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CONTENTS · BAREFOOT

020

Reviews

Inside Beach Soccer

020 EURO WINNERS CUP Read all about the last European club showdown, in which Kristall upset defending champions SC Braga to equal them on 3 titles, and newcomers BSC Mriya 2006 found the best possible way to start their international beach soccer career.

034 5 TO WATCH (MEN) TV commentator and former Portugal international Rui Delgado picks five men destined to be the beach soccer stars of tomorrow.

028 EURO BEACH SOCCER LEAGUE Portugal clinched their 6th crown in Nazaré, becoming the most successful team in the continental stage. Find out how the 23rd edition of the core competition in the Old Continent unfolded.

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036 5 TO WATCH (WOMEN) Five players that will dominate the women’s international panorama very soon, according to Paula San (Madrid CFF) 040 LAUREN LESLIE Read how the American international embarked upon the journey of a lifetime after seeing the doors to the Euro Winners Cup cruelly shut.


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In this issue... 028

048

Interviews

Features

048 ANAELLE WIARD The 2020 Women’s Euro Winners Cup was full of surprises. One of them was the Belgian football star Anaelle Wiard, who enjoyed her first international beach soccer experience in Nazaré and, without doubt, fell in love with the sport.

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078 CARLOS XAVIER Madjer interviewed the Portuguese ace, his friend and mentor, as well as one of the pioneers of beach soccer in Portugal. In a heart-warming conversation, they recall those first steps as well as Xavier’s professional footballer career.

018 STATS WARS 106 DESTINATION 108 #IAMBEACHSOCCER 110 SHOOTOUT 112 COMING UP BEACHSOCCER.COM I 05


KICKING OFF · BAREFOOT

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eeing the end of 2020 draw closer, it is now absolutely undeniable that the world of sports, and the whole of humanity, have experienced one of the most challenging years we can remember.

Covid-19 has deeply impacted the lives of everybody, and has affected the sporting calendars, with cancellations and postponements following the directives of the national governments and international health authorities.   But we will keep looking to the future with optimism. Because we can. Because sport is ready to overcome this setback, and because our players, coaches and referees have also proved that they know how to adapt to the circumstances and act responsibly to keep the ball rolling. In Nazaré, thanks to the amazing teamwork brought on jointly by the Nazaré Municipality, the FPF and Beach Soccer Worldwide, as well as the amazing attitude and contribution of the teams, we demonstrated that beach soccer events, with all the necessary protocols, are absolutely safe.

C

We are ready, and will keep being ready, to restart competitions as soon as the conditions allow. And to do so in the safest conditions for everybody. Because beach soccer does not stop.

M

Y

In fact, we have already confirmed that, assuming that circumstances with the Cover-19 pandemic are right, we will enjoy the tenth edition of one of our flagship events, the Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup in March 2021. And, working hand in hand with the ever-supportive Dubai Sports Council, we will do it again following all the safety and sanitary measures to have the safest event, minimizing all risks, and enjoying what we love. But this is not the only thing coming in the first months of the coming year...

CM

MY

CY

As a hint of the great new things to come, and our optimism, we have also fully redesigned BAREFOOT: The Beach Soccer Mag, to make it more spectacular, more in-depth to reflect even better what beach soccer is about. It also includes new sections and features, going even deeper into all things beach soccer. We really hope you like it.

CMY

Let’s look forward to a wonderful 2021, in which we will be back on the sand and enjoy terrific competitions, including the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup to take place in Russia.

K

We wish you all a great Christmas and a Happy beach soccer 2021! We are ready to fly. Please stay safe.

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Iñaki Uribarri EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Matthew Mills

GABINO RENALES BSWW Vice-President

DESIGN DIRECTOR Laura Cuscó DESIGN MANAGER Adrian Velado

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PHOTOGRAPHERS Manuel Queimadelos Jose Manuel Álvarez CBSB CONTRIBUTORS Fran Roldán Tighe O’Sullivan Jonathan Herbert Paula Sanz Rui Delgado

SPONSORSHIP Pol Calvet EDITED BY Beach Soccer Worldwide VICE-PRESIDENT Gabino Renales PRESIDENT Joan Cuscó


PUMA Final Available on beachsoccer.com/store


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From a distance

Despite everything, we safely staged not 1, not 2, but 3 beach soccer events in Nazaré in 2020 - and these are the people we have to thank!

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Beach soccer sandwich anyone?

The new PUMA Final is the perfect filling for this beach soccer sandwich at the 2020 Euro Winners Cup.

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Come fly with me!

Spanish Real Münster keeper Jose Carlos Caballero leaps across the sands of Nazaré.

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Throw your boss in the air like you just don’t care!

The victorious Kristall squad celebrate with their coach Angelo Schirinzi on winning their third Euro Winners Cup title.

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Safety first!

Everyone who entered the stadium in Nazaré had to have their temperature taken on arrival – even superstars like Noel Ott!

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FEATURES · BAREFOOT

Stats Wars powered by

FILIPE VS MAURICINHO

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n a brand-new feature, our statisticians have been hard at work combing through the data of the latest beach soccer competitions.

Stats Wars will see two top players go head to head in a battle of numbers. In this edition, we

Filipe

SC BRAGA

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have two international teammates, Brazilians Filipe and Mauricinho, who represented SC Braga and Kristall in the 2020 edition of the Euro Winners Cup. They are also the MVPs of the last two clubs competitions. Let’s see how they match up… (by Fran Roldán).

Mauricinho BSC KRISTALL


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10

12

GOALS

24

28

SHOTS ON TARGET

50

71

SHOT ACCURACY %

13

32

REcoveries

14

6

intereceptions

15

18

balls lost

110

158

passes

98

85

pass ACCURACY %

61

62

DUELS WON

7

6

GAMES PLAYED

18,4

19,5

AVERAGE MINUTES PER GAME

% Pass Accuracy % Passes Missed % Atacks Missed

100

% Pass Accuracy

% Attacks

75

% Passes Missed

% Duels Won

% Atacks Missed

% Balls Lost

25

% Bicycle Kick Goals

% Attacks

75

% Duels Won

% Balls Lost

25

0

0

% Shots on Target

% Bicycle Kicks On Goal

% Shots Blocked

% Recoveries % Missed Bicycle Kicks

% Shots Missed % Bicycle Kicks Blocked

100

50

50

% Bicycle Kick Goals

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% Duels Lost

% Bicycle Kicks On Goal

% Shots on Target

% Shots Blocked

% Recoveries

% Shots Missed % Bicycle Kicks Blocked

% Missed Bicycle Kicks % Duels Lost

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REVIEW · BAREFOOT

A Euro Winners Cu Euro Winners Cup Nazaré 2020

T

he 2020 edition of one of the most anticipated beach soccer events in the calendar had a very different look and feel to it, but that’s not to say it didn’t deliver the same magic as every other year.

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up like no other...

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REVIEW · BAREFOOT

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he recently renamed Estádio do Viveiro Jordan Santos in our beloved Praia da Vila, in Nazaré hosted its first club competitions in the men’s and women’s Euro Winners Cup, just days after seeing the Portuguese national team retain the Euro Beach Soccer League on home sand. With a lower number of participating teams than would have been predicted earlier in the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Euro Winners Cups

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went ahead as an incredible experience for all the people involved, and two new teams now reign over club beach soccer in Europe… The men’s competition In the men’s competition, the last few years have been dominated by two clubs that went into the 2020 edition as many people’s clear favourites. And that was for a reason... In fact, these two sides share six of the last seven titles, having now won three each.

This year, SC Braga (Portugall) and BSC Kristall (Russia) eventually met in a repeat of the 2018 Euro Winners Cup final, but before that, they had to down some of Europe’s biggest clubs to reach the final showdown. In the 2019 edition, a shock elimination for Kristall at the hands of debutant Ukrainian club Euroformat, helped pave the way for SC Braga to claim their third consecutive title. But the Saint Petersburg club weren’t derailed this year, and


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· REVIEW

The final of the 2020 Euro Winners Cup was a tight fight between the two most decorated clubs in Europe.

between them, Braga and Kristall racked up a grand total of 98 goals on parallel unbeaten runs to the final.

The two most decorated sides played their role as favourites First Kristall had to see off their two groupmates Olimpia-Stels (MDA) and Grasshopper CZ (SUI) which they did with an aggregate of 16 goals to two, whi-

le defending champions Braga also cruised to the top of their group with an even more impressive goal difference of 30, having played one match more than their Russian rivals. Angelo Schirinzi’s Kristall then brushed past Beach Team Marseille (FRA), BSC Molniya (UKR) and Marbella (ESP) in the knockout stages, as Braga faced Düsseldorf (GER), Krylia Sovetov (RUS) and then were given a brief scare by Real Münster (GER) – who became the first German team to finish third

in the Euro Winners Cup – in the semi-finals, but turned the match around to confirmed their place in the final for the fourth year running. But it was in the final that a three-year reign over the Old Continent would finally be brought to an end at the hands of an old rival… In little over a minute, the defending champions smashed their way into the lead with a stunning strike from Be Martins that rattled in off the post. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 23


REVIEW · BAREFOOT

Spaniards Marbella and German side Real Munster were two of the sweetest surprises in the competition

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BAREFOOT

It didn’t take long for Kristall to strike back though, as Brazilian Datinha cut inside to slot past countryman Rafa Padilha.

were able to snatch victory, although Filipe Silva came close for Braga in the dying moments of the match.

Braga took the lead again through Bokinha, but Kristall were there once more, as Zharikov converted a dead-ball. Jordan Soares scored his ninth of the campaign to make it 3-2 in the second period, but like clockwork, an equalizer came, this time from the soon-to-becrowned MVP Mauricinho.

The penalty shootout favoured the Russian side this time

At 3-3, as it had been the last time these sides met in the 2018 final, the match increased in intensity, but neither side

After extra time saw no winning goal, history continued to repeat itself, and the match went to penalties. However, unlike last time, SC Braga fell short, as Bokinha saw his penalty saved, Jordan San-

· REVIEW

tos hit the post and Be Martins put his shot wide. Rodrigo’s single converted penalty was enough to reclaim the title for Kristall after a five-year absence as kings of European beach soccer. The MVP award went for Mauricinho, while his fellow Brazilian Rafa Padilha (SC Braga) won the Best Goalkeeper. 2018’s Best Player, Llorenç Gomez, scored an incredible 22 goals to claim the Top Scorer award, just one goal ahead of his Artur Music teammate, Gabriele Gori. The women’s competition In the women’s competition, BEACHSOCCER.COM I 25


REVIEW · BAREFOOT

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the Ukrainian club Mriya 2006 burst onto the European beach soccer scene with a stunning performance in the 2020 edition of the Women’s Euro Winners Cup. Not only was it their first year in the competition, and in the international stage, but they were also the first female Ukrainian team to participate. This was also the case for New Team Brussels, who were the first Belgian side to compete in the Women’s Euro Winners Cup. Day one of the Women’s Euro Winners Cup kicked off with the two debuting sides meeting in a tight match - especially considering that the teams ended the tournament at different ends of the table - where the Ukrainians won by a single goal to kick off their campaign with three points. In the other game on the first day, CFP Caceres (ESP) and Marseille Beach Team (FRA) were involved in an equally tight game, where the Spaniards just managed to match Mriya’s three points with a close 2-1 victory. In a game which saw a lot more goals than their first tie, Caceres put eight goals past their Brussel’s rivals, who managed an impressive five in response late in the second half fo the matc, but the Spanish moved to the top of the table on six points. On the next matchday, it was the turn of the 2018 Euro Winners Cup winners WFC Zvezda (RUS) to join the fray, and they struggled against the wouldbe champions Mriya 2006, in a game in whiuch the Ukrainian side proofed their level again. After the score was tied at 2-2 after extra time, penalties were

· REVIEW

the only option and the Russians held their nerve to snatch a point in their opening match.

Zvezda were unable to find the net and get back on level terms.

Later the same day, Marseille beat New Team Brussels by four goals to two to secure their first win, and deny the Belgian side theirs. The day after, however, a battering from Zvezda, who scored seven goals without the French club managing to find the net once, bagged essential points for the Russians.

The minutes ticked on and the Zvezda attacks became more and more frantic, but still the equaliser eluded them until the final whistle eventually went, and despite the fact that they were unable to clinch the title, the Spanish players celebrated such an important victory over one of Europe’s top clubs as if the title was theirs.

