Bridlington will be one of several locations to host a leg of the English National Beach Soccer League.
Beginning in Skegness, the new home of English beach soccer, the league will tour the country (as well as excursions into Wales and the Channel Islands), hosting tournaments for local sides. The winner of each event will qualify for the national finals in September, as well as getting a chance to play a match with the England national team.
At the end of it all, the national champions will represent England in the Euro Winners Cup, a championship that sees 20 European national champions vie to become the best team in Europe. Last year, Sandown Sociedad from the Isle of Wight beat The Bees 3-2 in the Super Cup to receive that honour and travel to San Benedotto del Tronto in Italy for this year’s edition, starting on the 15th May.
Sandown Sociedad contains many stars from the England team and have represented the country in Europe before. Finishing third in the 2011 edition in Cervia, head coach Luke Kerr is now looking to take their good form to Italy.
“When the team won the Super Cup the quality of beach soccer from the players was incredible and some of the goals were simply amazing, we are now hoping to take that good form into this major European competition,” Kerr said. “We’re thrilled to be representing England in Italy and look forward to playing beach soccer in Europe again where we know the matches will be hard fought against some of the world’s best players.”
Sandown Sociedad will play in Group D alongside home hopefuls Viareggio BS, as well as Grasshopper Club Zurich from Switzerland, which contains England’s Mitch Day. Ukraine’s Griffin makes up the first of five groups.
Following their European escapades, Sandown Sociedad will presumably participate in the Isle of Wight competition, for which they would be strong favourites. Aside from this, the tour will take in Skegness, Portsmouth, Poole, Swansea, Cornwall, Brentwood, Canterbury, Kent, Bridlington, Liverpool, Jersey, Cardiff, Barn Elms and Loughborough, all before the national finals. Each event will hold its own activies, ranging from beach parties, barbecues, live music, fashion shows and “much more”.
England team manager David Jones revealed: “The England Team will be touring Nationally and will be involved with all of the events, at each tournament the winners will have the chance to play against the England Team in an exhibition match. It’s also an opportunity for local players to showcase their talent and their will certainly be scouts looking for potential England players throughout the tour.”
I might try and head to the Bridlington event to catch what will almost certainly be a free exhibition of an underrated but developing sport. If you want to go to your local event or even fancy participating, contact England Beach Soccer.