Happy Holidays to Everyone! As we wind down from 2018 and ramp up for 2019 we are excited about the things to come. These coming weeks and months we should be seeing some amazing developments coming to the world of beach soccer. FIFA’s celebration of the game will have a lot to celebrate in the new year as new events around the world and hopeful announcements of new teams will make for transformative news for the sport!
The year will start off with beach soccer being featured once again at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago. Tighe O’Sullivan will be taking a step forward from last year’s “Beach Soccer 101” to present “The Benefits of Sand for Grass Players & the 2019 US Beach Soccer National Championship”. “This is another big step forward for the sport and once again a great honor being recognized as someone adding value to this innovative sport”, explained O’Sullivan. The focus will be tackling the myths of coaches who give any number of reasons why they do not expose their players as well as showing how you can expose your players to these developmental tools which expedite learning without even needing a beach. The session will take place on Saturday, January 12th,
Also, although still rumor, and not totally confirmed, we should see the introduction of the US Women’s Beach Soccer National Team. This is something many in the country are anticipating to happen in conjunction with the Association of Olympic National Committee (ANOC) World Beach Games taking place in San Diego, California starting on October 9th, 2019 World Beach Games. The World Beach Games will feature 17 Sport Disciplines with beach soccer being one of the highlights as they will erect an amazing stadium to house the competition.
But, almost as exciting is the announcement by Beach Soccer World Wide about their new competition to feature as a sort of Confederations Cup-style event as part of our favorite Oceanside, Beach Soccer Championships National Qualifier. TheBeSoCha event will be hosting BSWW’s “California Beach Soccer Cup” on the weekend of May 4th & 5th. The teams have not been announced, but it will feature 4 nationals teams for the men’s and women’s as well as all the 200+ youth teams which have frequented this event for the last 10 years. This is the moment we are anticipating the US Women’s National team to debut, but as we said, we are waiting for US Soccer to make the move, but considering we are the host nation we can only hope we are one of them. To track the latest check out BSWW’s page: California Beach Soccer Cup.
The week after the May event in Oceanside all eyes will move to Mexico as it has been announced it will be the place of the 2019 CONCACAF Qualifier. The qualifier is anticipated to take place in Puerto Vallarta will most likely mark the largest participation of national teams in our region. Each team will be vying for one of the top spots to join the best each continent has to offer at the 2019 Beach Soccer World Cup to take place in Paraguay in November. Besides the host nation and based on the African Cup of Nation’s results the CONCACAF teams will be joining Cameroon and Nigeria in Paraguay.
2019 will also see the birth of the US Beach Soccer National Championship. The bids for host cities are out and being evaluated and this announcement should come by the end of January. Last year after the United Soccer Coaches conference there was a push by the youth state associations to see it happen in 2018, but it was a bridge too far as Pro-Am Beach Soccer, Beach Soccer Championships, and Boston Beach Soccer simply didn’t have enough time or venues in place to make it a reality for the competition to be run and participated in at the level the organizers considered a success.
The positive side of this all finalists in 2018 have already earned their spot in this year’s competition based on their results. There are nearly 50 teams already qualified and this year we have seen the Beach Bum’s of Florida who do events at Singer Island & Pompano Beach, Sand Soccer Storm of New Jersey, as well as several other events currently in talks with USBSNC to add a multitude of opportunities. The only difference we have heard so far are the only teams which qualify automatically in 2019 will be the champions of the 13u-19u, men’s, women, and coed divisions. All runner-ups will still have a chance of applying as a Wildcard, but unlike last year they will not qualify automatically.
Another big announcement for 2019 is what will be the first-ever qualifier in a completely landlocked state which does not have a”Great Lake”. Fuzzy Soccer based out of Colorado in association with Pro-Am Beach Soccer will be hosting a tournament in Ogallala, Nebraska! Yes, Nebraska, you heard that correctly. It will be on an amazing beach located on Lake McConaughy. We are excited about this endeavor as it continues to be our goal to see beach soccer having a venue in every state in the country eventually.
For Pro-Am Beach Soccer their season will begin with a non-qualifying event in San Francisco on April 20th. This one-day event will be the day before Easter Sunday, so most youth teams will have the weekend free to explore their options and getting their feet in the sand. Qualification tournaments will begin in May with the Oceanside event and continue through the end of summer. For more information about a qualifier near you please check out the USBSNC page at US Beach Soccer NationalChampionship.