Volunteer of the month: Thomas Aarnes

Text: Nora Amanda Hveding
Foto: NTNUI Fustal, Iris Natten Frydenlund, Leonie Richarz, Thomas Karlsen

Foto: privat

In NTNUI’s column “Volunteer of the Month,” you get to meet a selection of dedicated volunteers at NTNUI who contribute invaluable efforts. In November, you will meet the Futsal coach, Thomas Aarnes.

I meet Thomas one Saturday afternoon after the Futsal team has played a match. He is very passionate and friendly, despite the fact that the game didn’t go quite as planned.

How nice that you want to meet us! Would you like to tel us a bit about yourself?

I’m Thomas Aarnes, 26 years old, originally from Nordmøre. I came to Trondheim in 2019 and have been a part of NTNUI for a full 4 years now. I already hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology and am currently in my second year of studying for a teaching degree in geography. You could say I’ve made a long-term investment in the club.

Yes, truly a long-term investment. But how did you end up here?

It was actually a bit random, which is strange to think about because I enjoy Trondheim so much now. I lived in Kristiansand for a while, but moved up here following my girlfriend, who is now my fiancée. I got involved in futsal pretty much right away when I arrived. I’ve been playing futsal since high school, so I was interested in continuing with it. At that time, futsal wasn’t as popular, so I also joined the football team.

Thomas has put in tremendous effort as the coach for the men’s futsal team. He has also taken coaching mentorship courses and is involved in training future futsal coaches. Thomas is a skilled leader with extensive futsal knowledge and excellent pedagogical skills. This has contributed to making NTNUI one of the best futsal teams in the country!

Leader of NTNUI Futsal Øyvind Vie

For those who may not know, what is futsal?

t’s quite similar to football, but the main difference is that we play indoors on a handball court with handball goals instead of a full-size field. The futsal season starts in the winter after the football season is over and lasts until spring. We also play with 4 outfield players and a goalkeeper, and we use a different ball that doesn’t bounce as much. Last year, we were promoted to Eliteserien, which has opened up many new opportunities for us to travel for games and receive support from sponsors.

Futsal is growing in popularity both in Norway and globally
Foto: Iris Natten Frydenlund/NTNUI Blits

Why did you choose to get involved in volunteering?

It was probably like for most people; I was asked to take on a small role, and it just grew from there. After my first year, the coach was stepping down, so he asked me and another person if we wanted to work as assistant coaches, which was very exciting as I had many ideas and thoughts I wanted to try out. As I got more responsibility, I wanted to make more of it, so I started searching on YouTube to find some tips and tricks we could try out in training. Eventually, the responsibilities piled up, making it challenging to juggle both football and futsal. So, I decided to fully commit to futsal.”

I’ve also taken the grassroots coaching course, where you train grassroots coaches in futsal. Even though I initially thought I would be the one receiving the training, I ended up suddenly becoming a course facilitator. The more I learn, the more I want to be involved in futsal, and to continue working towards achieving good results.

Foto: Leonie Richarz/NTNUI Blits

Why did you choose to become a coach, and what motivates you in your job?

A significant part of my motivation comes from the social environment of the club. We have around 30 players (one team in the Eliteserien and another in the second division), so we have become very close and good friends. It is very rewarding to see the players working together with commitment and interest to achieve the same goals. As a coach, it’s enjoyable to witness development, to see that the many hours spent each day are yielding results in matches and practices. From struggling in the first division in Trondheim to competing in the Eliteserien, making significant progress in cup competitions, and advancing to the European Championship, it’s clear that as a team, we have undergone significant development. Seeing that the players are as passionate as I am, even when it comes to tactics, motivates me even more to work hard as a coach.

What’s the next step within NTNUI, do you have any further plans for the team?

Since we are already at the highest level we can be, with participation limits set by events like the European Universities Games, playing in the Eliteserien, and competing in the Norwegian Championship, winning the Eliteserien would be an incredible experience as it could lead to participation in the Champions League. I believe the most important aspect is to build a strong culture within the team and with the management, something that can be carried forward after those currently in leadership positions step down. A crucial part of the club is the supporting team, which dedicates a significant amount of time to the club beyond training and matches.

As we have taken on larger roles with our promotion, the next step will be to establish a solid administrative system that functions well, allowing us to focus 100% on the sporting aspects. Educating future coaches is also crucial to maintain the quality of what we do.

Player-coach Thomas Aarnes, with his unwavering motivation, passion for futsal, and commitment to the team’s best interests and continuous development, is the true guiding star for the team. He is currently pursuing a UEFA B License in Finland and deserves the highest commendation for taking the team to new heights.

Via Eliteserien Futsal Instagram

You have one million to spend freely in NTNUI, what do you use it for?

Then I would probably use it to cover our travel budget, which is a significant expense for us, leading us to engage in quite a bit of fundraising. Generally, I would use it to cover team expenses so that we can pursue the sport, attend matches and tournaments without burdening individuals’ wallets.

Do you have many travels per year?

We have planned three trips to Oslo, one trip to Bodø, one trip to Sortland-Tromsø. All of this requires a lot of funds and additional expenses with taxis to and from the airport. In addition, we have the Norwegian Championship in Drammen and the European Championship in Hungary next summer.

What do you think about being nominated as “ildsjel”

Very nice, always enjoyable to receive praise for something one spends so much time on! I think we are good at taking care of each other and highlighting those on the team who put in extra effort. There are so many who contribute a lot and deserve to receive this recognition.

Foto: Thomas Karlsen

If you didn’t have a position in NTNUI, where would you prefer to be involved?

I’m not sure, the more free time I have, the more it goes into futsal! So I don’t have much free time aside from my teaching studies, my job at Værnes, and substituting at a secondary school in Tiller.

Best memory with NTNUI? 

When we won Student lekene last year, it was absolutely incredible. It was also the former coach’s final wish and big dream, so it’s a bit teasing in his honor. But still, a significant moment for us. During SL, the entire team gets to participate; there’s no need to select players to join or not, so that makes it even more enjoyable.

I have never experienced anything similar, in terms of unity and achievement, on a team and within a club like NTNUI.

– Thomas Aarnes

Who would you be on a deserted island with? Why?

It’s difficult to choose since I believe everyone on the team could do well, but I might choose Nils Utsi, a hands-on person whom I think would manage well!

Rowing’s tights or devil’s hat?

We’ve already played with the devil’s hat in the final of the University Games this year, so I’ll go for that one!

Volunteer of the Month” is a regular column created by the promotional team in collaboration with photographers from NTNUI Blits. Do you know an “ildsjeler” in NTNUI? Tip us at: blits-promo@ntnui.no