Zvezda repeated their impressive performance in their next match against New Team Brussels, going one better this time to score eight, the biggest win in the 2020 Women’s Euro Winners Cup, while Mriya 2006 kept pace with the marauding Russian by beating Caceres Femenino 4-1.

Mriya 2006 found out they were the champions on the bus on their way to the airport On the final day in Nazaré, Mriya won again, this time downing Marseille by five goals to three, and all they could do was sit and wait for the results of the final match of the competition, which was between Zvezda and Caceres… Mriya 2006 sat at the top of the table on nine points, having lost only one game against Zvezda, who had the opportunity to reclaim the crown they had won in 2018 with a normal or extra time victory against their Spanish rivals in their last game. But things didn’t go as planned for Kanaev’s side, as Maria Herrero struck early on in the match and from that point on

Zvezda’s inability to defeat Caceres handed a first continental crown to the debutant Ukrainian club, and Mriya 2006 actually received the news that they were European champions while they were still on the team bus. Their victory means that the Women’s Euro Winners Cup has had five different winners in its five editions since the first in 2016, showing exactly how competitive women’s beach soccer has become in recent years. CFP Cáceres Femenino finished tied on points with the champions but having lost their match against the Ukrainians, were resigned to a close second place. However, they did claim the tournament MVP in María Herrero, while the Best Goalkeeper went to Russian international Anna Akylbaeva of Zvezda. New Team Brussels finished the competition winless but their star striker Annaelle Wiard took home the Top Scorer trophy after an incredible individual performance. The 2020 editions of the Euro Winners Cups were ones to remember for so many reasons, and stand as a certainly special moment in this hard year. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 27


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Portugal re on top in E

Nazaré witnessed a very different Euro Beach 28 I BEACHSOCCER.COM


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emain Europe

h Soccer League in 2020… BEACHSOCCER.COM I 29


REVIEW · BAREFOOT

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aturally the blow inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world of competitive sport very hard, and beach soccer was no escapee from the disruptions. However, after months of deliberation and meticulous organisation, the show did go on! It was the first post-pandemic event and a lot of effort went in to not only ensuring the success of the 23rd edition of the Euro Beach Soccer League, but

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above all, ensuring the safety of all involved. In the end the competition was, albeit with a very different feel and on an alternative scale, a huge triumph for beach soccer in this new and challenging environment. Five of Europe’s national teams made the trip to the Portuguese coast to compete for the European title. Host Portugal, this year without the thousands of fans cheering them on in the stadium, were set on defending

their hard-won title from the 2019 season, where they beat Russia in the final to claim their sixth title.

Portugal snatched their seventh Euro Beach Soccer League crown This year would be their seventh, but challenging them were four of the Old Continent’s top national beach soccer teams: Switzerland, Ukraine, Germany


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· REVIEW

Bé Martins tries a shot against Ukraine on Day 4

and France, all of them having won, at least oncem, the Continental League crown, which reestated the pedigree of the contenders...

ine snatched a grateful point. After that it was straight back to winning ways for the hosts who netted seven against Les Bleus.

The action kicked off in Nazaré on Wednesday 2 September when Ukraine took on Germany in the first match of the 2020 season.

Just one goal had the Equipa das Quinas prevail over Switzerland

It was a tight match which saw Die Mannschaft eventually down from the penalty spot after a gripping 3-3 draw at the end of normal time, and Ukra-

Switzerland, having rested on t he opening matchday, were in action against the French on Day 2, and they bettered Por-

tugal’s tally by scoring 10 goals, with both Stankovic and Ott claiming hat-tricks. A second win for Portugal in as many days saw them fall behind initially to the Germans, but turn the match around to retake the topspot with six points. Neither Germany nor France had tasted victory thus far in the campaign, but one would walk away with points when the two met on Day 3, and it was the French who edged a BEACHSOCCER.COM I 31


REVIEW · BAREFOOT

Valon Beqiri (GER), with some stunning goals, was one of the players that made a great impression on the sand in Nazaré.

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nine-goal thriller to and clinch essential three points. Meanwhile, Ukraine returned to the fray after having rested on Day 2, only to be seen of by another hat-trick from the big Swiss number nine, Stankovic, which saw Angelo Schirinzi’s men keep pace with the Portuguese at the top of the table. Next on the Euro Beach Soccer League agenda was the game that saw the most goals when Switzerland met Germany, where no less than 14 goals were netted as the Swiss came out 8-6 winners. Another victory for the Swiss saw them remain perfect in the tournament, while another defeat for Mateo Murrucci’s Germans in their last match saw them confirmed as fifth-place finishers. Four more goals from Portugal was enough to see them stay neck-and-neck with Switzerland as they defeated Ukraine, who managed two in response, and the final day’s matches were confirmed: France and Ukraine would battle for third place, while Switzerland would have the chance to take Portugal’s crown in the final… One goal decides the crown In the decider, however, it was Mario Narciso’s men who came out on top to claim back-toback Euro Beach Soccer League titles. Their victory was tight though, in a magnificent beach soccer game on what was the last day in Nazaré for many of the players, and although the hosts seemed to have things under control in the first half of the game, an Alpine reaction, one of those Shirinzi’s lads are well known for, kept everything open until the very last breath.

Leo Martins opened and closed the scoring as he was the one to get Portugal ahead only two minutes into the game. Noel Ott managed to steal the ball deep in Portugal’s area and poked past Andrade to tie things up, although immediately afterwards a splendid backheel volley by André Lourenço restored the advantage for the Equipa das Quinas. Despite beginning with a second goal by Leo Martins, the second leg would provoke a more serious reaction from the Swiss, led by the tournament’s top scorer, the always-prolific Dejan Stankovic. With two goals, the captain levelled the battle at three apiece.

Despite some laudable performances, Germany didn’t bag any points Belchior made it four with a stunning torpedo of a freekick from his own half, leaving Elliott with no chance, but less than three minutes later, the Swiss goalkeeper got his revenge, equalising the score once again with a long-range attempt. Minutes went by in the third period and the score remained untouched, and the extra time seemingly was the only option to decide a champion. It was not until the last minute of the game that sorcerer Leo Martins, afterwards recognised as the MVP of the competition, lifted a loose ball and fired in one of the sweetest bicycle kicks of his life; one that clinched the continental crown for Portugal for a record seventh time (followed by Spain and Russia, who could not participate in

· REVIEW

this edition, with five EBSL titles). The small comfort for the Swiss was the Top Scorer trophy which was claimed by Stankovic – his sixth in the competition! - who netted a total of eight goals in the competition, while the Portuguese claimed the MVP and Best Goalkeeper in Leo Martins and Elinton Andrade. Switzerland are still chasing that second European title after their victory back in 2012, but Portugal march on with and impressive seventh European crown. Promotion, back in 2021 2020, as mentioned previously, did not stop the Euro Beach Soccer League, but the difficult conditions for international mobility prevented many teams from taking part, heavily impacting the format of the competition. The regular format of the competition is set to return in the coming season, when we will see the refurbished Euro Beach Soccer League, featuring a strong Division B competition, which most probably will take place in a single venue, as was planned for 2020 with the inclusion of Moldova and its stunning state-of-the-art permanent stadium. This year, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented us all from enjoying those flashy facilities in Chisinau, but the Moldovan beach soccer family are waiting to welcome the competition next season. The competition format of the 2021 Euro Beach Soccer League, including number of events, number promotion positions and other key information, will be released by BSWW during the first quarter of 2021. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 33


FEATURES · BAREFOOT

5

TO WATCH

R

ui Delgado, Portuguese commentator and ex-beach soccer player, brings us his five players who stood out the most in the Superfinal of the Euro Beach Soccer League 2020... The first day of September also brought us the first competition after lockdown with the Superfinal of the Euro Beach Soccer League 2020. One of the oldest beach soccer competitions in the world (only surpassed by the Beach Soccer World Cup and the Mundialito de Selecções) embraced a new reality. And what a show it was! A show that revealed new line players who may have important roles in their national teams in the upcoming competitions of 2021 and beyond… 34 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

André Lourenço

Jan Ostgen

Lourenço caught Braga’s attention in 2019 when they signed him from GRAP. He played in and won the first World Winners Cup in Alanya with Flamengo, followed by the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay where he scored in the final against Italy. He also won the 2020 Polish Cup and was the MVP in the Hungarian league, proving he is now ready to join the Olympus of the beach soccer stars.

The Swiss defender arrived in Nazaré, Portugal after winning the Swiss Cup with his team Havana Shots Aargau, alongside Tobi Steineman, Glenn Hodel and Kevin Wandji. Ostgen was forced to perform a double task in Schirinzi´s side, in the absence of Mo Jaeggy (who retired after the World Cup in 2019) and Philip Borer (injured).

PORTUGAL

And so, André entered Portugal’s starting five with Andrade, Coimbra, Bê and Leo Martins in the typical 1-1-2-1 formation, unfolding into the offensive 1-1-1-2, or ball possession in the 1- 2-2. He scored a fantastic goal in the last game against Switzerland. He is surely one of the strongest candidates for the Rising Star trophy.

SWITZERLAND

He provided extra muscle in the defensive midfield, allowing offensive movements and giving freedom to Noel Ott in the classic 1-3-1. Versatile, he offered quality in possession when Switzerland were in a 1-2-2, sometimes integrating in sectors 3 and 4 to break the opposing defences. Just as Glenn Hodel is a key exchange for Dejan Stankovic, can Ostgen replace Mo Jaeggy in the Swiss team? Only time will tell!


BAREFOOT

· FEATURES

Quentin Gosselin

Julin “Mutu”lingam

Coming from the U21’s national team, where he held, mainly, defensive positions on the sand, Pashko reached the final of the 2020 Ukrainian league with BSC Alternativa.

Quentin caught the attention of Stephane François in the 2016 Talent Cup in Siofok (Hungary). He was called up to play a friendly against Portugal in Faro, (Portugal) in 2017, where he scored twice.

“Mutu” drew the attention of Matteo Marucci playing for Ibbenburener BSC, where he has played since 2018, in the German League. He played a key role in their qualification for the Final Four.

Physically strong, and with good mobility, being the result of a tactical school of positional rigor, he adds technical quality, now occupying more offensive positions in support of the pivot.

Subsequently, he has become the player with the most appearances for the Gauls in 2019, alongside with Victor Angeletti.

Making his debut for Die Mannschaft in this competition, he appeared to be an alternative to historical players like Sven Korner, Thurk or even Monch. Great physical and pivot capacity, and technical quality, he fits perfectly in the classic German 1-3-1.

Andrii Pashko UKRAINE

Integrated with the experienced Makeiev, Scherytsia and Zborovskyi, he offered depth in the transitions and even took the most offensive position in sector 4 allowed Zborovskyi to drop to sector 4. He proved to be very effective in set pieces, scoring four goals in the 2020 Superfinal including a beautiful bicycle kick.

FRANCE

Now, with Claude Barrage in charge, he is one of the youngest players in position 2, in the classic 1-3-1, where he shows enormous maturity. In addition to giving defensive consistency, he often integrates into the attack, appearing at the central corridor in sector 3. With his powerful left foot, he found the net three times in the 2020 EBSL.

GERMANY

He is powerful when wedged as the spearhead in the centre aisle to hold the opposing defences, opening spaces in the centre of the field for Biermann or Metzler. He scored two goals in the competition, one of which was against champions, Portugal. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 35


FEATURES · BAREFOOT

5

TO WATCH

P

aula Sanz, coach of 2019 runners-up of the Euro Winners Cup Madrid CFF, could not take part in this 2020 edition, but, like the passionate beach soccer analyst she is, she didn’t miss a minute of the competition. So we asked her to analyse the most outstanding talents of this past edition for Barefoot: The Beach Soccer Mag; five players that will shine the future of beach soccer. Five players that are here to stay, and are set to dazzle us with brilliant beach soccer in the coming seasons. The list she came up with cannot be more talent-stuffed, and stands as the perfect representation of the bright future ahead.

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Anastasiya Terekh

Myroslava Vypasniak

I would say she was the biggest surprise-star of the year. At just 22 years old, she showcased great bravery and determination to lead her team’s attacking moves and also wasn’t afraid to shoot when she had the opportunity.

Myroslava, a very well-known player in the world of beach soccer, is the demonstration that experience and hard work pay off - and win championships! She played the role of Commander in Chief of a young and inexperienced team and led them to the continental crown.

