Broken Hill’s Futsal Hero

David Bearman

Broken Hill local David Bearman has been recognised for more than four decades of involvement in futsal, with the Under 13 Boys National Championships trophy now named after him.

From his beginnings as a player in Broken Hill from 1981 to becoming a coach and manager even to this day, Mr Bearman has done plenty for the sport locally, both at a state and national level. To be honoured in this way for all his work within the game did come as a shock to him.

“It’s certainly not an honour that I thought would ever come. It’s certainly nothing that I was working towards either. It actually floored me for a couple of days, and I got quite a bit emotional about it,” he told the Barrier Truth.

“It’s just surreal that you’re honoured in that form. I’ve seen it plenty of times with other people in different sports and industries, but to actually have it happen to you is pretty special.”

When indoor soccer was starting to build among YMCAs across Australia, then-Manager of the Broken Hill YMCA, Neil Nelson, loved the sport so much that at one stage, some 120 teams competed throughout the year. In 1982, the second-ever National Championships would be held in Broken Hill.

“We’d only been playing indoor soccer for 12 months at that stage. It seemed to light the fire in the belly of Broken Hill people, and after that they just really took to the game. Neil had created this real community atmosphere at the YMCA at the time, really inclusive, and people just flocked there to play”, Mr Bearman said.

With no less than two Broken Hill locals picked for Australian teams directly from the 1982 event – Steve Sliwka and Andrea Holmes – to tour overseas, Mr Bearman says it made others even hungrier to do better so they too could be afforded those opportunities.

“A few of us went a few times, missed out a couple of times, and it just seemed to make us work a little bit harder when we got home. I mean, how often does someone in Broken Hill get a chance to play for your country?” he said.

“I think all up we’ve ended up with about eight players play for the national team at some stage. Very few have played multiple times, but they all deserve their space. And again, it was all credited to the atmosphere and what Neil was able to create at the ‘Y’. He supported us all and helped us train.”

Mr Bearman’s first Australian tour would come in Under 18s, heading to Holland and England. Following the trip and post-Year 12 is where his career would springboard though. Offered a contract to play at Adelaide City in the then-National Soccer League, he postponed the offer for 12 months.

On a tour to Japan the year after, he contacted players and coaches from Queensland who he learnt had some players pull out of the upcoming National Championships and when it didn’t look like Broken Hill would send a team, Mr Bearman accepted their offer to play. It transpired into playing in a start-up futsal state league where he never really looked back.

Having played for Queensland on more than 200 occasions and winning numerous titles, trophies, and championships, to coaching men’s, women’s and youth state teams and being State Director of Coaching, there’s not a lot that Mr Bearman hasn’t done. Despite travelling to all corners of the globe, Broken Hill is still home, hoping to still make an impact on futsal here in years to come, too.

“We all have those connections and that love and that passion for the game. Hopefully as Broken Hill’s population builds in the next couple of years, we can see some of these things starting to come back,” he says.

“But this game, the sport gave me so much that I felt that there was a need to give a little bit back. I’ve been to 16 tours as a player or a coach, one is a proud parent, and hopefully I’ve got a few more to go. I’ve got to see the world, meet some great people. I’m genuinely blessed, and now just to have this honour, I’m chuffed.”

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