To become a professional footballer is the dream of millions around the world, yet so few make the grade to be paid to play the sport they love. For Alex Hastings, AFA’s new coaching director for the Ipswich and Districts area, he has already lived that dream; across 3 continents.
The 27-year-old from Brisbane was educated at Cleveland State School and Cavendish Road High before moving to the USA to pursue a college soccer scholarship. He harnessed his skills at Otero College Colorado and Central Connecticut State University resulting in his selection for the ‘All American’ college soccer team in 2015.
Alex was then rewarded with a professional contract for Spanish Third Division side, CD Almunecar. He spent 3 years in Spain before returning to Australia in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although an incredibly gifted footballer, as told by his impressive footballing CV, Alex developed an affinity with Futsal whilst abroad. He coached for Orange County Academy Futsal in the US and played recreational futsal when in Spain. His coaching talents extend beyond the court and onto the field as he has coached CD Almunecar Under-23s as well as Western Pride’s under-23s in Australia.
Alex spoke to us about his journey as a Futsal coach:
“With COVID happening when I was in Spain, I actually jumped back to the US to be with my partner who is a nurse. So, while I was there, I was coaching Futsal in Connecticut. I just kept getting pushed along to coach more and more Futsal, so I really ignited a passion for it.
“It wasn’t to coach the elites; it was more coaching younger kids coming into it. When you see the younger generation enjoying it, it really puts a nice perspective on it by inspiring the next generation coming through.
“I’m 27 years of age now, I probably won’t play much higher, so I think it’s about giving back, you know. What I learned growing up I want to pass on to the next generation. I love working with kids, I enjoy their energy, although sometimes they can have a little bit too much energy!”
Alex also shared how this opportunity with AFA arose:
“Covid brought me back, I got to know the right people, you know, word of mouth. I got a job working with Western Pride, one of the local teams. The guy who was president of the club, Patrick Boyle, I coached his under-23s and I will probably be playing for his first team next season, he liked the way I managed the team and the young players. He said ‘Look, there’s this position, I really want to recommend you, but I won’t give it to you, you will need go to for an interview.'
“So, I met up with Allister for interview and he liked the way I spoke and the way I saw Futsal. One thing leads to another and now I am here, now I can’t wait to really start branching out, I’m looking forward to it.
Finally, Alex explained his vision for Futsal in the Ipswich and district area. He said:
“For me, I want to bring Futsal to a wider variety. So, by really looking at the younger kids and really introduce them to Futsal. I want to bring it to the schools and really invite them to tournaments. We have so many great tournaments, so it would be great to see schools involved.
“Football is a big programme, but Futsal should also be recognised at the same time. I think my ability to connect with kids is going to be a big asset for AFA.”