UKRAINE

I think she was the key player for her team at the most decisive moments of the relevant matches. Her focus on the game never slipped. Without a doubt, BSC Mriya 2006 was a pleasant surprise, and most of that merit was thanks to Anastasiya. I am sure she has a long career ahead of her on the sand, and we should look forward to watching her play in the future, something we all hope will happen again very soon.

UKRAINE

She was everywhere on the pitch, both in defence and attacking positions. She was all passion and desire, and that was rewarded with the most prestigious trophy in her personal cabinet. For every minute she was on the sand, in Nazaré, she fielded her strength and quality, and became the best support, and mentor, for her teammates, as well as the perfect transmission from the coach Roman Pachev on the pitch.


BAREFOOT

· FEATURES

Anaëlle Wiard

Anna Akylbaeva

María Herrero

In short: this is what a goal-scorer looks like. It is not easy to become the top scorer in the top European club competition, and if you manage to achieve that in your first international experience, despite the disappointing results of your team, then that shows that you are a special breed.

The embodiment of beach soccer. She needs no introduction, as she is known worldwide in beach soccer for being the perfect demonstration of the key role goalkeepers have in this game and their capacity to change games.

María is the kind of player that is always in the right place. CFP Cáceres Femenino had the objective of being a solid team, showing the hunger to go for the victory in every single game, and María was the player to best showcase those values on the pitch.

BELGIUM

RUSSIA

Anaëlle is a player that all coaches should have on their radars. She has fallen in love with beach soccer, and she demonstrated in Nazaré that she has a terrific future.

She knows very well what winning everything means, but also, how hard that is to achieve. No matter whether she wears the armband or not, she is a true captain, and she offers terrific strength between the sticks.

In the Euro Winners Cup she showed her capacities, and how no matter the distance, the angle or the number of opponents in front of her, she always manages to find the goal. She is just getting started…

I cannot think of a goalkeeper who is better with her feet, which makes Akylbaeva not only decisive in goal but also very dangerous, thanks to her excellent shot. We really look forward to enjoying her game for years to come.

SPAIN

No matter where the ball was heading, she would find it, take it, and make something productive out of it for her team. Moreover, her tireless fighting spirit and her powerful shot made for a truly important player. It’s not for nothing she was awarded the Best Player of the competition, and she came second after Annaelle Wiard in the top scorers chart, but no-one can claim to have battled harder than her.

BEACHSOCCER.COM I 37


INSIDE BEACH SOCCER · BAREFOOT

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BAREFOOT

· INSIDE BEACH SOCCER

A Firebird for the World Cup The official emblem for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2021 was unveiled one year before the final

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n 29 August 2020, with one year to go until the final of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021™, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee revealed the Official Emblem in a campaign held online and also at the very characteristic Moscow Metro. The emblem prominently features the firebird, a key figure in classic Russian fairy tales. The embodiment of fire, light and the sun, this mythological creature symbolises the quest for victory and glory. In the emblem, the firebird and a beach soccer player are locked in an epic battle for the ball above a dome inspired by St Basil’s Basilica. The overall style and colours are influenced by Russian motifs and architecture, with a contemporary twist that expresses warmth, energy and fun. Moscow’s nine million commuters will be able to spot the firebird taking flight for one whole week on more than 6,200 screens aboard the city’s underground trains, while fans elsewhere can see the animation come to life online on FIFA’s social media channels. “In close cooperation with FIFA, we have been fruitfully collaborating and laying the foundations to open our doors to all the fans of this spectacular sport next year. Our country has come a long way to earn the honour of hosting the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021, having staged numerous Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinals and FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup European qualifying competitions.

The tournament is not only pivotal for our entire team, but will also boost the development of beach soccer nationwide,” said the General Secretary of the Football Union of Russia, Aleksandr Alaev. “The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2021 is sure to feature the same fun, festival-like atmosphere that we saw two years ago when Russia welcomed the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” said Jean-François Pathy, FIFA’s Director of Marketing.

The embodiment of fire, light and the sun, this mythological creature symbolises the quest for victory and glory “This emblem brings together the rich history of Russia, the legacy of the 2018 tournament and the energy of beach soccer. Launching this design is a great way to begin the journey to the coming beach soccer World Cup,” Pathy added. This will be the 11th FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™, the first instalment of which was hosted in Rio de Janeiro in 2005. The most recent edition was held in Asunción, Paraguay, and saw Portugal crowned champions for the second time after they defeated Italy 6-4 in the final. Next year’s tournament will welcome 16 teams from around the world and be held from 19 to 29 August 2021 in Moscow. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 39


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Lauren Leslie Turning the biggest disappointment into a life-changing experience

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fter seeing the doors to the Euro Winners Cup cruelly closed when she was already thousands of miles away from home, the US International decided to turn it into an adventure of a lifetime and drove back home across the entire country by herself.

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laying the Euro Winners Cup was US forward Lauren Leslie’s dream, and 2020 seemed like the year in which it would finally come true. A winner of the US Open in Virginia with Shoreline and also with international experience with 2018 Serie A champion Lady Terracina, Lauren was ready and willing for a bigger challenge: competing on the sand of Europe’s most prestigious club event. She had secured a place in New Team BS Brussels, where she was supposed to join her friend and compatriot Luisa Meza, and she had managed to negotiate enough time off work (she is a full-time football coach at SC Blues, where she coaches three teams, and also founder of a beach soccer camp) and Lauren had her plane ticket - San Diego to Lisbon via Boston - secured. She had even been tested for Covid-19. Everything seemed to be on the right track. But destiny and the Covid -19 protocols had another plans for her… Although she was supposed to get the results before boarding to Boston, some unexplained delay in the labs had her flying without them. When she landed in Logan International Airport where, at a safe distance, she had planned to meet up with Luiza, only to be given the worst news: she had tested positive, and therefore could not take the flight to Portugal. First thing she did was text Luiza to tell her to go without her. “I told her I would not be boarding the plane, but also told her not to worry about me and no matter what kick butt and represent us out there”. Changing the plan The next thing she did was to book a hotel, and tried to think straight. “I tried to keep my hopes alive, and thought what was the best way to make that happen. But don’t get me wrong, I did a lot of crying too…” she admits with a slightly embarrassed but wide smile.

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promise she would get her results in the day so that she could hop on the next possible flight. But luck, yet again, was not on her side, as the bank holiday in Boston caused the results to be extremely delayed. But Lauren never lost faith, and even kept training twice a day, to get to Nazaré in the best possible shape. After three days, she decided it made no sense to keep trying, spending money and waiting around for the results. “Catching a flight one day later would have got me to Portugal on Saturday. It was nonsense. We were not even playing on Sunday…”, she recalls. “I was sure there had been a mistake in my first tests… but there was nothing else I could do. I was so disappointed, so frustrated, feeling so powerless…”

3,100 miles and nine days that gave Lauren a lot of time to think and to emerge as an even stronger person It was this very moment when her inner fighter came out once more and told her to make the most of this opportunity and seize the moment: She was determined to grow as a person following this experience, and to do something she could be proud of. “I had two options, staying in Boston all tears and flying back to California feeling miserable and upset, or trying to make the bad experience count. So I took that second option, and decided to begin one trip I had always wanted to do: driving all across the United States, also because I did not want to put anyone in danger by catching a flight”. Actually, the thought that pushed her to take on this adventure was something that can undoubtedly be considered one of the pillars of her mindset, and also one of her guiding life mottos. “It is a matter of trying to find beauty in everything, a matter of trying to find the positive aspect in any negative situation. This is what I was determined to do.”

That was on a Friday, still four days to go until the beginning of the competition, so she would not give up. Having a suspicion that her test results may not have been reliable, she started the quest for a lab in Massachusetts to take another. “I would have done anything to go to Nazaré. I could not miss that opportunity. So I started calling labs one after another”.

“A quote I love is ‘You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you’, by Mary Tyler Moore. Hardships shape me into the person I want to become, so I knew something good was to come out of this. I had to look for it, which is one of the lessons I always try to pass on to my players”, she explains.

The following day, as soon as the labs reopened, she rushed to get her tests done, with the

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Hiking is one of Lauren’s passions, and she tried to make the most of it during her journey across the States.

wondering what her family would think. But she found nothing but support from them, too. “My brothers were actually super thrilled, and even kind of jealous.. My mum was, of course, a bit more concerned, but supported me too, and my father just said ‘Ok. Good luck! [laughs]”

say I was scared, but that got me thinking ‘Are you sure this is a good idea, Lauren?’. But that was just one moment…” On the following day, the results finally came in: negative. But, painfully, it was already too late…

Although she didn’t feel scared at any point during the long trip, travelling on your own across a vast country like the US with some undeniably dangerous places on the route can be quite intimidating, and there were some moments in which she did not feel entirely comfortable…

Beach Soccer all the way Being alone travelling so many miles, was something exciting, but also scary. So she incorporated pitstops to see some familiar faces in her cross-country route, one of them being the US Women’s National Team captain, Megan Wharton, who she met in Columbus (Ohio).

“On the first night, I was having a walk in Syracuse and I ended up in a neighbourhood in which I did not feel completely safe… I cannot

The Stars and Stripes teammates went for some drinks, had some laughs, deep conversation and - what else? - beach soccer training.

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“It was great to see Megan at that moment. It was a life saver. It really did me a lot of good. To know I have friends across the country willing to be there for me and support me meant a lot. In a way she helped give me more strength to keep going.”, Lauren explains. In fact, beach soccer was pretty present all the way through her journey, as she continued to find opportunities to train in most of the places she passed through and she did never lose contact with the team.“I watched all their games, and I kept talking to them continuously. They kept me in the team’s group chat, and I was constantly cheering them on, telling them what I saw in the games, and supporting them from anywhere I was”, she explains. From New York

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to Ohio, then to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Saint Louis… etc. she had the opportunity to think a lot, visit places that she had never visited before, read, watch beach soccer and do a lot of hiking, one of her passions. Well, actually she was not completely alone, as all the families of the SC Blues Soccer players she coaches down in Orange County, supported her from a distance the whole way. “My soccer families were behind me 100%. They helped me along my journey by always checking up on me, and offering to pay for hotel, gas, and food”. Moreover, she had a friend meeting her in Nebraska and doing the last miles with her. “He wanted to do some hikes, as well, so I was very BEACHSOCCER.COM I 45


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lucky to have someone finish the trip with me”, In the last stages before getting home, she had the chance to tick a couple of points off her bucket list... First, visiting Zion National Park, in Utah, a place she had always wanted to visit. “It was absolutely breathtaking”, she recalls. And second, spending a night in Vegas. “I had not been to Las Vegas lately, although it is pretty close from home, and I decided to spend my last night there. I never gamble, but I thought that was also a milestone of such a trip across America, so I gave it a go - and it was fun!” Nine days after having to swallow the bitter pill of disappointment, being told that she would not be traveling to Nazaré, and 3,100 miles later, Lauren arrived home, in Dana Point, (South Orange County, California), ending a trip that began on such a low but ended on such a high.

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A setback which Lauren ultimately turned on its head and made into an opportunity for growth, an experience that made her grow both as a person an as an athlete.

“It was great to see Megan at that moment. It was a life saver. It really did me a lot of good” Such an achievement is something to be very proud of, just as the beach soccer family is proud, and lucky, to have people so passionate for the sport. People, like Lauren, who are capable of making huge sacrifices for the chance to play the sport she loves. A sport that, without a doubt, she helped to grow this past September even though she couldn’t compete on the sand. Great job, Lauren! BEACHSOCCER.COM I 47


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‘‘Beach Soccer is my priority now’’ Anaelle Wiard

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elgian football star Anaelle Wiard has landed in beach soccer determined to leave a strong mark in her country’s first steps on the global stage

One of the main protagonists in the past Women’s Euro Winners Cup was a quick forward, with great shooting abilities and a tireless fighting spirit. Not a player previously known on the beach soccer scene, but football fans might have found the face of the New Team Beach Soccer Brussels number ten familiar. Anaelle Wiard was a regular in the Belgian football elite spheres, and she took the Euro Winners Cup stage by storm claiming the top scorer award on her debut appearance in the competition. After more than a decade playing in the biggest teams in Belgium, including seven years at Anderlecht, where she arrived from FCF White Stars, and Standard de Liège. She has also been capped on 17 occasions for Belgium’s national team and won the Belgian Cup in 2016. Annaelle Wiard made the leap to sand and she did so determined to embrace beach soccer with all her will, passion and motivation. In fact, the moment she was scoring her first international goals on the Praia de Nazaré Annaelle was supposed to be playing against giants Standard de Liege in a league game with Eendracht Alost, her current team, but she had been in no doubt: she would not miss the Euro Winners Cup, the most special event in her new

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passion: beach soccer. Although she came onto on the beach just some months ago, with her first experience taking place in June, beach soccer has become one of her main priorities in life. “I heard about the New Team Beach Soccer project in Braine, and I decided to come and give it a try. I came for one training session, and a little after we had our first tournament in France. As soon as I began, I immediately loved it, and now I’d even consider giving up football to concentrate on beach soccer.”

