FEATURE: The Foundations of a Successful Futsal Organization: ElPozo Murcia Fútbol Sala
Updated: Nov 30, 2019
Washington, DC - May 22, 2019 | ElPozo Murcia Fútbol Sala
Welcome to the Region of Murcia, Spain.
We are thrilled to highlight ElPozo Murcia Fútbol Sala in this Pivot Futsal feature article. Massive thank you to ElPozo Murcia F.S. General Manager, Francisco "Fran" Serrejón, and Media Manager, Carmen Riansares, in our recent interview to showcase the vision of the club. Building off our recent Pivot Futsal article on Liga Nacional de Futbol Salon (LNFS), we take the opportunity to dive in behind the scenes with one of the top teams within LNFS and among the global elite.
History & Success of the First Team
As we publish this feature article, ElPozo Murcia F.S. has earned themselves a place in the 2019 semi-final of the LNFS playoffs after finishing the LNFS regular season in 2nd place and advancing in the quarter-final past Aspil Vidal Riberra Navarra F.S.
The club celebrates its 30th anniversary competing in LNFS and globally this 2018-19 season. Having lifted the Spanish League Division Title 5 times (‘94, ‘06, ‘07, ‘09 & ‘10), Spanish Cup 4 times (‘95, ‘03, ‘08 & ‘10), Spanish Super Cup 6 times (‘95, ‘06, ‘09, ‘12, ‘14 & ‘16), and the Spanish King’s Cup twice (‘16 & ‘17), it’s clear there is a dedication from club leadership in identifying, producing, and cultivating top players to assemble an elite team for all competitions.
“ElPozo Murcia F.S. is built to compete and win titles. Our biggest goals are to win the European Futsal Cup and the LNFS league title,” says Francisco Serrejón, General Manager of ElPozo Murcia F.S. and former captain of the first team.
Head trainer Diego Giustozzi, captain Miguelin, and the club have the opportunity to make history as they face Jaen Paraíso Interior F.S. in the LNFS playoff semi-final - a best of 3 game series kicking off on May 25th, June 1st and June 4th. Should ElPozo be victorious, they will find themselves in the LNFS Final matched up against the winner of the other semi-final, F.C. Barcelona Lassa F.S. and Palma Futsal.
Further on the horizon, the club is also preparing for the 2019 Intercontinental Futsal Cup - an international Futsal tournament featuring the top club teams in the world (although the tournament has seen some recent debate on official FIFA affiliation and associated structure). All the same, the tournament will be highly competitive with top teams representing nearly all confederations.
Foundation of the Club: The Academy
Beyond the most visible success of the ElPozo Murcia F.S. first team, central to the organization’s values lies the dedication to the Academy and community along with the commitment by corporate sponsors and partners. The front office team is focused on this holistic, strategic approach to fuel the pathway for rising players and long-term vision of the club.
“Our success is thanks to the solid support of Fuertes’ Family who manage Grupo Fuertes Holding and ElPozo Alimentación (ElPozo food), main sponsor of the club,” details Francisco Serrejón, General Manager of ElPozo Murcia F.S.
“But the strongest foundation and our biggest difference compared to other clubs is the direction and philosophy within our Academy.”
ElPozo Murcia F.S. has designed a deliberate pathway and vision for their Academy to best prepare players for professional competition. The Academy consists of 8 male age groups (first team, reserve team, juvenil - U19, cadete - U16, infantil - U14, alevin - U12, benjamin - U10 and pre-benjamin - U8) ranging from under 8 years old up to the men’s first team - all of which are arguably provided the best Futsal education in Spain.
Led by first team trainer, Diego Giustozzi, who holds extensive coaching and playing background - most notably, leading the 2016 Argentina National Futsal Team to a World Futsal Cup Championship as head coach.
“Academy players receive the highest level of training and education starting at the youngest age groups thanks to the elite coaching staff and the Academy president, Miguel Sánchez, who lives for Futsal,” details Fran Serrejón. “We host trials for each team through U-14, and we also have a team of scouts to help to define the squads. At the top of pathway, ElPozo Murcia F.S. invests in the club’s first team and reserve team which all players within the club work toward.”
The reserve team is comprised of, in its majority, players from the Academy with 2 or 3 recruits from other teams (ie. Kazuya Shimizu, Japan U21 international, and Altamirano, Argentina international who arrived to ElPozo Murcia F.S. during the winter market).
Fran Serrejón adds, “In analyzing the first team, seven players have been developed within our academy mixed with relevant Brazilian and Spanish Futsal players. Two of our actual players were born in Murcia.”
