2020, what can anyone say about a year which will go in infamy? One which destroyed businesses, families, and so many things which we will not spend time discussing in this year of reflection. As we approached the holidays there was a relief with vaccines and many other changes seen as positive for the coming year. Whereas this year was a disaster in regards to producing events and growing the sport it did have some implications which opened new doors. We will see the expansion of events and the growth of beach soccer in 2021.
On a personal note, I was blessed early in 2020 with the birth of my first child. My baby girl came out of the womb kicking and I am sure, as active as she is, she will be part of our beach community for decades to come. If there is any single positive thing Covid19 did for my family is the fact I did not travel the +80k by plane, trains, and automobiles. It allowed me to be the best father I could. It put on hold the nannies and child care which we had predicted since I was grounded. It is a blessing I do not take lightly.
In regards to Pro-Am Beach Soccer and the US Beach Soccer National Championship, we obviously did not have a single event. That said, the work has never stopped. If there was a second positive, to all this craziness, it’s in the fact the SF Bay Area did not have a single professional franchise offering any internships. Now, of course, I would have loved to have my favorite teams playing, but that’s not the point being made.
We have had a relationship with the Master Degree in Sports Management with the University of San Francisco closing in on nearly two decades. It has provided over the years mostly ‘day of event staff’ with the occasional diamond in the rough who would work with us on a consistent basis out of our offices just down the street. This year between USF and other interns across the country we have never had less than a dozen people working remotely.
It has allowed us to really make things easier with social media, sponsorship, web design, and all other aspects we deal with on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. We have had the chance to work with wonderful people, albeit remotely, to achieve the goals of the future. It has personally given me the time to develop better relationships in new markets which we have been toying with the last several years.
We have formed new relationships which will be announced more formally next month as they are formalized. But, an example is with Wisconsin Rush. This organization has clubs in Kenosha, Elk Horn, Geneva Lakes, and LaCrosse. In addition, Chicago Rush will be supporting their efforts as they bring beach soccer into their clubs for training as well as the event we will partner with them in Two Rivers. We are excited because with these clubs coming together, as a collective, we have no doubt Wisconsin will finally get the event they deserve with the opportunity to truly grow the sport there.
In addition, we have established a solid relationship with the Real Salt Lake Academy, as our partner, in an event that will take place in Tempe, Arizona. This is exciting as their Director of Coaching has ties to the events he used to participate in in Florida. He is a believer in the sand as a developmental tool. We are sure his teams will see the benefits once Covid19 limitations are lifted. He is highly motivated to start getting their toes in the sand.
Tempe as an event in a landlocked area goes further to prove Eric Cantona’s words, “It not about the beach, but about the sand…”.
These two examples are the beginning of several more we will be rolling out in the coming weeks and months. It is clear with Covid19, organizations are making changes, in the way they approach things. We have found some who are stalling and being very cautious, but just as many, if not more, seeing the potential and wanting more for their players and clubs.
We could very well see an explosion of events across the country over the next few years. As an outdoor event, being small-sided, and highly technical, the events of beach soccer lend something unique. It is not only an accelerant to player development, but also creates a shift in thinking for the spring and summer months when fewer players/coaches are available.
As an organization, we will continue to live our mission and do our best to provide high-quality opportunities for playing beach soccer. We work with what we have and are grateful to those of you who have reached out during the year to check in on us. We see you and know how much you care about us and the growth of this sport! We are honored to know you and either work with you or provide you the avenue to the enjoyment we share on the beach.
May everyone have a wonderful holiday season and a brilliant New Year! We cannot wait to get past this nightmare of a year and find a sense of normality and share the good times and great memories and experiences just around the corner. Take care everyone and see you on the beach soon!
Yours on the Beach,
Pro-Am Beach Soccer
US Beach Soccer National Championships