“ It is not only the different

surface and its sensations, but the special atmosphere of the team and the game that makes it so unique ’’

After having played eleven-a-side football at the highest level for more than a decade, the impressions and feelings evoked in beach soccer are unique, as she explains: “You get very different sensations than in football. The surface is different, the sand makes everything change, and it makes you focus and master every single technical movement. Moreover, I am a forward, and I love scoring goals… and there are plenty of them in beach soccer!” But it is not only what Annaelle finds in the game, but everything being a beach soccer


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player entails. “Also, the spirit of the team, of the sport, is something so unique. Not only on the pitch, but being able to live with all the girls, and experience beach soccer in such a way is really fantastic.” Being used to controlling the ball on grassy football pitches in the Belgium, the physics of the modality she was getting to know would make things far from easy, despite her huge talent: “Without a doubt, what I found most difficult was the behavior of the ball, how it bounces on the sand. It is just so difficult to get used to in the beginning. I got so frustrated in my first training sessions, like if I didn’t know how to play with my feet anymore!… But at the same time it is a challenge that demands quick learning and improves your technique a lot. You need to keep focused to avoid the ball falling in the holes, otherwise it is impossible to shoot or pass accurately. It is completely a different mastery, and this is what I am training a lot with New Team…”

‘‘ Beach soccer has given

me new goals and new dreams... I never imagined I could feel like this after so many years of football ’’ But that was just the beginning… because after the first contact with beach soccer’s international level, she set herself some very ambitious goals, proving the champion breed she is made of… “The objective I have is very clear, becoming the best player in the world. Starting with Belgium, of course, and after plating with my club in different international events. Also, being one of the players that make part of the first women’s Belgian national team, and scoring a lot of goals for them.” Nothing less… Actually, this mindset she is equipped with is just the origin of everything she has achieved in the world of sports, something she is eager to transmit to all those young girls that are just starting out playing football and beach soccer: “I would like to tell them not to listen to people that say that football or beach soccer is not for the girls and always have a ball at your feet. Train, train and train, because if you train hard, non-stop, you can achieve anything that you BEACHSOCCER.COM I 51


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want. I started playing football at 16, I trained a lot, believed in myself, and made it to the Belgian national team just two years later.” This is how she leads by example… Now her determination is focused on beach soccer, which she sees as her future, and what she wants to be doing in the coming years. Once she has found her place on the sand, Anaelle is fully determined to make the most of it and lead a solid career. In such a key moment for the Belgian beach soccer history, she is thrilled with the opportunity to be a key part of it. And she is not afraid to make the necessary steps for that to happen, as she has already demonstrated by telling her coach at Eendracht Alost that she would not be available for two weeks… and had no other option but to understand and accept it. “I told my coach that I give beach soccer the same importance as football. And if I was forced to make a decision between football and beach soccer, I would chose beach soccer. It is my main priority, so he has to understand… If he doesn’t…well, it is his problem.” She explains, with a chuckle….

‘‘ My objective is very

clear: I want to become the best player in the world. But first step is starting with the Belgian National side ’’ “Beach soccer has given me new goals, new dreams… I never imagined I could feel like this, discover new movements, new stimulus, new objectives after so many years of playing football.” This kind of athlete is precisely what dignifies a sport, what makes it grow. And beach soccer has found in Annaelle Wiard a very powerful and determined representatives amid a powerful and determined team, New Team Beach Soccer Brussels, who have been working passionately in recent months to bring on a group of athletes, under the guidance of Jérémy Chojnowsky, solidly building their way inside our sport. You will be hearing quite a lot about them in the near future…

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Across the Old Continent A round-up of Europe’s national leagues!

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espite the restrictions and oddities of the 2020 beach soccer season, our community showed real determination, and many of Europe’s national beach soccer leagues went ahead despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Without further ado, here is your round-up of how the championships were contested and conquered across the Old Continent… RUSSIA - BSC Lokomotiv BSC Lokomotiv edged through in a final-day Moscow derby to claim their fifth Russia league title. Boris Nikonorov netted the deciding goal in a tight final which saw the Railwaymen down their old Spartak rivals. The teams had met two days previously, where Spartak had come out on top after tense penalties, but luck wasn’t on their side in the all-important showdown where the final score finished 4-3 to Lokomotiv. It is the second time Spartak

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have had to settle for runner-up medals this year, after missing out to SC Braga in the Mundialito de Clubes back in February. In the match for third place, a no-doubt disappointed Kristall, who are much more accustomed to battling in the final, were determined to take bronze after falling to the would-be champions in the semi-finals.

Sporting CP upset SC Braga and Casa Benfica to claim the crown

MVP award for the whole tournament. The Superfinal MVP was Spartak’s Aleksey Makarov, and the runners-up also claimed the Best Goalkeeper award, which went to Denis Parkhomenko. RUSSIA - WFC Zvezda (W) WFC Zvezda, made up of mainly Russian national team players, won their fifth Russian championship in August. Ivan Kanaev’s team went unbeaten to face WFC LEX in the final, who they also defeated narrowly by four goals to three.

Angelo Schirinzi’s men took a decisive victory over Delta, winning by seven goals to three to secure third place, while CSKA took fifth with a victory from the penalty spot against Dinamo Samara.

Zvezda’s Anna Akylbaeva won the Best Goalkeeper award, while Varvara Bychkova (WFC Strogino) was named as the Top Scorer and the MVP was Russian international star Anastasiya Gorshkova of WFC LEX. There was also a FairPlay Award which went to SGSPU-EKOVOZ.

As well as scoring the winning goal, Boris Nikonorov also took home the Top Scorer trophy while his Lokomotiv teammate Nuritdin Mamadiev won the

PORTUGAL – Sporting CP Sporting reclaimed their 2016 league title after years of Braga domination. The Lions took first place in the Elite Cham-


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Rodrigo could not help his side BSC Kristall secure yet another trophy this year.

pion Qualification Stage, defeating Casa Benfica de Loures 6-3 on the final day of matches in Nazaré. SC Braga, after having lost the European title to Kristall (RUS) just weeks before, let their domination in Portugal slip after losing to Sporting 6-3 in the league a few days before the final day. Goals from Spaniards Edu Suarez (3) and Antonio, as well as Ricardinho and Pinhal saw the new champions bag the essen56 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

tial points to stay top of the table, while a brace from 2018’s Best Player Llorenç wasn’t enough to help Casa Benfica overcome a superior Sporting.

Lokomotiv BSC and WFC Zvezda reigned in the Russian League Meanwhile, four teams were struggling to avoid the drop at the other end of the Elite League, but in the end, it was

Leixões and GD Alfarim who will be relegated into the National Championship after losing to their groupmates. They will be replaced by Varzim and Buarcos who earned promotion last week, while GRAP and local club ACD Sótão will fight with the big boys for another year. UKRAINE - BSC Vit Ukraine has new beach soccer champions! Kiev-based BSC Vit won the national beach soccer league after beating city rivals


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BSC Alternativa by four goals to one. They made the final after an incredibly tight semi-final against NC Beachsoccer, which finished 4-4 after extra time and went to penalties where Vit won 3-2. In the other semi-final BSC Alternativa beat former Ukrainian champions BSC Artur Music to reach the final. Artur Music and NC Beachsoccer then fought an intense contest for third place which finally

ended in a 2-1 win on penalties for Artur Music, after the sides were still tied at 5-5 after the three minutes of added time. BSC Vit’s Ukrainian international Maksym Voitok was named as the competition’s Best Player, while Oleg Zborovskij of NC Beachsoccer was the Top Scorer with 11 goals. The champions also claimed the Best Goalkeeper in Alexander Poslavskij, and the Best Young Player went to Alternativa’s Oleg Sirenko.

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UKRAINE - Dominos (W) Dominos beat Mriya 2006, winners of the 2020 Euro Winners Cup, by five goals to three in the final of the women’s league. Alternativa NUBiP, who had narrowly missed out to Dominos in the Kiev championships after an extra time goal, finished in third place. The MVP of the national championships was Miroslava Vipasnyak (Mriya 2006), while the Top Scorer award went to Anastasia Klipachenko (Alternativa NUBiP). BEACHSOCCER.COM I 57


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Lady Grembach Lodz sealed their fourth National League title following a consistent win over Red Devils Chojnice

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The competition also had a Best Player award which went to Anna Shulga from Dominos Pizza, as well as the youngest player award which went to Olga Dudar (Mriya Sport College) who is just 10 years old. Irina Slavich (Mriya 2006) took home the award for the competition’s Best Goalkeeper. GERMANY - Ibbenbürener Ibbenbürener BSC reclaimed the German Beach Soccer Championship after winning the final against their Düsseldorf rivals. It was the club’s second national league title, the last one coming in 2016, and the German international players certainly played their part in downing Beach Royals Düsseldorf, who were also their finalist opponents in 2016. The heroes of an incredible underdog story at the Euro Winners Cup just a few weeks previously, whereby Beach Royals Düsseldorf defeated Spaniards AD Torrejon with just five available players and no goalkeeper, suffered a fourth defeat in a German league final in 2020, the other occasions being in 2013, 2016 and 2019. Real Münster won their third-place playoff against the last year’s winners Rostocker Robben as they had done a few weeks earlier in the Euro Winners Cup, becoming the first ever German beach soccer club to finish third in the European championship. POLAND – Boca Gdansk After losing two Polish league finals in as many years, Boca Gdansk beat FC10 Zgierz in the 2020 final to finally become national beach soccer champions! KP Lodz, with the likes of Christian Biermann and Gabriele

Gori in their ranks, were many people’s favourites going into the tournament, but they finished third after beating SAP Sopot in the final day playoff. SAP Sopot were boosted by Portuguese representation from Leo and Be Martins and Andre Lourenco and had won the Polish Cup a few weeks before. Boca Gdansk’s Jakub Bistula was awarded the MVP prize, while the Top Scorer trophy went back to Spain with Llorenç Gomez (FC 10 Zgierz). The runners-up also claimed the Best Goalkeeper of the competition in Krystian Karolak.

Mriya 2006 could not extend their winning run and lost to Dominos POLAND - Lady Grembach Lodz (W) Lady Grembach Lodz made beach soccer history in Poland as they seized their fourth consecutive national championship. No other Polish team, male or female, had ever achieved this. An injection of English firepower in the form of 2017 Best Player Sarah Kempson, 2018 Best Player nominee Molly Clark and their English national teammate Katie James, helped the Lodz club claim their fourth title. Red Devils Chojnice were their rivals in the final where Lady Grembach held on for a 7-5 win in extra time. Molly Clark took the Top Scorer trophy home and Karolina Palaczios, also from Lady Grembach Lodz, won the Best Goalkeeper, while Kamila Komisarczyk won tour-

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nament MVP. HUNGARY - BSC Aramis BSC Aramis are the new champions of Hungary after they beat Goldwin Pluss in a tight 6-5 victory on the final day on the league, which took place just outside Budapest. It was their first appearance in the Hungarian championships, but that didn’t daunt the new-comers, as their star-studded squad fought hard to lift the trophy on the final day. In their previous match, BSC Aramis, bolstered by big names such as Llorenç Gomez and Edu Suarez, had defeated Ujhartyan BSC by five goals to two. But the final win was far from comfortable in such a competitive league, and Aramis were behind for much of the game trailing at the first whistle by 3-1 and 5-3 at the second. A late surge saw Aramis turn the match around just in time to deny Goldwin Pluss. Their success was no mean feat considering the presence of many of Europe’s best players in the opposing line-ups, such as Ramaccioti, Gori and Frainetti, not to mention some FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup holders, Portuguese stars Rui Coimbra, Belchior and André Lourenço, the latter of which won the tournament’s MVP award. Llorenç, scoring a whopping 34 goals in just eight games, claimed the Top Scorer award, while his Aramis teammate Norbert Iváncsik won Best Goalkeeper. BELARUS - SDUSHOR This competition was packed full of beach soccer action in one of the sport’s most fastgrowing nations. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 59


