Soccer adds to beach fun

SUN, surf, sand and now seemingly soccer are the key components of having a ball on the beach.

That is if any of the fun and games at the inaugural Youth Beach Soccer tournament on Kirra beach last week are any- thing to go by.

The 18- team round-robin event featured 10-15 year-olds from throughout Australia and New Zealand, but there were none better than age division winners Currumbin (who beat Mullumbimby 6-3 in the under-11s), Canberra (who smashed Tasmania 6-2 in the under-13s) and Real Boys (who edged out Coolangatta 4-3 in the under-15s).

Following rules similar to those of traditional soccer, just on a smaller pitch with fewer (five) players, each of the victors brought their A-game and impressed the gathered crowds.

“It was a very successful event,” co-ordinators Alan and Luis Marquez said.

“There were some really talented young players and everyone enjoyed themselves.”

The event was brought to the region by Jeff Kemp from Kirra SLSC and Mudgeeraba Soccer Club as a sub-tournament to accompany the Gold Coast Soccer Champions Cup, which he also co-ordinates.

Despite being a relatively new sport, beach soccer is growing at a rapid rate across Australia, with a National Federation being set up to help promote and develop the sport.

Beach soccer's potential is not limited to just a national competition, as many believe its success overseas could bring international competitors to Australia.

“We have some of the best beaches in the world, and the beach, with its fields laid out, looked magnificent,” said Mike Thies, spokesman for connecting Southern Gold Coast Ltd.

“The massive economic impact the sport has on places like San Diego and Brazil proves how big beach soccer is overseas, and this success is virtually untapped in Australia.

“We want to work with Kemp to have Kirra become the beach soccer capital of Australia, and are pleased he has agreed to bring the tournament back again next year, bigger and better.”

Players, parents and officials were also excited by the event and agree that they would return and support the tournament next year.

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