The month of March is Women’s History Month and Pro-Am Beach Soccer would not have the community that it does today without the incredible contributions of countless women over the years. We have taken the opportunity to highlight a few of the Pro-Am Beach Soccer alumnae who were willing to share their fond memories of their experiences.
What is one of your favorite memories from playing with Pro-Am Beach Soccer?
Every player has a different moment that they turn to when they think about their history with beach soccer. For former player Luisa Meza, her favorite memory was winning the Pro-Am Beach Soccer Tournament with her teammates in 2018 in Santa Cruz. Having spent time overseas playing in the Euro Cup prior, she appreciated the opportunity to return home and experience success with the newly formed NorCal BSC team. Lauren Leslie is another Pro-Am alumna who remembers a pivotal win when her team took home the trophy at the US Beach Soccer Championship in San Diego in 2019.
For Jeane Sunseri-Warp, she mentioned her fondness for the Pro-Am Tournament that took place in San Diego where she, “met some of my current National Team teammates, a tournament that grew the spark in me to work harder, learn more, and just be better to compete at the next level.”
How and in what ways are you staying connected with the soccer/beach soccer community?
One of the things that Pro-Am Beach Soccer prides itself on is our ability to grow relationships and strengthen the beach soccer community through tournaments, teams, and events. Many of the former players remain connected not only to the people they played with, but to the community and the mission as a whole. Leslie stays in touch with a lot of her former teammates through social media and training, while contributing to the overall soccer community by playing for the Women’s UPSL League. Sunseri-Warp also continues to play actively as she is part of the US Women’s Beach Soccer National Team and NorCal BSC Women’s Beach Soccer. For Kilee Quigley, she has put her focus on strengthening the beach soccer youth by holding sessions to, “teach them speed, agility, balance, coordination, and the basic fundamentals of the game.”
What was one of the most valuable lessons you learned from playing soccer?
Sports have the unique ability to teach transferable skills to athletes that can be brought into their everyday lives well after they have hung up the cleats and left the pitch. For these women, there was no shortage of lessons learned from their years in the beach soccer community. For Quigley, the importance of being a strong leader and role model for those around her is something that she carries with her to this day. Leslie mentioned that the tenants of how to be a good teammate and treat others with respect is one of the lessons she valued the most from her time with beach soccer because being a good teammate can transfer over to different kinds of teams. Patience and persistence were lessons that Meza walked away with because they can be applied to both on and off field situations.
What is something you hope to see in the future of Pro-Am Beach Soccer or beach soccer in general?
With what these alumnae shared about their experiences, it’s clear that the Pro-Am Beach Soccer community is something they are invested in and value, therefore the future of beach soccer is important to them as well. Each of the women shared their thoughts on what they want to see from the game in the future. For Sunseri-Warp, she hopes that the game will continue to recruit international teams for the purpose of furthering the game’s popularity. She also hopes to one day see a Women’s Beach Soccer World Cup, and for the sport to be officially recognized at the Olympics. Meza hopes that the growth and development of women’s beach soccer will be prioritized going forward, with a specific focus on youth development. For Leslie, she wants to see more options for beach soccer across the states including more tournaments and leagues.
The beach soccer community would look nothing like what it does today if it were not for women. With an emphasis on the youth development of the game and expanding the community across the world, beach soccer has a bright future with these women at the forefront.