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The Belarus Beach Soccer Championships culminated in the crowning of the first-time kings of beach soccer in the nation, SDUSHOR, who saw off previous champions Grodnooblsport in a two-leg final. The champions also claimed three of the many individual awards, including Vadim Bokach (MVP), Viktor Golomzik (Best Coach) and Aleksandr Gorokh (Youngest Player - 14 years). With 28 goals, Schuchin’s Andrey Skvarchevsky won the Top Scorer award, while the Best Goalkeeper went to Vadim Aleshkevich (Brest) and the Best Goal of the competition was awarded to Ivan Konstantinov of the runners-up Grodnooblsport, for a superb bicycle kick from the halfway line. MALTA - Birżebbuġa FC A ground-breaking event in Malta showed more evidence that the nation is taking beach soccer more and more seriously as a sport. The local club, Birżebbuġa FC, won the first ever edition of the event following a round robin structure of the first Malta Beach Soccer Festival, organised between Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October at Pretty Bay, Birżebbuġa after a long wait due to uncertain circumstances posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. A total of four teams participated in this event: Birżebbuġa FC, St Peters PFLF 1, Għargħur and Fgura PFLF2. Noel Tabone of Birzebbugia won Top Scorer in the final match with five goals followed by Ayoub Ahmad of Għargħur Boys who scored four goals. It was a good performance by all of the participants, who all had words of praise for the professional setting and organization 60 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

of the tournament, confirming Malta is ready to host bigger international competitions, something that could happen this coming 2021. LATVIA/ESTONIA SK Augur Enemat On Saturday 15 August, a two-month beach soccer marathon involving the top Latvian and Estonian teams came to a close. Estonian club SK Augur Enemat finished at the top of the table with 38 points and having scored no less than 89 goals. The highest-finishing Latvian team was BSC LAT on 22 points. SK Augur Enemat’s Sander Lepik scored 20 goals to finish the tournament as Top Goalscorer, while his teammate Rauno Nommiko wasn’t far behind him with 19 goals.

The Baltic Beach Soccer League will arrive in 2021, featuring 10 sides Aleksandrs Novozilovs, with 18 goals, was the third top scorer and the top among players from Latvian clubs. The champions, SK Augur Enemat, also claimed the other individual awards as Markus Lukk was awarded the league’s Best Goalkeeper, and Kristian Marmor won the Most Valuable Player trophy. Following the success of the maiden year of the combined national league, the official Latvian-Estonian Beach Soccer League expects to grow in the coming season with the addition of two teams from Lithuania in 2021, taking on a new name: the Baltic Beach Soccer League. This league is expected

to have a total of 10 teams in the opening season. CZECH REPUBLIC Bohemians BS Bhemians 1905 reclaimed the Czech beach soccer throne after a thrilling final against BS Slavia Prague. The Bohemians had lost to their city rivals the previous year, but claimed their fifth Czech title with a 3-1 victory. Both of the finalists had won their semi-final match-ups by six goals to three. Czech international beach soccer goalkeeper, Patrik Malina, won the Best Goalkeeper trophy for the champions, while his national teammate Lukas Trampota, who represented BS Slavia Prague in the league, won the MVP trophy. An impressive total of 16 goals saw Pavol Hrnciar awarded the Top Scorer prize, and his side BS ViOn Slovakia beat BS Ladronka Prague 6-3 in the play-off for third place. CZECH REPUBLIC - BS Slavia (W) Where BS Slavia’s men had fallen at the final hurdle, the women managed to clinch the Czech league without a single loss. Behind the winners Pribram finished in second place, who were just ahead of the Bohemians on goal difference, while Dukla Prague finished in fourth place. Kim Dinh Thanhova of Pribram was the competitions Top Scorer with 11 goals, BS Slavia’s Aneta Jungova was named as the Best Player and was the next top scorer with nine goals. Hedvika Vacikova from Bohemians was awarded Best Goalkeeper.


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“I had never worked with fear before” Referees Gionni Matticoli and Annette Unterbeck share their experiences from the frontline against the Covid-19 during these months 62 I BEACHSOCCER.COM


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ionni Matticoli is one of the most experienced referees in the beach soccer stage. With more than 300 international games since he first refereed in 2008 (of which he keeps a complete record), including four FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups (he even refereed the final between Portugal and Tahiti in 2015), he is one of the best known and most respected professionals on the sand. Annette Unterbeck, from Berlin, in turn, was experiencing her first international event this past September in Nazaré, after having refereed beach soccer in Germany for the past three years. And that made for a very special international debut…

“I decided to leave home for some days, as I did not want to put my family at risk” (Matticoli) Besides their passion for refereeing, Gionni and Annette had another thing in common: they are both nurses at a hospital, and they have been fighting tirelessly, endless hours in the frontline against Covid-19. For both of them, enjoying beach soccer in Nazaré, doing what they like most, was a truly relieving experience. Gionni Matticoli has spent the last 20 years working at the emergency team of the Isernia hospital. During these months since the beginning of the pandemic, he was forced to BEACHSOCCER.COM I 63


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experience something he had never experienced before: working with fear: “I can tell you that I had seen so many things in my career, accidents, and very strange things. But I had never been confronted with working with fear. This year, though, in early March, with this awful pandemic, I felt fear when I was working. I went to work feeling scared. Every time I had to start my shift I was incredibly stressed.” “The situation caught everybody by surprise, and it was hard to keep following the procedures in a normal way: “We were clearly not prepared. All the departments, we didn’t have enough masks, protection equipment,…”, he added. Annette Unterbeck, also with a wide experience in medical assistance, tried to face that moment with the coldest and most practical mind she could put on it: “In the end you work with patients and from time to time there are infected patients. Therefore, we are used to covering up and having to wear masks and all these things to protect everyone. We also have to implement all the hygiene regulations in our normal everyday life at work but it has intensified even more to an extreme, so that you now have to factor wearing masks in your daily routine. It is not an easy situation for anybody, but I think in the meantime everyone somehow accepted and got used to it.”, she explains.

“It was a tough situation, because many patients came with symptoms, and you didn’t know if they were infected” (Unterbeck) The fight against Covid-19 also affected Gionni’s closest environment, even forcing him to leave home for some time, not to put his family at risk, after being in too close contact with the virus: “In early March, we aided a patient in the ambulance who had no Covid symptoms, no fever, and who actually had called us due to another reason. But in the evening, doing the test, she happened to be Covid-19 positive. You can imagine my mood at that moment. I decided to get away from my family, and for ten days I lived in another apartment, away from my wife and son. With time, it obviously 64 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

doesn’t become something you get used to, but you manage to combine it somehow with your normal life. Fortunately, this feeling of fear is gone now. We have the necessary equipment, and when we go out for a call, we are very well protected, although of course there is the risk of being infected.” It has been a different time from everybody. A time in which what you gave for granted could not work now, a time in which what you thought you knew, could not be right anymore. A time to relearn. “It is something special because more and more patients came and more and more symptoms were developed where we didn’t always know, if that was Covid or it was another infection. But we learned well how to deal with it and it has become our everyday life. Unfortunately…”, Annette admits. Training in solitude A part from the difficult conditions they encountered at work, they also had to feel the lack of what they liked most: refereeing, thus staying without their favourite escape. The matches, the moments, the companionship… And, at the same time, making them train in isolation: “Refereeing has been my passion for 25 years, and it is something I really needed to get away from everything I experienced in my job. And always thinking thinking about the restart of the competitions, I tried to train at home, in the cark park. Working out, doing my exercises and, above all, paying attention to my diet.” Annette, more used to training on her own, did not felt that much of a difference in her training agenda, but she really missed all what competition implies: “I train on my own relatively often, so that was not a big difference. But the fact that the competitions were cancelled is definitely something that everyone missed. I think everyone that does sport, or that is a referee, just wants to participate in games and it is good that it can restart again even though it is under more difficult circumstances.” But it is a matter of seeing things in an optimistic way, isn’t i? At least, not everything was so bad for Gionni… “The only thing, I see as “positive” from this Covid pandemic is that it was supposed to be my last season as a referee, because of my age, but since all competitions in Italy have been cancelled, all referees have been give one more year, so I will be able to referee in 2021, too. Hopefully I make my fifth World Cup!”, he explains.


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The Euro Winners Cup in Nazaré was the first international competition for German referee Annette Unterbeck

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Italian international referee Gionni Matticoli, ready for an intervention at the Iserna Hospital (Italy), where he works.

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Things are still in a very disappointing state, all over the world, but the Euro Winners Cup and the Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal in Nazaré demonstrated that the beach soccer events are safe, and that the beach soccer athletes will always be ready to go into action.

“The only positive thing in this situation is that it will allow me to referee one more year, and I hope to make the World Cup” (Matticoli) It also meant one of the best moments of the year for both Gionni and Annete. “It was really special for me, becase it was my first international experience. I got to know new colleagues, a new competition… and especially under these

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circumstances. It will always be something special”, she admits. For Gionni, instead, “coming to Nazaré and refereeing international beach soccer meant getting rid of all those bad things I had experienced over these four months with the pandemic. A way to charge my batteries again. I can say that it has been so good for me… It has fully reenergized me and I go back home feeling optimistic for the future. I am certain that this “war” will end, it will pass, and will become just an awful memory.” So are we, and furthermore, we would like to use this report as a homage to all of the members of the beach soccer family who have been fighting, and continue to do so, against Covid-19 which has impacted us all so much. We want to say, again and again, how proud we are of you all. Thank you for fighting for us. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 67


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Vasco’s men and Flamengo’s women on top in Brazil Vasco da Gama bagged their third Campeonato Brasileiro de Beach Soccer, while Flamengo made history in the first edition of the women’s competition.

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he Cruzmaltino of Vasco remain on the beach soccer throne of Brazil as they defeated Sampaio Corrêa on penalties in a replay of the 2017 final. The Rio club won a tighter victory than the previous meeting to claim their third national title, while Anchieta downed last year’s finalists Flamengo by six goals to five to take third-place.

pions Vasco da Gama each won their opening matches. On the next matchday, second wins for the same four sides decided them as the semi-finalists with one group stage match still to play, meaning Day 3 consisted of play-offs for the group titles…

The “Trem Bala da Areia” keeps reigning on Brazilian soil, with three titles

The final stage of the Campeonato Brasileiro de Beach Soccer began in Rio on Wednesday 18 November and consisted of eight teams, split into two groups (C and D). In Group C was: América-RN, Anchieta-ES, Confiança-SE and Vasco da Gama-RJ, and in Group D: Flamengo-RJ, Luziânia-DF, Murici-AL and Sampaio Corrêa-MA.

World Winners Cup champions Clube Regatas Flamengo, bolstered by Brazilian internationals Filipe and Rodrigo, as well as 2018’s Best Player Llorenç Gómez, took on Sampaio Corrêa, captained by the MVP-tobe, Datinha.

Day 1 saw the big names come out with early victories, as Anchieta, Sampaio Corrêa, Flamengo and defending cham-

The Tri-Colour came out on top winning by five goals to two, but both sides went through to the knockout stage.

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In the other group, two other impressive rosters faced off on the sands of Rio to decide their opponents in the semi-finals. Intent on defending their 2019 title, Vasco da Gama, featuring more players from the Brazil national team, such as Catarino, Lucão, Mauricinho, Rafa Padliha and Bokinha, took on an Anchieta side who had some powerful Portuguese recruits in the form of twins Leo and Be Martins, as well as both former and current world’s Best Players, Bruno Xavier and Jordan Santos. It was the reigning champions who topped the group after tight 5-4 win, and they secured a semi-final match-up against Flamengo, while Anchieta were set to meet Sampaio Corrêa. The Carioca Clasico was a tightly fought contest, but Vasco da Gama, spearheaded by the clinical Lucão who netted his second hat-trick in the stage, just managed to edge Flamengo by seven goals to six.


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The winner came from an unlikely hero though, as a long-range and late strike from the Cruzmaltino international goalkeeper Rafa Padilha snatched the victory for Vasco da Gama. In the other semi-final the Tricolor de São Pantaleão earned their place in the final alongside the defending champions in another close semi-final, against Anchieta. Datinha once again proved the difference for Sampaio Corrêa, as he scored three and managed to keep the 70 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

Portuguese stars, as well as his national team captain Bruno Xavier, at bay.

