The First Test. Iskra Shines in Alexander Golovin Futsal Cup

An annual tournament founded by the Russian national team player Alexander Golovin kicked off in the Kemerovo region on October 15. It features teams from the towns of Osinniki, Kaltan, Novokuznetsk, and the village of Taizhina. This year, in addition to the regular Molniya team, Taizhina has sent two teams from the children's soccer project Iskra to the tournament.

The children compete in four age groups: 2008–2009, 2010–2011, 2012–2013, and 2014–2015. Iskra is represented by two teams from the two youngest age groups — that's a total of about 30 kids. From the very first games, our young Taizhina players have shown their rivals that they have come prepared. Two wins and two losses is a decent result for the Iskra 14–15 team. 

"For many of the kids, this is the first tournament in their lives. They have never participated in something so large-scale and well-organized. This is an amazing experience for them," says Kirill Nagach, an Iskra coach from Taizhina. "The kids can't wait for the next games. At every training session, they come up to me and ask when we're going to the tournament. Of course, I like seeing the fire in their eyes and their desire to play and grow. It motivates me to help them achieve good results and become better persons."

An Unprecedented Support for Taizhina 

Iskra has a dedicated support group at all tournament games — the parents who have found the time to watch the games from the stands. They have learned the team chant and sing it at every game, sometimes even drowning out the coach's voice. Even Iskra's opponents note the public's love for the team. "This is the first time in four years I’m seeing such support for a team from a small township," says one of the rival team coaches. 

A Rising Star

The Iskra 14–15 forward Denis Pyatkin has had a great start to the tournament, scoring 13 goals in four games. He scored seven goals in the game against the SSh-15 team (8:2 win) and performed a hat-trick in the game against KSSh-14 (4:3 win). Denis also scored three goals against Rodnik-2 (4:3 loss) and two goals against SSh-14 (2:9 loss). Even the rivals noted the eight-year-old player's talent. Here is what one of the parents from an opposing team had to say about Denis: "He's a tall guy, but he tries not to take advantage of his physical strength, even despite his height. He has good technique and tries to use it to outplay his opponents. He doesn't push other athletes and plays very carefully, without aggression. It's a pleasure to watch a player like that." 

The futsal tournament in Kemerovo is still underway — the last games will be played on December 3. Iskra 12–13 has lost two games and still has three games to go. The younger children have only one game left to play, but it's an important one, as it will determine who gets the bronze medal. The game will be held on the last day of the cup. The children are currently training for it while still enjoying the game. We wish all our athletes good luck in their first but very important tournament and learn the chant: "One Spark! Big flame! Victory will only be ours!"