BEACH SOCCER’S NEW HOMES
he 2016 season has seen beach soccer conquer new frontiers, with top-class international events happening in all corners of the world.
This season, 25 international competitions have shaped the Beach Soccer calendar, with events happening in 16 different countries. And this is without counting, of course, the numerous international friendly games and national championships held across the globe. Out of these 16 countries, five new venues have joined beach soccer’s world tour, adding their individual flavour and special colour... their unique sounds, their very personal touch. The first newcomer to the beach soccer circuit was Sal Island, in Cape Verde. The Sal Beach Soccer Cup, held between April 29th and May 1st, became a colourful and exotic beach soccer festival that offered a clear reminder, if one were needed, what Africa can offer to the sport. Some weeks later, one of the most important capitals in Europe, the Serbian city of Belgrade, hosted a magnificent Euro Beach Soccer Cup from June 24th to 26th. The three-day event will be remembered as the first ever toplevel beach soccer experience ever to be hosted in Serbia, and also offered the first chapter of what promises to be an exciting new relationship. Still in Europe, Sanxenxo, in Spain’s northwest coast, hosted the second phase of the Euro Beach Soccer League from July 8th to 10th. Galicia has always been considered one of the cradles of the sport in Spain, home to beach soccer maestro Ramiro Amarelle, amongst others, and the event mirrored that, exceeding all expectations. Indeed, star La Liga footballers Denis Suarez and Iago Aspas, of Barcelona and Celta Vigo respectively, stopped by to catch a glimpse of the action. Besides Spain, Portugal has always been a country where beach soccer enjoys great recognition and a friendly welcome. And Carcavelos beach in Cascais was home this year to one of the longest-lasting and most prestigious competitions, the Mundialito, staged between July 29th and 31st. Alongside the traditional event was the first ever Women’s Euro Beach Soccer Cup, as the new competition rounded a beach soccer weekend to be remembered. One of the countries that has been most active in hosting beach soccer events of late, China, offered a new venue in Ordos. Close to the border with Mongolia, Ordos was the setting for the first ever Continental Tournament, featuring some of the premier teams in Asia. In the new year, we will open a new page in the sport´s history, with hundreds of possibilities for beach soccer. Where will the sport head next?