Brazilian star Datinha claimed both the MVP and top-scorer awards in the league The star-studded Anchieta had to settle for a third-place play-off against Flamengo, as a rerun of the 2017 final - Sampaio Corrêa versus Vasco da

Gama - was confirmed. The match didn’t not disappoint, as captain Datinha scored twice in the final to keep The Tricolor de São Pantaleão level, not letting Vasco da Gama pull ahead. His second equaliser came in extra time to force penalties, as the match finished at 2-2 after the added three-minutes. Vasco da Gamam eventually managed to retain their throne from the nine-meter mark and they celebrated wildly, while Datinha’s heroics throughout


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the tournament were enough to see him receive two trophies at the award ceremony: the MVP and the Top Scorer award. He did, however, have to share the latter with Vasco’s Lucão, who had led the scoring race all through the final stage of the competition. Both Brazilian internationals scored 11 goals. Lucão’s Vasco teammate Rafa Padilha won Best Goalkeeper, and the Rising Star award went to Gerlan (Sampaio Corrêa). In the third-place play-off, the

2018 and 2019 winners of the Best Player awards - Llorenç (Flamengo) and Jordan Santos (Anchieta) – went head to head to vie for bronze, but it was Anchieta from Espirito Santo who came out on top, winning by a single goal. Flamengo’s women make history A week or so previously, Vasco da Gama had made it all the way to another final: the first ever edition of the women’s Brazil Beach Soccer Cup. However, in another Carioca Clasico,

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Flamengo made history in becoming the first ever winners of a brand new competition, in a new era of beach soccer… Two of Brazil’s biggest clubs went head to head in the match for the women’s national beach soccer title. The match was hotly disputed from beginning to end and was only decided on penalties. The match featured many of the Brazilian national team players, such as Bárbara Colodetti, Noele Bastos, Lelê Villar and BEACHSOCCER.COM I 71


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Dani Barboza, who appeared at the 2019 World Beach Games in Qatar, winning bronze medals. In search of the national title, the Red and Black of Flamengo went after Vasco, but the first half ended goalless. The Cruzmaltino found the breakthrough in the second period and opened the scoring through Suzane. The minutes ticked by for Flamengo, who trailed by a single goal, but they eventually equalised through Noele Bastos in the third period.The teams remained tied until the game went to extra time. As there were no goals,

the tie then spilled over to penalties, where a calm and collected Flamengo came out on top in the penalty shootout, as Bárbara Colodetti, Nadine and Lelê Villar all converted their spotkicks.

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very confident when it came to penalties, I knew I was going to help my team.” she said.

Dani Barboza and Suzanne did the same for Vasco, but the Flamengo goalkeeper Ana Bê saved the third Cruzmaltina strike by captain Jasna to win the historic title.

Thrilled by the achievement, Flamengo coach Gil spoke about the team’s work: “It rewarded our tireless work. The girls put a lot of effort in. I think it was the first game that ended 0-0 in the first period. But this game is about detail and we stepped up and won the title”, he said.

The champions’ heroine goalkeeper spoke after the final: “It was a difficult game on both sides, very heated, but we managed to concentrate. I was

Sampaio, spearheaded by one of the world’s top three players Adriele Rocha, finished in third place after cruising to a 13-0 victory over Ceilândia. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 73


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Revealed the secrets of scoring goals in beach soccer

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ver wondered what a university study would say about beach soccer? A number of researchers from Hartpury University (UK), including Professor Geoff Lovell, analysed tactical aspects of how goals happened in beach soccer, in a study that was published by the Journal Science and Medicine in Football. This is what the study says, as reported by Jonathan Herbert, Media and Communications officer of the Hartpury University: If football superstars Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo ever turn their attentions to the growing sport of beach soccer, the results of a study involving Hartpury University could help to further improve their astonishing goal-scoring records.

How would football superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi do in beach soccer? Would their deadly shots be as effective on the sand? In the first analysis of its kind, a research team that included Professor Geoff Lovell from Hartpury University (UK)*, made a series of breakthrough discoveries about the tactical aspects of the game related to goal-scoring strategy. The importance of free-kick For the study, 12 national teams were analysed across 52 matches in all phases of the 2018 European Beach Soccer League tournament, BEACHSOCCER.COM I 75


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including both the regular phase stages and the Superfinal, held in Alghero (Italy). In beach soccer, each of the two teams plays with a goalkeeper and four outfield players, compared with a goalkeeper and 10 outfield players in regular football. Professor Lovell also said the research team observed that the number of goals scored from a free-kick (39%), at which Leo Messi and Cristtiano Ronaldo are renowned masters of their craft in 11-a-side football, was considerably higher than any other goal-scoring strategy, such as an attacking move or a counterattack in open play. This means that the eleven-a-side aces would kept being prolific forwards in beach soccer, a sport in which the shooting capacities are a definitely key asset for players. That does not mean, at the same time, that they would not find difficulties in developing other sides of the game, such as controlling the ball or moving on such a different surface. The goalkeeper makes the difference As published in the journal Science and Medicine in Football, the study also discovered that those teams who employed the goalkeeper-line strategy, where the goalkeeper plays outfield to serve as a numerical advantage, was associated with increases in scoring opportunities and team performance. Geoff Lovell, Professor in Sports Psychology, said: “The percentage of goals scored in free-kicks in beach soccer are slightly higher compared to previous data in regular 11-a-side football, where studies show the percentage of goals scored from free-kicks range between 27% and 36%. “A plausible explanation for this higher percentage of goals scored from set-plays in beach soccer include the smaller size of the field, which potentially enables a higher frequency of shots from a set-play. “A second potential explanation is that beach soccer match rules are designed to increase the number of shots on goal. “For example, when a free-kick is awarded, teams are not allowed to set up a wall or block a direct shot at goal, unlike in eleven-a-side football. 76 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

“The increased likelihood of free-kicks awarded with no wall and players capable of shooting from any area of the field typically results in a higher frequency of direct shots on goal. “Messi nor Ronaldo may never play in a high-profile beach soccer tournament, but their brilliance at striking a ball from a free-kick situation means there’s absolutely no doubt they’d score lots more goals.” Professor Lovell said the results of the study would better inform beach soccer coaches when implementing training schedules and tactics for upcoming tournaments. This may lead to more goals being scored at the 2021 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Russia, where 16 teams will compete for the world title, currently held by Portugal Professor Lovell said: “Taking into consideration the amount of goals scored from set-plays, it is important for professional beach soccer players to practice isolated free-kick taking from various parts of the field.

The study states that teams who employ the goalkeeper-line strategy have better scoring opportunities and team performance “This finding further highlights the importance for coaching staff to allocate time throughout the training schedule for specific set-play practice. “Beach soccer coaching staff may utilise the goalkeeper-line strategy with greater confidence as very few goals are conceded with the goalkeeper losing possession and likewise, there is a greater chance of the team progressing to later stages of the tournament. “These data inform coaching staff to consider the goalkeepers’ technical ability when making team selections to optimise the goal-scoring potential of the team.” *Research at Hartpury is fully integrated within teaching, with staff research active in the areas in which they teach and many dissertations embedded in larger scale research projects. All research activity either directly or indirectly informs not only current industry practice but also the curriculum.


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The goalkeeper is key in creating goal opportunities in beach soccer, as the study proves.

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‘‘I am really happy and proud to have embraced beach soccer’’ Carlos Xavier

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few weeks ago, beach soccer legend Madjer got to catch up with one of the most well-known beach soccer ambassadors in Portugal, and one of the men behind the formation of the Portuguese National Team: Former Sporting Clube and Real Sociedad star, Carlos Xavier, a man for whom Madjer himself retains a lot of gratitude for, because of how he embraced that project, more than 20 years ago, and all the top-class athletes he brought together. MADJER: Heyyy man! CARLOS XAVIER: Good morning. How are you? Good! And you? I’m good. Have you been training a lot? Yes, I have... But at the table… Me too. I’m training with the frying pan a lot… First of all, I would like to thank you for being here, for sharing your experience, and thank all the former players who embraced this project at the beginning. You are the true ambassadors, if there are many people who make a living from beach soccer today, it is thanks to you. We will always have you to thank.

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Yes, without a doubt, it was a start. We were the pioneers. I remember that Mario Jorge, Humberto and myself were invited to a meeting with the company that brought beach soccer to Portugal, and we formed a team of former footballers and other players from futsal. We brought together a team and, after the first experience, we had the feeling that something really had to be done. We called new players and that was where you showed up, like others such as Chiquinho, who had fantastic abilities…

‘‘After the first experience of beach soccer, we knew something had to be done to develop it…”

After that, also Hernani, Nunes, Joao Dorio things started moving on. It was a great moment. Later, it became something more serious. At that time, there was no direct connection with the Federation. That happened later, when I was no longer playing, but we were European champions in Syracuse, Italy. It really was a spectacular moment. At that point, there were some important teams like Spain and Italy, who also called ex-football players for the sport. Spain had a fantastic selection of ex-players like Quique Setién, Joaquin Alonso, Abel… Then Amarelle, like you, the youngsters joined and kept the sport evolving.


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Sporting Clube de Portugal and Real Sociedad (Spain) have been Carlos Xavier’s most important clubs

Let’s go back a little further… Tell us a bit about your professional career. OK, I was born in Mozambique. I came to Portugal when I was 12 years old and I played several sports. When we arrived, as my father was a former student at Casa Pia, my brother and I went to play there in the youth categories. We stayed there for two years in the youngest categories and then one year at the youth team. In the second year with the youth teams, through some friends, we read in a newspaper that Sporting were holding trials and we went for the adventure, all together. We were all there, I was lucky to have a good training, because there were 300 boys in that training session and then I was invited for another one, then another one… And my story at Sporting began, until 1991. After that, I went to 80 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

Spain to play for Real Sociedad and I returned to Sporting in 94. I played for two more years until 96, during which we won the Portuguese Cup in 95 and I ended my career in 96. I had many marvelous years at Sporting.

“ I was lucky that Malcolm Alisson believed in me when I was only 20 ”

Since we are talking about your professional football career, what is your most vivid memory as a professional footballer? I have many memories. The first one, obviously, was my debut in the team, I scored a goal playing as a midfielder. In the game in which I said goodbye, I also scored a goal, it was against Chaves at home. And my last game, it was a


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I was there…

You already told me how Beach Soccer came into your life… Let me ask you in another way. Did you imagine when you started, that beach soccer could have the success it has today?

But I have many good moments, the first championship I won (1981/1982) when I was 20 years old with coach Malcolm Alisson, who was a coach that had a big impact on me because, at that time, few coaches supported new players, and I was lucky to have him trusting in me. He saw my qualities and gave me confidence… I played alongside great players, like Eurico or Zezinho and I didn’t feel out of my depth. From that moment, I just kept working to make things happen. Always through effort… You know well how things happen: you have to work, have confidence, humility and I managed to enjoy a beautiful career.

We never imagined it. When we started, it was very amateur, there weren’t many competitions and not so many local Federations, in each country, supporting the sport. But I remember that it was very important for the former players to take part, and I remember in the Brazilian team there were players like Junior, Claudio Adão. Romário also played… and they really kept this initiative going. They had been playing for a long time already, but we hadn’t. I remember that when we started playing, we went to practice in September, at Carcavelos beach, almost October, it was cold and we trained in socks, something no one does today.

bad memory for all of us, against Benfica at the National Stadium, my last official game and I also scored a penalty…

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Playing with a brother is special... Imagine playing with a twin.

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The sand was cold and wet… And after that we went to Brazil where it was 40 degrees, it was a big difference. There wasn’t much preparation. But these first steps were very important. Then, when BSWW really arrived, with Joan [Cusco], things received a new perspective. Beach soccer became more professional, even with expectations of becoming an Olympic sport. Today, it has a truly global dimension and I think that BSWW in this sense has a lot of importance, because they have worked with rigour and professionalism, and this is the only way that this modality could succeed. Nowadays, you talk to any child or person who likes sports and they talk without a doubt about beach soccer, because it is attractive, it is flashy, it is beautiful, a show. Today, it is a professional modality, that requires a lot of dedication and effort and that is why, today, Portugal is well connected with the sport - and all thank to you, without a doubt.

