When most Australians think of soccer, it begins and ends with the A-League. But there’s a growing enthusiasm for the football spinoff, futsal, and the even tighter game, panna football. We sat down with Australia’s biggest futsal name, Daniel Cappellaro, aka D10, for a chat about futsal, FIFA Street, and what makes him tick.

EFTM: How did you get to be an unlockable character in FIFA Street?

D10: I basically got involved with this through Paul from Trick Star Football, who asked me to send in a photo and a video. About a week after that he told me I was going to be in FIFA Street 4. When I found that out I was stoked; I was over the moon. I went through a period of time after that where I was unsure whether I would be in the game or not, because such a long time had passed – I found out five months ago – so I’ve been holding onto it and just waiting to tell someone. You know I’ve been so excited about it, but it’s really cool.

EFTM: When did you start doing the tricks?

D10: I’ve always loved Brazilian football. I love Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldino… Always love players who can dribble and have skills. So when I was younger, I always used to practice skills. But then I got to the age where I went onto YouTube and saw futsal, street soccer, those types of things, and I found something different. And when I saw the moves that these boys were doing in Holland or the streets of Brazil, Spain I thought “Wow, I want to learn that”. So I started taking the videos, putting them into movie maker and slowing them down and I started learning the moves.

EFTM: Was it a conscious decision that this is where you wanted to go with your career?

D10: No. This was never a conscious decision. I’ve always wanted to be a professional footballer, but obviously it’s no easy task to become a professional footballer. So I played futsal, and I started the street thing just as a training tool, as practice, and it just went from there. I got sponsorship – I’m now sponsored by Pele Sports – I got recognition through this game, work with Paul with superstar football. I do more street football things, but I still play outdoor football as well.

EFTM: How is the futsal game in Australia?

D10: Yeah, we have a Futsalroos, which is like the Socceroos. I think they competed in the last world cup, and also competed in the last Asian Cup. The level here in Sydney and in Melbourne is very high. In Western Australia there are some very good players, but our league is still very young. Our league in WA has started to build, to gain momentum and we’re starting to get recognition everywhere.

EFTM: What would you suggest for people who want to try to improve their skills?

D10: People learn different ways. Some people learn from seeing and watching – I learn by watching – some people learn from reading. So you can read tutorials online, you just have to find them on the net. But the number one thing would be to spend time with the ball. I practice and train approximately two hours a day, and that’s on top of futsal training, squad training, and any other things that we do.

EFTM: What other training do you do?

D10: I do a lot of plyometrics – there’s a lot of sprint training, short and sharp, explosive training. I go running, go to the gym, everything. But I’m definitely most happiest when I’m with the ball.

EFTM: Is there a demand for international futsal players?

D10: I recently got back from Argentina – I spent a month and a half over there, I was playing professional futsal – AMF futsal, which is a little bit different to FIFA rules, but the game is still quite similar. And when I was playing over there, it was an amazing experience that I really loved, and I also spent some time playing in Holland. So there are people who are out there and aware of the skills, and I don’t think it will be too long before Australia is up there with the other nations.

EFTM: What about outside the world of football? What drives you?

D10: I’m like any other guy, basically. I have a great girlfriend, I enjoy movies, going to the beach, swimming… I enjoy all sports really. But football is one of my main loves.

EFTM: Where do you go from here?

D10: I’m not sure. This is all a very new experience for me. I’m hoping that this kind of promotion, and being in the EA Sports FIFA Street can hopefully lift my PR to a level I’ve never experienced before, and you’d hope to say that the sky’s the limit. You never know.