It has been quite the year with all tournaments and beach soccer matches cancelled, but that does not mean it has kept athletes from training on their own. Hopefully, many have enjoyed watching rematches while games have been put on pause. And as fun as it is to watch matches and pick out your favorite athlete, it is even better to get the opportunity to learn a little more about the athletes we like to watch play and look up to. Pro-Am had the opportunity to chat with beach soccer star Ali Hall. Ali comes from Chicago and has lots of experience playing and coaching soccer as she has played it her whole life. We find out what playing beach soccer has been like for her and how it has evolved over the years and her contribution to growing the sport.
When did you start playing beach soccer? What age?
I started playing beach soccer when I was 26
What made you want to start playing beach soccer?
It looked like a fun way to play soccer, so I tried it, and ended up really loving it. It brings out different techniques within the game of soccer that are fun to play with. Beach soccer also carries its own culture and atmosphere that I enjoy being part of and around.
How many different teams have you played for? Who?
Eclipse Select Soccer club, Chicago
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
How many years prior to sand did you play grass soccer?
I played grass soccer since I was 7 years old. I have played my entire life
What is your training like? How often do you practice?
Trainings consist of getting as many touches as possible, and fitness with and without the ball. We work on going to goal often, and our consistency on hitting the ball on frame- our footwork in the sand with and without the ball. We try to get as many touches on the ball as possible while creating as many game like situations through our training.
What skills do beach soccer help transfer over to grass soccer?
Beach soccer demands composed clean touches to create success, in the air, on an uneasy ground and with different parts of your body- This helps in the grass game by diversifying your strengths with different parts of your body and being better with handling balls out of the air and creating out of those situations.
How would you describe your years playing beach soccer?
They have been very fun and more competitive as the years have gone on. It used to be little tournaments we went to and now we are all training to play at the highest level of the game. It has been awesome watching the sport grow and being part of that.
How do you prepare yourself for a game?
Drink a lot of water. Listen to some good tunes to get my heart going and visualize what I want to do in the game.
What is your favorite beach soccer memory?
Going to Turkey with my NorCal BSC soccer team. Playing in our first stadium game in the tournament was really memorable- the energy, people, competition.
How has beach soccer evolved over the years in your eyes?
It has evolved immensely. There are teams forming all around the USA. Interest has peaked – Competition is getting greater. There is now a Women’s beach national team for the USA. There are huge steps being made within this sport, and it’s been exciting to watch.
How was your experience with BSWW (Beach Soccer Worldwide Beach) in the Beach Soccer Talks?
It was a cool experience to talk to people from all around the world about a sport we all love and connecting in that way.
What tournament has been your favorite experience and why?
Alanya, Turkey. It was our first international tournament -we got to see the top beach soccer players in the world, play. We also got to compete against some of the best competitors in the sport.
What is your favorite memory with Norcal BSC?
Going to Turkey to play in our first international tournament.
You coach for MVLA? Do you train them on the beach?
Yes, I do train my girls on the beach. We try to get our on Sundays whenever we can.
What inspired you to create Kali Beach?
What inspired the idea was the love for the game, and wanting to grow it within our youth. We also see the benefits that the beach game can have for the grass player when it comes to touch, fitness, speed, agility, and balance. We want to give another outlet of soccer to gain an even deeper set of skills within the game.
Beach soccer is an awesome sport, great atmosphere and competitive. We want to spread this to the youth and continue to build the competition throughout the ages.
Do you have any advice for young girls who are looking to play beach soccer?
Get your toes in the sand, get a couple teammates, bring a ball and the game will speak for itself. It is a great time, especially in the climate of our country, to get on the sand with some fresh air and kick the ball around. Find games and watch them, see what the sport is all about! There is now a Women’s national team, so if young ladies want to work to be a beach soccer player, they can now be working to play for the USA in the future!
What do you look forward to most when things start to go back to normal?PLAYING.
By: Lauren Shaw