“ I remember practicing in socks… October in Carcavelos was cold! ”

The next question is related to that. I don’t like to talk about me, but how did you view my career and Alan’s career? The players who were the youngest at the beginning. How would you analyse our careers and this continuation of what you started? Like I said, it was important to make progress, as we were already reaching a certain age and we knew we weren’t going to play for much longer. The arrival of Alan was very important. Who already knew the sport and some Brazilian coaches to really teach us the techniques of Beach Soccer… It was essential to get players who could continue the work already done, and this is Madjer’s case. You suddenly appeared with all the skills that you had, you “flew” on the sand, I remember at the time of Jorginho and Nenem, you were at their same level, in terms of coordination, running on the sand, which you know is not easy, because you were slim, with a good shot - not good …VERY good shot… And on top of that, that humility you had to keep growing, to keep learning… When I stopped playing, Hernani became the captain, and after him, you became the captain. But no one has replaced you. Your partnership with Alan was really important for the success of the Portuguese team. Unfortunately, Alan BEACHSOCCER.COM I 83


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is a little older than you. He ended his career a little earlier than you, but I really think that you and Alan made that Portugal team play better. When the team needed to something on the pitch, they looked for Alan and you. You kept growing and became the player who you are, the best in the world several times and I am grateful for that, because I had some participation in that choice… You had a lot of participation! You lived close by, very close to me, and today, you are the ambassador of this sport, you have a fantastic job ahead of you, not only in Portugal, but in terms of UEFA and FIFA. Now that we are talking about playing on the sand, after so many years of high level football, how did you adapt to beach soccer? At that time, it was not difficult because we knew that it wasn’t necessary to run after the ball too much. But at that time, we saw Brazil playing and they almost didn’t run at all and they just played here, played there, but there was no running after the ball. It took me some time to recreate this practice, but it became easy because playing beach soccer involves your technique, and those who have less technique need to adapt, because the ball doesn’t roll like it does on the grass. It wasn’t difficult for me, the only difficult thing was my age, and keeping up with the Madjers or Amarelles and the new players was difficult, but in terms of adaptation I think I adapted very well. I have to tell you that – and it’s not because I’m talking to you right now - but whenever I talk to Alan, we always say that you were one of the most technically evolved players that we ever played with. I remember perfectly that you used to place the ball on the sand and put it anywhere you wanted. We always say that you made us shine a lot with your precise passes. Well, sometimes the difficult thing was to be able to put the ball on the sand and then the technique of kicking the ball with the tip of your toes, or with the part under the sole were techniques that we acquired as we evolved our technical beach soccer qualities.

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Obviously, when it comes to physical strength, for those who train on the grass and then train on the sand it feels much harder, but those who transfer from sand to grass feel very light on grass. You feel very light and the strength you gain on the sand in relation to the grass is incredible, so in physical terms it helped a lot. But, above all, the technical aspects was what I applied the most on the field. I was not a quick player, but I controlled my part of the pitch.

“ Being crowned European champions in Syracuse is my best memory in beach soccer ”

Tell me something ... now in this new generation we have Bê and Léo [Martins], you played with your twin. So tell me what it feels like to play with a twin brother and actually in your case it was even more than that, you were playing as one of three brothers, so how was the experience, the sensation of playing with them? It was an easy feeling, because we had played together since we were kids, we knew each other on the field very well and often we would just whistle each other. When he whistled, I knew that he was free and that I just needed to pass the ball, but we always understood each other very well. Although now in the games I see that Leo and his brother do not play together often, that it is also good to keep the same good quality as the team. But it is always nice to have the family by your side, especially on the pitch. But now there is more pressure too, right? Yes, everyone’s behaviour is fundamental. At the time I remember when Pedro came, and he saw the strict rules, that we had to go to bed earlier etc. He couldn’t take it. Everyone was out there at the pool, partying and he was thinking, “what am I doing here?” So, he went out then he came back to the room later. This also happened because of the friendships and the environment itself were part of beach soccer. When things started to be much more demanding in terms of professionalism, there were people who could not accept it enough, because they were used to seeing the others being restricted much less. They saw examples of others who did the same thing and won. We


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Between 1991 and 1994, Carlos Xavier played for Spain’s Real Sociedad, where he scored 13 goals

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actually did it in a different way but it was good that it happened. Perhaps we would not have had the success that we had, but we do. It’s evolution, this is due to the normal evolution… Now the most difficult thing is to have a very good team and continue to keep up with the same team looking for new players, recruiting players who are at the same level, you know that beach soccer is not like that, it is not that suddenly a player appears who arrives and shows what they really are, it is not easy, you need solid work and you also have a very important role to play in that sense, recruiting new talents and at the same time the team cannot feel that they are weaker.

“ Beach soccer is a sport

that will never die, because it is very beautiful to watch...” Well, listening to your words, how do you see the future of the sport, not only in Portugal, but in the world? We know that this modality is a modality that lives off sponsorship. Because, if you want to see an event in your country, above all you have to have strong organisation. It is a good thing that the Federation is on top of everything so sponsors are important to keep this modality active and I believe that here the conditions we have in terms of sand, beaches and climate, I think Portugal is one of the countries that has all the conditions to continue, in a big way. This is what I think, it is a sport that will never die, right? I hope so, because it’s beautiful to watch. Well, Portugal even has its own conditions, but we know that in economic terms money speaks louder in that sense, and thanks to the fact that BSWW is thoroughly backing, these things become easier to accomplish. Ok, let’s close with a golden key, tell us your best memory in beach soccer, or best memories? My first great memory was when we went to Brazil for the first time. We were training here in the winter and we went to Brazil in the sum86 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

mer, with 40 degrees. Humberto Coelho was the coach and I was the captain. We arrived at the beach and we saw some guys playing with a ball, and we called them over and said, “Hey, can you get a team of five to do a training match with us?” They came to play with us and we couldn’t get past the midfield, it was so embarrassing. Because it was in in 1998 when I joined you for the first time and Ica had already joined, right? Ica only went to Figueira when we got back from Brazil. He didn’t play there. In Brazil we went to train with on the beach and we almost didn’t reach the middle of the pitch. Humberto spoke with me and said, “Xavi, tomorrow, you will be both coach and player.” (both laugh) It was a very beautiful experience. I remember that we beat Japan 7-1 and we lost the other games. After that, it was when we took attacking more seriously and recruited better, and that’s when the team got much stronger. And then another good moment was when we went to Syracuse. We were European champions and it was the most remarkable moment in beach soccer for me because it was the first time that we were champions. Well, I would like to thank you for sharing your time. You were without a doubt one of the main reasons that beach soccer in Portugal is what it is today. I don’t only speak about my career, but because you were one of the fathers of the sport.It’s been a long time, but I’m glad you say that… I am very grateful. And I hope, that… taking what you just said, that the people who were part of the sport back in the day get truly involved and embrace new projects and competitions and stay connected to them, so I hope to see you soon with us. Also thank you for this invitation to be here with you and to share some fantastic moments which we’ve lived through beach soccer and also being part of your great career, I am very proud of that. You know where I am, my fried... Always! A big hug A big hug for you, too.


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Sand Talk

The Beach Soccer Podcast is out now!

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re you a fan of beach soccer? Are you a fan of podcasts? Well we have some great news for you - Beach Soccer Worldwide has launched a new podcast! The first episode of Sand Talk – The Beach Soccer Podcast is available to download now! The show is hosted by Beach Soccer Worldwide Content Manager, Matt Mills, and beach soccer commentator, Mark Pendergast. Join them as they discuss, review and preview the latest from the world of our wonderful sport, as well as behind the scenes glimpmes and interviews with the biggest names in beach soccer. Sand Talk – The Beach Soccer Podcast is available on seven different podcast platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Don’t forget to leave a review!

Have you listened to Sand Talk – The Beach Soccer Podcast yet? The first episode features interviews from the world’s top beach soccer players, including 2018’s Best Player Llorenç and German talisman Christian Biermann, as well as reviews of the latest beach soccer events, the Euro Beach Soccer League and the Euro Winners Cups, which took place in Portugal in September. On top of that we’ll have the latest news and discussion from across the beach soccer universe, including national championships and the upcoming events. BEACHSOCCER.COM I 89


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IQONIQ becomes the official beach soccer fan engagement platform

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each Soccer World Wide is proud to announce a key strategical partnership agreement with IQONIQ, which becomes the official beach soccer fan engagement platform on a multi-year deal. This new relationship, which will begin immediately and last for the next three seasons, makes IQONIQ the exclusive official fan engagement and loyalty platform for all the Beach Soccer World Wide-organized competitions. IQONIQ is a new social media and fan engagement platform that targets the world of sport and entertainment from a unique perspective. IQONIQ’s varied and dynamic all-in-one app creates a whole new experiential ecosystem that provides fans with a more personalized, stimulant and interactive approach, in which they obtain rewards, exclusive content, in-app games and special merchandise and ticketing offers following a detailed engagement loyalty program, thus strengthening the way they relate with their favorite stars, teams and clubs. Launching in February 2021, IQONIQ has already reached worldwide agreements with big sports properties such as LaLiga, Euroleague Basketball, McLaren Racing, Olympique Marseille, AS Monaco or Real Sociedad, amongst others. This strategical agreement reinforces Beach Soccer World Wide’s commitment with its fanbase, exploring new ways to give supporters a much more intense and direct conversation with the sport, its athletes and teams. “Beach soccer is a sport with a huge potential, with a strong connection with its supporters, both inside and outside the stadium. It is very important for us to have the chance to work with such a unique sport” Kazim Atilla, CEO and founder of IQONIQ, said. In turn, Joan Cusco, BSWW president:“Our task is to promote and develop beach soccer and engaging with our fans is a always priority, because they play a key role in our sport.” BEACHSOCCER.COM I 91


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Madjer makes The Guinness Book of Records The Portuguese beach soccer legend holds the record for most goals at a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

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he 2021 edition of The Guinness Book of Records features many famous faces, but one is just a little bit more familiar to beach soccer fans...

Alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Norwegian wonderkid Erling Haaland and the World Cup winning women’s USA team is our very own Madjer. His goal against Nigeria in a 10-1 win at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay, helped the Portuguese beach soccer superstar claim the record of most goals in the competition. His final tally, after retiring from beach soccer at the age of 42 last year having won the world championship for a second time, sits at an impressive 88, currently the most by any player. Madjer accumulated this impressive total over no less that nine appearances in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which is held every two years. On Instagram, Madjer commented: “I am so proud to be in The Guinness Book of Records as the top scorer in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup (88). I’m hopeful that this record will be broken by another athlete from Portugal.”

Madjer, in the tunnel before a game at the last FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019. (Photo: fifa.com)

Madjer’s last action on the beach soccer pitch was to lift the biggest prize of all, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, and since retiring he has taken up a role in the development of the sport with the Portuguese Football Federation (Federação Portuguesa de Futebol). BEACHSOCCER.COM I 93


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BSWW joins the Universo Mujer program to empower women’s beach soccer Through this collaboration, BSWW and the Spanish FA will strengthen the women’s beach soccer development plan in Spain

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each Soccer World Wide has taken a new step in its determined support of women’s sport, and have joined forces with Universo Mujer, a government program in Spain which aims to support women in sport as a mechanism of social change.  Beach Soccer World Wide’s women’s beach soccer development program has been awarded the Universo Mujer seal, which will allow the creation synergies with the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) in order to develop women’s beach soccer growth plan in the country, and increase the already-impressive talent on the Spanish beach soccer stage.   The program included measures and plans like economical support to athletes, the promotion of women’s beach soccer events in Spain or training camps and clinics for young beach soccer players, amongst many other initiatives.   

The plan includes measures such as economical support for athletes, event promotion and training programs

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improving the social transformation through the values in sport. This program, moreover, is set to boost the possibilities of the Spain’s National Beach Soccer side, a team that has been performing at very high level during these last seasons, including a brilliantly achieved Golden medal at the World Beach Games held in Doiha (Qatar) last year. The national competitions will also gain a lot of syrength through this program, which will make sure the talent is dealt with in the most efficient and poroductive way. Beach Soccer World Wide remain highly committed to strengthening women’s beach soccer, and with this new agreement, the next steps will be taken in the near future.  Although the number of competitions has been affected this year by the Covid-19 pandemic, beach soccer has seen new teams and players join the sport, with a new European champion, BSC Mriya 2006, a newcomer to the international stage. 

