Pro-Am Beach soccer has come a long way since the last history blog posted back in 2016. So, let’s go back and see just how far PABS has come. Reference the last one here to catch up https://proambeachsoccer.net/beach-soccer-history/. The organization is “motivated by shared values that we live by as a company and as individuals,” as stated in the mission. The goal is to grow beach soccer and reach all ages and communities, bring joy and excitement to the game, and build partnerships and relationships. With all that in mind, PABS has had continued success with expanding and growing the tournaments over the years.
In 2016, Pro-Am hosted five tournaments, and the number has since grown each year. They introduced the 1st Annual South Florida Classic in April of 2016. In 2017, they hosted the 2nd Annual Pompano Beach Classic in which Futsal Beach Soccer Football Club (FBS) dominated, taking every division. This came with the help of coach Frances Farberoff, assistant USMNT coach at the time. Mr. Farberoff, in 2020, has now been named the full-time head coach of both the men’s and women’s US National teams. SK Sunblazer gave FBS a run for their money and made for a very exciting Semi-Final game in the U15 category. The focus of this tournament was to address the importance of exposing youth to playing in different modes in different environments.
The start of 2017 kicked off with the Singapore Beach Soccer National Championship. The two leading teams of the prestigious Cosmo League SCC (Singapore Cricket Club) and SG Vikings faced each other while international teams NorCal from California faced Chapecoense, which was a mixed team of the defending Singapore Champion “The Dorsett Boy’s” and other very talented players including from the SG National Team.
In the final SCC & Chapecoense went back and forth scoring brilliant attacks and showing they could make the transition to the sand. While Chapecoense seemed to be the better organized in regards to shape and beach skills it was the precision shooting of SCC which in the end built a lead which could not be caught. It was a brilliant match!
In February 2018, Pro-Am Beach Soccer hosted the first-ever Beach Soccer education session at the United Coaches Convention in Philadelphia. The seminar was called “Beach Soccer 101” and was sponsored by the United States Youth Soccer Association. This was monumental in the fact it brought awareness to the importance of beach soccer as a tool to develop the youth. The presentation included many different reasons youth benefit from beach soccer as well as what a 2 hour progressive technical/tactical session could look like in the sand.
A couple of months later in May, PABS saw themselves in Bali for the Bali Beach Soccer International Championship. In 2018, it was the first time they held the tournament in Badung, having moved from a more secluded Sanur, and was a huge success as many tourist eyes were drawn to the tournament. The tournament consisted of 10 teams and 24 matches with the consolation and final both going into overtime. The teams that stood out at this tournament were Ganas FC, Tanjung, and Putra Pahlawan. Ganas FC ended up prevailing over Tanjung in OT. The MVP of the tournament went to Ganas FC’s METRAJAYA.
Moving to July of 2018, Pro-Am had the privilege of hosting the 1st Annual Atlantic City Tournament. This event brought together over 30 teams ready to compete to be the best on the sand. This also was the beginning of the Atlantic City “ACES” FC, a National Premier Soccer League team, playing in the sand in our tournaments. They dominated the adult category while clubs from all over New Jersey and New York competed in the youth brackets.
At the beginning of 2019, PABS hosted another Seminar at the United Coaches Convention held in Chicago. The session was titled “Benefits of Sand for Grass Players”. This again exposed beach soccer through the largest soccer organization for coaches and youth players. The momentum and networking which took place really opened the eyes to the barriers and the massive opportunities to be seen coming in the future.
The Windy City Qualifier was brought to Illinois in July 2019 where rain almost kept the tournament from moving forward. PABS partnered with the Lions Club, one of the disadvantaged youth clubs in Chicago. And a little over a week before the tournament was to be held, they informed Pro-Am that the beach was underwater. In desperation, they reached out to almost every beach to check availability just 10 days out from the event. They lucked out and were able to get the event moved to the city of Waukegan just days before it was to be held.
On the first day, however, games were cut short due to rain and lightning in the area. There was a concern that the beach would be flooded but the city and David Motley had everything under control. They went in the next morning, pumped the water, and moved sand to raise the level of the beach. The crew’s hard work and the city saved the beach and the tournament!
This brings us to December 2019 in San Diego, California! The US Beach National Soccer Championship! Bringing teams from northern & southern California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Virginia beach, Canada, and the Bahamas made this first annual event spectacular. The tournament had national team players on the men and women’s side of the game. They included players from England, Netherlands, El Salvador, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. This was also the first time a tournament like this provided a woman’s cash prize equivalent to the men anywhere in the world. Through rain, sun, and hard play, everyone came out enjoying the weekend which saw over half of the adult matches and a few youth matches live-streamed worldwide.
COVID has definitely seen a halt to the momentum of the events, but we see major news coming in 2021 as negotiations for expanding further both domestic and internationally are coming together. COVID has given the organization time to focus on other pieces they have wanted to see more organized. The websites have had an overhaul, we have seen improvements in social media, as well as preparing to add new features like the return of the Bingo type game called Ringo as well as new podcasts to be seen coming in September and October of 2020.
One thing which should be mentioned is the nearing two-decade relationship with the University of San Francisco Masters in Sports Management program. For nearly 20 years USF has worked with PABS to establish opportunities for internships in a variety of arenas from operations, social media, sponsorship, and even broadcasting as seen from the coming podcasts. We are honored and proud to have this long-lasting partnership with such an amazing program.
Now we look forward to a vaccine and a new state of normalcy which hopefully will sooner than later have us back on the beach with our communities sharing the joy of running, jumping, and striking the ball in the sand. We all miss it, and soon we will all see you again in 2021.