Beach Soccer History

A brief overview of the worldwide structure and history Beach Soccer, as well as the growing popularity and scope of the Copa Cabana Beach Soccer Tournaments.

History of beach soccer

  • Copacabana Beach Soccer history goes back 30 years when the first games were played on the sands of Rio de Janeiro’s Copa Cabana Beach. 
  • Beach Soccer, has the lowest impact on the body with the highest energy requirements in the greatest setting in the world, the World’s Beaches.  Played by all ages, from eight year old boys, girls, adult and coed teams as a conditioning or active competitive level, it is played on the world’s beaches or anywhere sand is available. 
  • Beach soccer offers fast fun and exciting action. Small fields, five versus five competitions on the sand with unlimited substitution, keeps the action going in this exciting and fun game.
  • Beach Soccer is a great equalizer for varying degrees of skill and conditioning, soft sand helps cushion impacts on the body and slows down the fastest of runners and can be played by anyone wanting to have fun on the beach. New soccer skills are developed and stamina is improved over time while having a great time on the beach.
  • Beach Soccer is not only fun to play it is fun to watch. Fast moving action and higher scoring because of the smaller fields and the unpredictable bounce of the ball in the soft sand make this an exciting game. Aerial skills with the ball are developed as this is the faster and more accurate way to move the ball. Unlimited substitutions let the players catch their breath as each team typically has five players on the pitch and five subs.
  • Beach Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the US, with the amount of players almost doubling every year. 
  • Both amateurs and professionals enjoy playing this game and hold annual tournaments. 1992 became a historical year for Copacabana Beach Soccer when the rules of the game were officially recorded by the Beach Soccer World Wide Association and promoted by the US Beach Soccer Federation. Over the last decade beach soccer has spread to the beaches and sand surfaces all over the world. The increasing popularity of beach soccer will help it become an official sport presented in the summer Olympic Games of the future.

National and International Beach Soccer Structure

  • At the top of the structure is the world soccer association FIFA this governing body organizes the world cup and are the rulemaking body of soccer Laws of the Game for field, futsal, and beach soccer.
  • Beach Soccer in the United States has a national team that is recognized by FIFA and plays in the beach soccer world cup, which is held every other year in varying countries. 
  • In the US beach soccer tournaments have increased from five a year twelve years ago to now 40 or more. 
  • Copa Cabana produces ten of these tournaments. 
  • None of the current tournaments in the US has any direct affiliation with FIFA, however some of them may be sanctioned by lower level federations. Sanctioning a tournament by a league helps to increase the desirability for the coaches to enter into the tournament because the insurance coverage of the league carries over into a tournament sanctioned by the local league.
  • Copa Cabana Beach Soccer is sanctioned by the US Beach Soccer Federation. 

Copa Cabana Mission

  • To create a family fun and safe atmosphere where the whole family can enjoy a weekend of organized athletic competition, good food, entertainment, and music in an outdoor setting on the sand.
  • To bring the atmosphere of a carnival party on the beach with Brazilian style barbecue, Food Vendors, Music, DJ, rides and entertainment for everyone in between games. 
  • To promote a team spirit with players who with their own creations of team shirts add to the colorful aspect of the tournament.
  • To build on the Copacabana beach soccer history going back 30 years when the first games were played on the sands of Rio de Janeiro beaches. 
  • Help the local community start and maintain, grow, and nurture the local youth participation in beach soccer as an added conditioning and training exercise for all sports. 
  • Provide a lower impact recreational sport for the adult and coed teams who wish to participate in a fun and friendly competitive environment. 
  • Prepare athletes to participate in the local, national, and international beach soccer tournaments.
  • Introduce beach soccer to the local community of field soccer, indoor soccer, or other foot skills based clubs of recreational youth and adult organizations in the local areas. 
  • Create a rewarding experience with the local non-profit organizations to promote, enter, or support a beach soccer tournament.
  • Create an awareness and support from local, regional, national, sponsors and vendors.
  • Produce a tournament that is a weekend destination for local as well as distant athletes that attracts a range of talent from the local youth to the top international athletes. 

Copa Cabana tournament specifics

  • All Copa Cabana tournaments are sanctioned by the US Beach Soccer Federation and are open to all teams, youth, adult, and coed. 
  • The games are 5V5, three twelve minute periods with unlimited substitutions. 
  • Referees are US Beach Soccer and Cal South certified.
  • Over one thousand teams played in the 2013 tournament season at eight different locations.
  • Local referees have been trained by Copa Cabana and United States Soccer Federation certified beach soccer referee trainers. 

Beach Soccer local requirements

  • Sand Area; Basic requirements to produce a successful tournament will be a suitable sand area each field is 30 by 40 Yards with a minimum spacing of two yards side by side and six yards end to end. The set-up is flexible as far as arrangement of the fields.
  • Festival Area; Because of the nature of the Copa Cabana event which is a festival family oriented atmosphere an area for vendors, food, registration, first aid, and entertainment is required. This area preferably will be in a parking lot and should be a minimum of 3000 sq. ft. Contained in this area is a minimum of ten 10×10 tents and registration trailer 8×20 as well as 10×20 food preparation area and two mobile food vendor trucks.
  • Parking lot size; Teams typically a first time tournament with minimal local club support will bring between 70 and 100 teams average seven to eight players per team. Requirements for parking are at least two hundred parking spaces for player transportation averaging two to three youth players per vehicle.
  • Family areas; Families typically will set up tents on the beach and will be on the beach for the duration of the tournament both Saturday and Sunday.
  • Hotel and restaurants; Local hotels and restaurants usually will provide special rates and or packages to visiting teams.  

Licenses, Permits, and Insurance

  • Permits, Licenses, and liability insurance; Copa Cabana obtains permits and licenses from the local jurisdictional agencies and carries liability insurance naming the local agencies as additional insured.
  • Participant Insurance Coverage; Copa Cabana tournaments contracts coverage thru a sports insurance underwriter that covers the coaches, spectators, and players similarly to regional and local leagues, as well as obtains sanctions from regional leagues for some of the Copa Cabana tournaments.