Manchester Futsal Club can confirm that Ilya Ovechkin has retired from playing futsal.
The Russian-born co-founder of Manchester Futsal Club will bring the curtain down on a glittering career that has spanned for 12 years including four trophies, as well as 136 goals wearing the famous Blue shirt.
Ovechkin will not be leaving Manchester as he will be playing an instrumental role in Manchester Futsal Club as one of the Directors of the club.
The veteran admits that it was a tough decision but insists that he needs to make way for the talented players in our Youth Programme.
Explaining his decision, Ovechkin said: “After playing for the last 12 years I felt that this year was my last year playing in the national league. It has been a great journey since we start playing in the league in 2008. I have been lucky enough to experience the game from the very start and was young to actually play and enjoy the game that we all love and so passionate about.
“We’ve had some fantastic games and battles over the years that will always live in the memory playing for the first team. The experience playing for the first team has been unbelievable – we have travelled the world, met some great people over the last 12 years and the game has grown massively in England since I have started playing.
“We have been working hard on and off the court to ensure that the club has a future in the game. The Youth programme has been instrumental and key focus for the last 5 years and I feel that I can now confidently step aside from the court as we have some talented players from the youth teams coming up and I can't wait to help them to develop further.
“I would like to thank you all the players that I have played with over the years and their contribution to the club has been unbelievable. It has been a great pleasure to meet so many top players that has come up against us in the league.
“I am sure I will miss playing the game at some point, but our job is now to ensure that the next generation can carry the flag and we can provide the players with even better opportunities and experiences in the game.”
Ovechkin will be remembered for captaining the side that won the FA Futsal Cup in 2011 and going out as a three-time National League North champion.