panthers Bielefeld of the Futsal League West.

Most importantly, Amusat says, is to get the interest of the university. He says that in the past, the university did not really take an interest in the team.

“Now, the teams are able to use the university’s van for away games, and we are equipped with fitted jerseys, thanks to Hochschulsport,” Amusat said. “It is an honor to represent the university and it is great to play at home in front of our supporters.”

Among the crowd of the last home game was a scout for the German National University Futsal team, Georg von Coelln, also the founder of the first Futsal Club in Germany. He was visiting HSRW futsal because of two players: Arne Zitzke, a Sustainable Tourism student and Marvin Toulon, an International Relations student.

According to Kornelsen, both players have been asked to join the national team. If Zitzke and Toulon are elected, they will represent Germany in the Student University Futsal World Cup in Kazakhstan in mid-August.

“[A Nomination is] a pretty big thing,” said Toulon, who played his last game for HSRW Futsal that day. “We are not [nominated] yet, but it’s an honor to be elected.”

Toulon says that he is proud of the developments HSRW futsal has made, and he is excited for new players.

Marcus Raeven, a Sustainable Agriculture student, is currently the coach of the female team, the Lady Swans. He says that he is happy about the training participation thus far.

“We are training now to strengthen the basics over the summer,” Raeven said. “We are really looking forward, and are always excited for new people to join our team.”

Noorhan Elbassyony, a Bioengineering student from Egypt, is a beginner at futsal. She just joined the team this semester.

“It is super cool, super fun, and I made friends already,” Noorhan said.

Noorhan’s teammate, Brittanie Bartlett is a Gender and Diversity student from Singapore. Bartlett anticipates that she will get the chance to improve at Futsal and to know her teammates better.

“I hope more girls join, as there is a chance for all the girls who love football as much as we do,” Bartlett said.

This month, the Lady Swans participated in the West German Futsal Championship and placed 7 out of 9 in the tournament. The elimination rounds proved to be difficult, Raeven says.

The Women’s Futsal team trains on Monday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the Men’s team trains on Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Konrad-Adenauer Gymnasium in Kellen. Any student that wishes to join the team can check out the training or contact the HSRW Futsal department via Facebook.

The next big competition for the HSRW Futsal team is the European University Sports Association (EUSA) Games in Portugal from July 19 to 29. The tournament collides with this years’ exam schedule but the Swans are trying to work their way around the exam schedules.

There is a lot of potential in the HSRW Futsal department, says Kornelsen, and even if some players are to leave, both teams are motivated for the new season starting this September. Kornelsen says that he is willing to wear a Swan mascot costume to represent the university on one condition.

“I’ll wear it only if we win the national championship,” Kornelsen said.

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