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Stefano the Futsal coach

This coach stands behind his team every step of the way, towards Futsal world champions.

Stefano is passionate both about playing soccer and coaching others how to do it. Motivating his national team to keep performing world-class Futsal* makes him feel alive. And he is certain they will be number one in the world someday.

Playing soccer has always been important to Stefano Federico, ever since he was a child. And he knew already from the start that he would play for as many years as he could, and then move on to coaching others.

A few years ago Stefano therefore started as an assisting coach for a Futsal team of deaf players. Being deaf himself was definitely an advantage, for both Stefano and the players.

“The biggest difference being on a deaf team is that we don’t have to deal with all the shouting and disturbing noises going on around the field,” says Stefano and smiles. “We don’t get distracted that way and can stay much more focused. All players have close eye contact with each other and the coach, constantly using sign language. It gets very intense and to the point.”

Eventually Stefano got a team on his own to be the primary coach of, and today he has reached all the way to coach Germany’s deaf women’s national Futsal team.

“We have so many talented players, but the opportunities are limited. There is not as much money and sponsors as soccer for people without disabilities. I hope one day we will get the same possibilities in this sport as people who are not deaf have,” says Stefano.

The thing he is most passionate about when it comes to coaching is to stand on the side line and motivate the players to bring everything to the game.

“What we have practiced during training, my theories and plans, come to life on that field. When the team is successful I feel successful too.”

Stefano has coached men in soccer before and finds it very different to coach women. But he had a preconception of what it would be like. 

“I thought there would be many conflicts and that women wouldn’t be as strong as men on the field. But I was totally wrong! My impression now is that women players can handle much more. They also take criticism very neutral and see it as a chance to develop, and ask themselves ‘how can we as a team solve this together?’.”

The national Futsal team he is coaching is very successful, ranked as number 2 in Europe. But for Stefano, this is not enough.

“We have a huge potential as a team. I know we can become number one! The next opportunity to show our skills is in the Futsal World Championships in Switzerland in November this year.”

When Stefano is not coaching the deaf women’s national Futsal team towards success, he works in the assembly line in Rastatt, Germany, building operating tables.

“I am proud to work at a company where I in the long run am part of saving people’s lives.”

As Stefano is both working at Getinge, coaching the team and still plays soccer himself, there are things he needs to sacrifice. Such as vacation and weekends.

“With the support from my family I can handle it. Because having hobbies and taking on challenges is very important to me, it makes me feel free and works as good contrast to my everyday life. It also clears my head and brings new perspectives.”

But right now Stefano’s mind is fixed on the Futsal World Championships.

“It will be tough, tougher than before. For example Brazil and Iran will show up with very strong teams. But I am confident we haven’t reached our limit. We will become number one someday.”

 

*Futsal is an indoor soccer variant and acknowledged by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The origins of the name are the Portuguese term futebol de salão and the Spanish term fútbol sala (‚indoor soccer‘).