Beach Soccer World Wide makes yet another step in the work to develop the women’s game Joan Cusco, BSWW President “This agreement with Universo Mujer is another important step in our process of empowering the women’s game. From our side, we have been increasing the number and scale women’s competitions, and we have happily witnessed the number of participants grow. Such an agreement will help the Spanish Football Association improve their women’s beach soccer program, which will definitely benefit the sport.” Diego Martínez, President of the RFEF Beach Soccer Committee.  “Women’s beach soccer is always a main priority for the RFEF. By entering the Universo Mujer program, we will increase our possibilities to keep fostering the growth of women’s beach soccer, as well as to keep giving our athletes the best conditions to train, compete, and to keep achieving new goals both at a national and an international level.” 96 I BEACHSOCCER.COM


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Genius Sports Group becomes BSWW’s Official Betting Data & Video Partner 10-year exclusive partnership to connect Beach Soccer Worldwide with sportsbooks around the world

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each Soccer Worldwide has formed an exclusive long-term partnership with Genius Sports Group, the leading provider of sports data and technology powering the sports, betting and media ecosystem. BSWW has partnered with Genius Sports Group to drive the development of its sport, commercialising over 500 games per year with the regulated betting industry. Across the Mundialito de Clubes, Euro Winners Cup and Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup and other major events played around the world, Genius Sports Group has been granted the exclusive rights to distribute live data and broadcasts (define what kind of broadcast?) to its global network of over 150 sportsbook partners. Joan Cusco, BSWW President, highlighted the important step this agreement means. “With this partnership, beach soccer enters in a whole new era, in which the value of our data and stats can significantly contribute to boost the experience beach soccer offers its fans, at the time it gives Genius the possibility of exploring a unique sport. We are absolutely sure that this agreement will bring exciting new possibilities in the coming years”, he said. Sean Conroy, Commercial Director at Genius Sports Group, said: “As a global technology business, we pride ourselves on providing our sports and betting partners alike with valuable solutions and round-the-clock content. We’re excited to expand our global partnership network into beach soccer and look forward to playing a pivotal role in the BSWW’s expansion over the next decade.” BEACHSOCCER.COM I 99


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How conditions on grass scream for beach skills By Tighe O’Sullivan,

NorCal BSC President and beach soccer coach

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his is a retread of thought to think about coming out of Covid-19 and wanting to get the most and best out our your players quickly. For more, the longer version breaks much more in regards to physiology, strength, conditions, and skill.  But, this is a good blurb to open the mind a bit… Beach Soccer emphasizes everything players don’t train on the grass, and with what we do, it adds an incredibly different element changing the players perspective.  Earlier kids are mastering the “three small toes” for scooping and flicking to teammates and essentially giving them great familiarity with addressing flighted balls.  Not to mention greater strength and comfort in passing/striking using the outside of the foot. Whether we are speaking to better balance, concentration, composure, or striking the ball off the uneven surface the beach offers a plethora of opportunities for technical and tactical ideas which are new and challenging to a young player thirsting for greater knowledge.  This while creating greater interest and increased motivation.  Players cannot hide in the sand and must move, so the effort you will see from your players will also surprise most coaches at first.  Then they can use this to their advantage in a multitude of ways which will improve learning and the excitement of new challenges and skills which have not been tried in the grass…including the bike kick!

Beach Soccer creates an alternative way of thinking and approaching the game Ko Ishikawa, a Bolivian, Tahuichi 80’s/90’s player, in the era of Marco Etcheverry, and now coach of the Japanese Profession team Tokyo Lequios LD once commented to me, “Of all the types of futbol one can compete, Beach Soccer more than any other, by far takes the most technique, and is without a doubt, the most tactical and strategic one can play“. So simply BEACHSOCCER.COM I 101


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putting them in the sand in a fun environment not only creates an alternative way of thinking and approaching the game, but in turn makes them stronger, faster, and smarter when they return to the grass. The presentation continued by introducing specific rules needed to be understood, as well as what a 2 hour progressive technical/tactical training session could look like, in the sand. It addressed the importance of the goalkeeper, who is considered the quarterback and most important player on the team, as well as the emphasis needed on set pieces and the importance of the composure needed to be taught not to foul.  It wrapped up with videos and illustrations on how to begin to teach your players how to bike and/or overhead kick.  This is not only fun for the kids, but from my personal experience of over 25 years of coaching on the grass it leads to more fantastic goals from your players as their confidence and concentration of meeting the ball skyrockets with this introduction and continued practice of this skill. Their bodies will move and adjust in ways you will have never seen before introducing them to the beach.

Beach Soccer as sport requires more technical skill We have gone into decent depth in regards to explaining how there are so many benefits to introducing your young players to the technique and tactics of beach soccer. We can all honestly understand this and know the fact it’s a fun and alternative way to get more out of your players.  Not to mention, the proven bonding experiences we have seen from clubs coming to a tournament in force with 20 or more teams as the chance for the club to come together closer as a community with a weekend on the beach.  But outside of the obvious, what other practical ways can these skills truly be those sharp new set of tools to be taken out of the shed? In speaking to one of the Directors of Coaching in California about beach soccer he stated I was speaking to the choir.  Josh Kalkstein, Technical Director of Soccer Operations at Marin FC Alliance, reminded me how in the community we no longer play in water bogged fields.  Whether this is due to field turf conversions, or because the new generation of players don’t get their “feet wet” like they used to, it was clear

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where he was heading. He described a recent trip his Northern Californian team took to a DA (US Development Academy) showcase competition in June of last year in Indiana.  On the last day of the event it was pouring rain and the field was more than ankle-deep with water.  The players were at a total loss as they tried to kick the ball harder throughout the first half, which we all know simply just wears them out,  with more frustration than progress. It was clear to him the other teams based on the east coast had more experience playing in those conditions.  At halftime he explained how he tried to tell the players they needed to get the ball off the ground, out of the mud and water, and keep the ball in the air.  The players were amiss and the logic just didn’t settle in as they had never been trained in a way to lift the ball and carry on in the air.  But with his advice and constant reminders they picked up on it in the 2nd half and improved their play.  But, the reality was it was June in Indiana, and who would have thought, as they didn’t have rain gear as they were fatigued and frozen to the bone by the end of the first half with more interest in the hot shower at the hotel than getting the result. He clearly stated if his players had ever trained in the sand and developed those techniques then the ideas he was expressing would not have been foreign to them.  Kalkstein believes they definitely would have had more success and quite frankly fun playing in a difficult environment if they were not fatigued by half time.  Having played on the beach himself over the last few decades he hopes to see greater emphasis as he realized how much it would have helped his team. This funny enough was a new concept even to myself which I could not help but include as yet another practical illustration on why the fundamentals of beach soccer help improve a player.  The ability to play with a different frame of mind gives them a sharp advantage over other players who have not.  Maybe if they had the experience of lifting and scooping they would have been able to maintain more strength throughout the match?  Maybe they will get the chance to find out in the future?  It is not difficult to understand the advantage a team would have in those conditions with beach skills.

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CBF unveil new beach soccer course The Brazilian Football Confederation will begin the Licença B - Beach Soccer in December 2020

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big step in the development of beach soccer has been taken in the sport’s homeland of Brazil.

The CBF (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol) have outlined details of a brand new beach soccer course, which will be held from 8 December 2020 until 19 January 2021. The Licença B - Beach Soccer will take place in the birthplace of beach soccer, Rio de Janeiro, and is now accepting applications. The course will run for a total of 155 hours, broken down into 115 hours of theoretical and practical study, 10 hours of special studies and tutoring, as well as 30 hours of Monitoring and Observation of mandatory supervised training. Subjects included in the course include: Beach Soccer History, Evolution and Rules, Nutrition Applied to Beach Soccer and Beach Soccer Goalkeeper Training. For more information on the Licença B - Beach Soccer course, head to the CBF website in the link below. Source: cbf.com.br BEACHSOCCER.COM I 105


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Destination

NAZARÉ W

e wanted to open this new section of BAREFOOT: The Beach Soccer Mag with Nazaré, for obvious reasons. The Portuguese resort has become one of most important beach soccer hotspots in the world in recent years. Everybody loves it, and it occupies a very special place in the hearts of every beach soccer fan. This year, moreover, Nazaré rescued us from an international beach soccer drought, hosting three great (and very safe) competitions amid the global Covid-19 pandemic. We will always be thankful for that.

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Fan Pics

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n this section, we highlight a few of our favourite beach soccer snaps that you guys have been taking all over the world… Do you want to be featured in this page? Use #iambeachsoccer and #beachsoccer hashtags in your beach soccer snaps and you might appear in the next edition of BAREFOOT: The Beach Soccer Mag!

Doesn’t this awesome shot by @mdahdal just fill your heart with beach soccer warmth?! @mdahdal

You, your friend, an empty beach and a beach soccer ball… our idea of heaven. @theafchub

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FC Köln star Mandy Islaker showing off sweet beach soccer skills on the beach. What do you call this trick in your country? @womensoccerskills

General rule: if it’s cold enough for hats, it’s cold enough for socks! But it’s never too cold for beach soccer! @d.wenin_newteam12

We call this one: “The Masked Striker” - you can’t be too careful nowadays! @laygalaofficial

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Abu Azeez Nigeria

Best memory in beach soccer? Beating Brazil 9-4 in Copa Lagos 2011 Favourite country/city you’ve travelled to with beach soccer? Bahamas in 2017 Favourite beach soccer event of all time? Copa Lagos 2011 Toughest opponent (player)? Jordan Santos Best friend/team mate? Ibenegbu Ikechukwu Favourite (idol) athlete/sportsman/sportswoman? Mesut Ozil and Evelyn Akhator Favourite actor/actress? Jim Iyke and Genevieve Nnaji Favourite movie? Merry Men Favourite song? Hip hop but I like all music. Favourite book? Ikwerreman The Book Favourite food? Bread and beans Place you would most like to visit? I would love to go to Spain Most used Emoji on WhatsApp? The smilie Most embarrassing moment in your life? Last year, when I captained the team in the World Cup and we lost every game against Brazil, Portugal and Oman What do you always carry in your suitcase? My chargers for my gadgets! What do you always bring to the stadium? My phone and headphones to listen to motivational music

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Colodetti Brazil

Best memory in beach soccer? Winning the bronze medal with the Brazilian national team last year Favourite country/city you’ve travelled to with beach soccer? I always love to travel to Italy Favourite beach soccer event of all time? I really love the Euro Winners Cup but the World Beach Games in Doha was special Toughest opponent (player)? I think (Anna) Cherniakova, (Molly) Clark and (Andrea) Miron… and Adri (Adriele Rocha), my teammate! Best friend/team mate? Lele Villar and Lele Lopes Favourite (idol) athlete/sportsman/sportswoman? Marta (Vieira da Silva) Favourite actor/actress? Meryll Streep Favourite movie? Hidden Figures and The Theory of Everything Favourite song? I don’t have a specific song but I love pop and samba Favourite book? The Secret Favourite food? Brazilian food! Place you would most like to visit? There are many but I think Greece and Thailand Most used Emoji on WhatsApp? Smile Most embarrassing moment in your life? I don’t remember a specific one but funny moments with translation always happen What do you always carry in your suitcase? My camera. I love taking pictures of the places I travel to What do you always bring to the stadium? Face towel BEACHSOCCER.COM I 111


Coming Up

Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2020 March 2021 The 2020 Intercontinental Cup is scheduled to take place in March of 2021, of course following the international directives by the global health authorities. The strong commitment by Dubai Sports Council will see the amazing city of Dubai continue with its position as the global beach soccer epicentre. The Covid-19 pandemic forced Beach Soccer Worldwide to a reduced version of our calendar, but the tenth edition of one of the main features in the beach soccer year, the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai, will go ahead just a few months after its usual slot in November, after the great work put together jointly by the Dubai Sports Council and Beach Soccer Worldwide. The eight-team competition, considered the 112 I BEACHSOCCER.COM

most prestigious yearly competition in the world, will touch down on Dubai’s Kite Beach in March, and national sides from all over the world will return to one of beach soccer’s stronghold cities to do battle for the Intercontinental crown. It will be the tenth Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup to take place on Emirati sand and the success over the last nine editions have been equally shared by Iran, Brazil and Russia, each holding three titles; can one of them break the stalemate in March? Moreover, the eleventh (2021) edition should also take place in a return to routine in November of 2021, meaning that we will be treated to two editions in a single year.


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BAREFOOT: The Beach Soccer Mag - Issue 14  

A brand-new edition of everyone's favourite beach soccer mag is back - with a slick new design! Read all about the latest developments from...

BAREFOOT: The Beach Soccer Mag - Issue 14  

A brand-new edition of everyone's favourite beach soccer mag is back - with a slick new design! Read all about the latest developments from...