There is a great amount of purpose and significance within the ElPozo Murcia F.S. to support a long-term vision for the Academy and ultimately, provide a path that the youngest players can strive for.
“One of the most important things for us is the work and education with the youth. More than 200 children work daily with us and we try to teach them all the principles that we consider they have to have in order to aim to the first team. Without that, the First team would have no meaning.”
In December 2019, the club is set to host the 2019 ElPozo International Futsal Tournament - a competitive club Futsal tournament for elite youth teams aged U10-U19. The club prides itself in providing advanced opportunities for Academy teams/players to expose them to top competition across the globe.
Murcia Futsal Culture
The club clearly aims to allocate the necessary resources for the first team and Academy to strive meet their objectives. In addition, ElPozo Murcia F.S. also has a deliberate emphasis in presenting a dynamic, inclusive Futsal culture for all fans and community stakeholders.
“Everybody in Murcia knows ElPozo Murcia F.S. and one way or another, feels identified with the club. There are a lot of schools in Murcia that practice Futsal as an extracurricular activity, as well as many local Futsal clubs that work hard to build a love for Futsal for their players,” says Carmen Riansares, ElPozo Murcia F.S. Media Manager.
Further, the front office staff take a close look at the fan experience and surrounding entertainment elements of the sport to maximize every event.
“We have the privilege of having access to Palacio de Deportes de Murcia that seats an audience of up to 7,500. We work every match in order to give the audience a great experience and not only reduced to what happens on the 40 x 20 court during the 40 minute match,” relays Carmen Riansares.
A given ElPozo Murcia F.S. match features community participation, Academy player involvement, marketing activations, and various initiatives to enhance the atmosphere. Significant marketing, communication and outreach efforts are ongoing to encourage the community to come support.
“We work really hard to increase our Club audience and aim to grow each day. Next year, we will be nearing in on 2,000 season-ticket holders,” says Carmen Riansares.
Challenges & the Future of Futsal in Murcia, Spain
Success is in the DNA of ElPozo Murcia F.S. That being said, inherently, there are challenges along the way.
Balancing the priorities of winning, hope and player development. Building lifelong Futsal fans and participants. Competition for eyeballs between Futsal and football (soccer) and other regional popular sports. And the many external variables that are difficult to foresee.
To each of these challenges, Carmen, Fran and their front office team are prepared for the obstacles with a precise vision to move Futsal forward. A few of there anecdotes below.
“The club has high expectations for the first team and reserve team to win titles and trophies every year. While these are ongoing short-term challenges, we remain firm in not compromising the education and inclusion of players developed across the Academy to our first team,” proclaims Fran Serrejón.
In navigating competing sports, Fran Serrejón relayed the following: “We only have respect for each other [Futsal and football/soccer]. We have total harmony with UCAM Murcia (basketball team, ACB league) with whom we share facilities. And with the other city clubs, we try to coincide on schedules at the minimum, although we know sometimes it is impossible.”
With ElPozo Murcia’s 30 year presence in the region at the highest level of competition, it appears the region truly embraces the club as its own. Because of the long-standing tradition, the Murcia region has evolved into one of the most supportive and passionate for the sport of Futsal
“Certainly, the future of Futsal in Spain and for ElPozo Murcia F.S. is quite inspiring. Futsal is gaining more and more relevance and professionalism. In my 20 years with the club, I have seen a little bit of everything but above all, the passionate leaders, competitors and supporters of Futsal stand out during all my time with ElPozo,” says Fran Serrejón.
FRANCISCO SERREJÓN, ELPOZO MURCIA FS, General Manager
Francisco Serrejón leads business and team operations for ElPozo Murcia FS with the primary objective to provide the club with the structure, resources and vision to be successful. Serrejón holds many years of Futsal experience in the front office and as a player competing with the Spanish National team & captain of ElPozo Murcia in the early 00’s/90’s.
CARMEN RIANSARES, ELPOZO MURCIA FS, Media Manager
Carmen Riansares oversees media, communications and public relations efforts for ElPozo Murcia FS. Carmen holds a core focus on building the club brand and collaborating with all stakeholders to maintain top-tier media operations. Carmen works very closely with President - Miguel Sanchez, General Manager - Francisco Serrejón, and all players within the club.
MARK WYSOCKI, PIVOT FUTSAL, Founder & Chief Editor
Mark Wysocki is an accomplished sports business & Futsal professional with 10+ years in the sports industry supporting some of the world’s leading corporate brands and rising small businesses. Wysocki has been very connected to the Futsal community over the years across the United States & internationally as a consultant, professional Futsal player, program director, strategist, coach, and advocate of the sport.