2018 was a year to remember and forget, but never forget in regards to beach soccer.  It was a year where the sport saw tremendous highs and lows domestically and internationally.  We saw new opportunities arise and some of our most beloved disappear with creations and failures across the board.

It started out wonderfully as beach soccer was introduced at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia #unitedcoaches.  Sponsored by US Youth Soccer Association (USYS) #usysa the word on the street was they would be sanctioning a new competition named the US Beach Soccer National Championship (USBSNC).  USYS head of competitions, Angie Eliason, was instructed by the association to contact us at Pro-Am Beach Soccer (PABS) and eight months into 2017 the proposal was submitted and the waiting game started for the higher-ups to rubber stamp the competition for 2018.  But, let’s just say the decision maker never opened the email and we had written off the event leading up to the presentation in Philadelphia.

At the convention, I was given the honor of presenting for the first time beach soccer as a tool to create a quicker more advanced skilled grass player through the introduction of beach soccer as a developmental opportunity.  The presentation focused on rules, the method of play, with a decent amount creating a single 90-minute progressive training session for advancing skill development for both youth and adult soccer players.  The session was attended by several executive directors and decision makers from many state associations who pressed us not to wait for USYS and to return to the USBSNC for 2018.  We were elated by the enthusiasm which included some of the largest associations in the country pushing us and sanctioning our events to the ultimate opportunity to grow the sport.

It ended up being both a blessing and curse for our company.  Let us put it this way.  How many people who have been involved in events would ever want to try and produce a new event with no actual site in place and only 5-6 months to pull it all together.  If it was one event, sure, maybe, but this enthusiasm had us attempting four new events all over the country.  Although the state associations in each case sanctioned the events without true boots on the ground it was going to take perfect precision with almost no barriers to make it happen in a successful manner.

We knew it was going to be very difficult but what we thought would be tremendous support from the associations didn’t quite live up to expectations.  We do not fault them at all or by any means.  It had more to do with the fact there was so little time and so much spent on establishing the sites in reality by the time we were truly able to start promoting we were down to as little as 3 months in some cases.  The precision we needed was attempted, but the barriers from the start clearly made it apparent we were going to struggle to get it off the ground properly.

During this process, the conversation had begun though.  Many events outside of our own were clearly curious and interested in what we were attempting and in most cases full heartedly supporting our efforts.  The first was The Beach Soccer Championship in Oceanside, California.   This event known the world over as one of the hardest and most prominent of all Pro Beach events quickly asked to be part of the USBSNC and continues to work with us to this day to push it forward.  Boston Beach Soccer also jumped on board as we supported their efforts.  In New Jersey, Sand Soccer Storm supported our efforts in Atlantic City, as well as in Florida where the Beach Bums are looking to send teams from their newly assigned qualifiers taking place for 2019 USBSNC.  The conversation has been open to all companies, but those are the leaders in bringing the community together to produce a not for profit national final dream.  The site of the 2019 National’s will be announced in January following the United Soccer Convention once the bidding process for the various cities concludes.

This year also saw one of the international darlings of beach soccer events come to an end.  The Trinidad & Tobago produced by Bago Sports ran into an obstacle which was too great to overcome.  Anyone who has dealt with the islands in the Caribbean may be able to relate to the barrier they faced and ultimately hurt their event.  There was a government change, and when this happens, those who may have supported such a fantastic event are replaced by the new regime who not only have no reference to the joy and wonderful experiences it provides our sports tourism community but they come with new ideas and the determination of putting their own stamp on what will take place.

Personally, I owe a great thanks to the T&T people.  You never really know how much you like people and the magic they produce until it is no longer there.  I also owe them an apology which I am doing publically as they had their backs against the wall last year and we didn’t give them much wiggle room as the event did not live up to anyone’s expectations considering the outright amazing events they had produced in the years before.  When the government makes a move like this which is political it not only hurts the decade of work where they created such an amazing event, but it hurts the sport as we are left with a gap which now we seek to fill.   We will all desperately miss the amazing job that everyone in #bagosports put into creating some of our most memorable beach soccer experiences.  We hope the government or those businesses in T&T will find their way to bring back the event so we can reunite the world over in our beach soccer paradise.

This is just a small taste of the roller coaster of highs and lows for our sport.  We could talk about the amazing American women making an impact in the US & Europe, but we will leave that to the BSWW #bsww article you can find in this months newsletter, or how the Bahamas fell victim to a similar fate as T&T as their government changed just days after the 2017 World Cup seeing those working with us personally were all released and our plans there disappearing in 2018.  But, don’t fret, the sport continues to grow stronger throughout the world.  The 2018 Dubai event once again amazed us all and we look forward to the further growth of the game everywhere.

Next month edition we will be discussing in more detail about the things to come in 2019.  This includes having the opportunity of once again presenting at United Soccer Coaches Convention on January 12th, 2019 in Chicago at 2:30 pm.  This will be an extension onwards from last year’s “Beach Soccer 101” and move into more of an introduction of training and helping coaches understand more tools players will be able to gain by putting their grass players feet in the sand.

Also, news for Wisconsin!  January 13th – 16th, I will be traveling to several different sites to conduct clinics at the various indoor beach volleyball facilities found in a number of different bars/restaurants around the state.  These include Green Bay, Milwaukee, Appleton, as well as Wassau.  If you have interest in participating in any of these clinics reach out to Luis at luis@proambeachsoccer.net to obtain the schedule now being formulated.

#wisconsin #appleton #wassau #milwaukee #beachsoccer #manitowoc #bsww #sandsoccer #chicago #unitedcoaches #usysa #soccer #expert #beachbums #iambeachsoccer #futeboldepraia #santacruz #t&t #bagosports @bagosports @bsww @pabs #pabs @yourbeachsoccer @proambeachsoccer #proambeachsoccer #sanfrancisco #besocha #besocha #oceansideca #oceanside #usbsnc

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