The 2nd Annual Pompano Beach Classic sponsored by South Florida United Youth Soccer Association took place on April 2nd, 2017. The event ended up with four highly competitive divisions which saw newcomers and already veteran clubs take to the beach and battle to be number one in South Florida.
The FBSFC, aka Futsal Beach Soccer Football Club, were challenged at times, but it was clear they had the edge having trained under the experience of current USMNT assistant coach Frances Farberoff. That being said, SK Sunblazer gave us one of the best games of the day in the U15 category in the Semi-Final against FBS. Several lead changes, a set piece bike kick, and several quality goals saw FBS through, but the effort and continuous pressure by SK Sunblazer makes for future possibilities of excellence.
SK Sunblazer is run by Bobby Pinto. If anyone who remembers the Golden Age of beach soccer in south Florida they will recall the Dannon Yogurt Beach Soccer Series which toured all over Florida giving them their first taste of beach soccer. Mr. Pinto was at the heart of this and clearly understands the benefits of playing and training in the beach for his players. You could hear him throughout the game encouraging his players stating, “You just have to shoot…goals will come if you shoot”, giving them confidence to take on the defending champions from Virginia Beach in 2016.
In the end, FBS took first in every division. While we are very happy for FBS we all hope as an organization this will be different in events which follow. With SK Sunblazer and the single team from Weston who came we saw clearly they are only a few steps behind. They can catch up quickly. VP of Competitions, Jeff Kurzner, stated, “It’s clear to see how FBSFC has improved as a club by exposing their players to other modes of play…all their teams have improved dramatically the last few years”. We will wait to see who will challenge them in the next SFUYSA event.
One thing which has been realized at this second event in South Florida is the teams have many choices in a very crowded market of competition. But, in addition to this, it was brought up by, too many to ignore, the coaching population of South Florida doesn’t know how to coach beach soccer, so they avoid it. In a day where competition, and rankings are so critical for professional youth coaches, the thought repeated is they stay away from exposing themselves in an environment which may benefit their players, but possibly not themselves.
Granted this is a perception, and although by many, we would hope in this day and age people will begin to understand the benefits of exposure to different modes of ball manipulation. Whether Futsal, Freestyle games/contests among themselves, Small sided tournaments, beach soccer, or even footvolley, all of these have different gifts of skill and ball mastery which cannot be found in a 1000 rounds of Rondo’s or the emphais in Tikki Takka.
Let’s be honest in regards to the art of ball manipulation. 4,000 touches, these days emphasizing keeping the ball on the pitch will never truly make fully advance players in this day and age. The walls of professional youth coaches put on players and the limitation we put on their creativity are mounting more than more. No one will deny this, but as a coach, who has the courage to reach for new levels exposing their players to how to play with the ball in the air? Who has the vision to realize it’s not about the stats in GotSoccer and rather about the development of the player, and not their team status, so they can get a better team or club in the future.
It doesn’t matter what part of the country you are in we are all having the same conversation about the future players to represent our country. Cony Constantine located out in Portland, Oregon is a massive believer in futsal. Mr. Constantine continuously preaches, “Even though the game of futsal is a sophisticated one. The essence of futsal is street-ball. Street-ball is the missing ingredient towards naturally developing our next future football or futsal stars”. He believes beach soccer is another element to help in the progression.
So, the question remains. If we all recognize this, and we all believe this is true as we cannot deny. What will it take for coaches to expose their players to more modes of ball manipulation? Will it take a National Championship at the youth level? This is an intriguing idea isn’t it? Then there is something for all these ultra competitive coaches to reach for, but is that really necessary? It may just happen whether necessary or not.
As a current professional youth coach with over 25 years experience coaching at ODP, State, and even USMNT for both grass and beach it is clear to me. The players whom I have had who played street-ball in the winter wet months, beach in the spring and summer, and grass all year round, are the ones who have developed into the best balanced players. For the most part statistically they are also the ones who have never burned out.
As Mr. Constantine states,” This isn’t rocket science. We are not building the next spaceship to Pluto… It’s simple. It takes a round ball, a slab of concrete, a few lines, a couple of goalpost and people” for futsal. You need even less for the beach… so get out there and have some fun exposing your kids and see them work harder than you ever imagined.