Rossington Main’s Jordan Wildey is celebrating a yes-vote from Scotland after earning a call-up to their new national futsal squad.
The 20-year-old goalkeeper - who is eligible for Scotland through his father - is part of a 26-man party preparing for their first ever European Championships qualifying campaign.
Despite currently suffering from a foot injury, Wildey hopes to feature in two forthcoming friendlies before the squad is whittled down again prior to the start of Scotland’s UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 qualifying programme in January.
“It was a real honour to get the call from Scotland,” said Wildey, of Rossington.
“There were around 100 players at the initial trial so I was delighted to get through.
“I felt really proud - although it was slightly strange being the only one without a Scottish accent!”
Wildey was introduced to futsal - a five-a-side variant of football which is played with a smaller ball to put more emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique - as part of his BTEC studies with Sheffield United’s Community Foundation.
Now studying Sport Development and Coaching at Sheffield Hallam University, he says the sport has changed his life after admitting he went “slightly off track” after being released from Doncaster Rovers’ junior ranks.
“I’m not totally sure futsal will take off,” admitted Wildey.
“A lot of coaches are against it and prefer tried and tested, old-fashioned methods.
“But I really hope it does. It’s had a really big impact on my life.
“I’ve played futsal for the last few years and I prefer it to football to be honest.
“Obviously football is my main sport but I do prefer playing futsal.
“It’s a very fast game and it definitely improves your technique.
“Even as a goalkeeper, it’s helped my game and my technique enormously.
“I feel more comfortable with the ball at my feet and I play a lot more outfield now when we do five-a-side at Main.
“I’ve encouraged the younger lads at Rossington to take it up.
“If it wasn’t for futsal I probably wouldn’t be at university now,” he added.
“I’ve learned a lot from playing the game and it’s given me a real interest in coaching.”
Scotland have been drawn in a Euro 2016 qualifying group containing Sweden, Israel and Armenia.
The preliminary round will be held from January 13-18.
Jordan’s father Andrew Cowe, goalkeeping coach at Rossington Main, said: “As you can imagine, at Northern Counties East League level we don’t see too many international call-ups, even if it is in a different version of the game.
“So it’s a huge honour for the club as well as the village generally.
“Much credit must go to Rossington Main and Sheffield United for their coaching and development of Jordan.”