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Football, sun, beach – what more could you ask for? – Right! There are some interesting information about kicking in the sand that you should know.
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Beach Soccer – the facts:
Beach Soccer is a different kind of football game and has its own rules. There’s even a professional league of its own and it’s where famous footballers have ended their careers. Eric Cantona (former national player of France), Romario, Junior and Zico (all former national players of Brazil), Julio Salinas (former national player of Spain), Alessandro Altobelli (former national player of Italy) played in the Beach Soccer national teams.
Beach Soccer World Championship
How could it be otherwise? Beach soccer was born in Brazil. It’s great to play on the country’s beautiful beaches. In Brazil there are many enthusiastic kickers who use every free space for a game.
The first official tournament took place in Brazil in 1957. Since 2005 there has even been an official FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Brazil has won 4 FIFA World Cups, one in France (2005) and one in Russia (2011) at the 6 FIFA World Cups played so far. In 2013 another FIFA World Cup will take place, this time in Tahiti from 8 to 28 September.
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By the way, Germany has never qualified for the World Cup. In 2013, the following national beach soccer teams from EUROPA will be taking part: Netherlands, Spain, Russia and Ukraine.
In Germany Beach Soccer is not as popular as in other countries, but there is also a league. You won’t find well-known club teams in this league, where the teams are not FC Bayern Munich or Hamburger Sport Verein, but for example: Lords of the Ball, Beach Boys Kassel, Die wilden Jungs, Die Tigerenten or Los Diablos de la Playa (which means “The devils from the beach” – if they know “Die Teufelskicker”?).
Of course you play on sand and barefoot. The playing field is 35-37 meters long and 26-28 meters wide. The goals are 5.50 meters wide and 2.20 meters high, which is about the same as the goals you know from youth soccer of the G to D youth.
It is played with 5 players each (4 field players, 1 goalkeeper). Plus 5 substitutes, who can be substituted at any time. One game lasts 36 minutes. These 36 minutes are not divided into two halves as usual, but into three thirds. Thus 3 x 12 minutes are played.
Time play is by the way very difficult with Beach Soccer, since there is a special 5 second rule for back passes, throw-ins, free kicks etc..
Have you ever played football on the beach? If so, then you have surely noticed how exhausting a game is in the sand. No wonder, after all, the sand is deep and your feet sink into the ground every time you kick. So you need a lot more muscle power to move quickly.
Another problem is the uneven surface, not comparable to a lawn or even artificial turf. The ball control is extremely difficult and you need a good technique to play the ball correctly.
Flat passes are hard to calculate and if you don’t have a good feel for the ball, you will have problems with beach soccer. But if you kick more often on the beach, for example on holiday, then your feeling for the ball will be trained and you will also get better on the normal playing field. Just try it out at the next opportunity.
That’s why beach soccer is so popular in Brazil
Beach soccer is popular, there are regular league games and superstars. The enthusiasm for beach soccer has also captured World Cup fans from many nations.
Football is played on the beaches of Salvador, Fortaleza or Rio de Janeiro. Teams of World Cup fans from all over the world spontaneously form there across all nationalities and religions. In Rio de Janeiro this even happens at night when the mighty floodlights illuminate the Copacabana beach. Dutchmen, Germans, Englishmen and Argentina play multicultural tournaments together on its countless squares, spontaneously and out of sheer pleasure in sport. “That has a certain magic,” says Rodriguez from Buenos Aires, who won’t forget the players with bare feet on sand: “You only experience something like this at a World Cup. With the rivalries among club fans, such a thing would not be possible. That would quickly turn into violence.”
In the evening light, the Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro’s most famous beach, turns into a huge outdoor fitness arena. Soccer and volleyball schools as well as fitness trainers take over the wide, four-kilometer-long stretch of beach until late at night. Nets, goals and hats suddenly appear everywhere. The coaches give commands, whistle, shout, clap and praise.
Beach football has a remarkably high status in Brazil. This is also due to the fact that it unites people from different social strata. Marcus, one of the directors of the Flamengo Beach School, one of the most famous beach soccer schools, explains: “Whether a child comes from one of the richer areas or from a slum, they are all treated the same here at school. The Flamengo School is now expanding throughout the country, and there is even a branch in Manaus. These kinds of schools are comparable to club life in Germany: in Brazil, football and marksman clubs are the Samba and the football school.
The rugged Atlantic coast is thousands of kilometres long, a virtually inexhaustible reservoir of natural football pitches. But kicking on the beach is by no means just fun. When the organized league calls on the weekend, then the competition is in the foreground. Nothing distinguishes the teams from their competitors on the green lawn. Everyone wears jerseys, there are serious referees and even the coaches despair on the sidelines just like their colleagues in the stadium. The organised championship attracts many fans, but only the superstars get really rich. That Brazilian teams dominated the unofficial Club World Cup at Copacabana last November is therefore no surprise. The Corinthians of São Paulo won the “Mundialito de Clubes”, while FC Barcelona and AC Milan were left in the back.
Football schools such as the world-class beach kicker Junior Negão or Flamengo are popular. Of course, this is also a small business. The name Negao is easy to market, many children want to be as famous as the great idol. Negao’s school is expanding, only a few months ago he opened another branch in Manaus, although the Amazon city is not at all on the beach. The big clubs such as CR Vasco da Gama, FC Santos, Flamengo Rio de Janeiro or Corinthians São Paulo, all of which have their own beach teams, also take their enthusiasm for beach soccer into account.