This year we have been reporting on the emergence of the US Women’s National Team for beach soccer. In 2017, it was the first time our organization became aware of a push by FIFA to produce more women’s teams and with Beach Soccer Worldwide’s particular interest in seeing the United States produce a team. Now two years later not only have we produced a national team which competed for the first time together in El Salvador winning two games and losing one but competed this past week at the ANOC World Beach Games facing some of the best teams in the world.
The team coached by former USMNT Captain for beach Francis Farberoff knows his way around the sand pitch. Farberoff was captain of the men’s team during their most successful stretch from 2005-2008. When as a country we won two CONCACAF Championships and narrowly missed a top-two finish in 2008. In the sport of beach soccer, he was particularly remembered as captain in a game against Iran at a very difficult moment in our history as he exchanged banners and flowers with their captain as a sign of peace and community among the beach soccer world.
Since that time he took his knowledge to a small local club in the Miami suburbs and created his organization called Futsal Beach Soccer Club, or better known at FBS. This club is recognized as one of the fastest improving organizations in the South Florida United Youth Soccer Association which is the largest league in the state. He incorporated beach soccer, futsal, and grass to expedite the improvement of his players and it is seen in the results. Currently, he is also the assistant coach to the US Men’s Beach Team which will be heading back to only its second World Cup appearance in the bi-annual event since 2007 when he was captain.
Now as a different sort of captain steering the ship of the US team he has worked with those who know the women’s pool to piece together the beginnings of something which will inevitably be very special very fast for the United States. A majority of the team at this time inevitably comes from both Northern and Southern California where there has been a push for the past two years by our organization and others with the knowledge of what was coming. NorCal BSC based in the San Francisco Bay Area and Shoreline based in southern California contributes more than half of the current roster which competed in the ANOC Games.
As a team, they faced Russia, England, and Paraguay in group play. Russia has the FIFA World Player of the year and is ranked in the top three teams in the World. Whereas England who did not compete due to financial reasons last year were the European Champions and eventual Semi-Finalists at the games. In the end, they took 3rd place in their group and learned valuable lessons about how to approach the game and where their level needs to reach. The final was Spain vs. England with Spain taking home the Gold Medal. It was a truly eye-opening and amazing experience for our ladies.
Players from the NorCal team include Jeane Sunsari-Warp, Kilee Quigley, and Paxton Scott. The former quit her Division 2 soccer experience because of the love for the game and at 19 years old has already played in a Euro Cup Final for Portsmouth, England last year. Shoreline also has a triple threat with highflying Lauren “Fly” Leslie, Bethany Hayes, and goalkeeper Christine Yount. Sunsari-Warp, who played in the last two European Championships, Scott, and Elizabeth Eastman, currently living in Switzerland, are the only three members with true international experience before these two events. That being said, we are sure players like Samantha Witteman (SoCal & UC Berkeley), Meghan Wharton, who captained both events, (Columbus, OH) will have raised the eyes of many teams looking for impact players next summer at Euro’s.
When asked; What kind of impact did this experience have on your soccer career and the future of the US Women’s National team, Quigley responded “This was an amazing experience. We competed against the best in the world. The team has been working hard, but we now know what it is going to take for us to beat the best in the world. Amongst our teams, there is so much respect for the game and the growth for not only ourselves but for future generations as well”.
It is exciting to know most of these players will be in attendance on December 6th-8th playing for their respective teams in the US Beach Soccer National Championship. We are very excited about the prospects to come for these ladies and proud to be part of their development. Let it be known, FIFA & Beach Soccer Worldwide said, “This was the Year of the Woman” and we saw the USWNT win a World Cup in tremendous fashion and saw the introduction of our long-awaited women’s beach team. I think FIFA and BSWW got it right in regards to our fandom!