SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2016

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November 2016 36 t SPORT Report competition — the U.S. National team brought home six golds and a bronze from the 2015 World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Dubai — Lee said there is significant work to be done. "Currently, a large portion of the beach playing community also play [and prior- itize] grass," he said. "So a challenge is to cater to that pool of athletes or work to create a new pool of athletes that exclusive- ly play beach ultimate." Lee said the beach surface is more for- giving and makes for a faster-paced game with smaller teams and smaller fields, but even more attractive and exciting is the potential inclusion of ultimate (most likely beach) in the 2024 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee's recently passed reforms call for mixed-gen- der team sports. "Ultimate is one of the very few sports that plays as a mixed division at the highest levels of competition, while the self-officiated nature of the sport, which relies on integrity and sportsmanship as part of its rule set, is perfectly aligned with the Olympic ideals," Lee said. GETTING YOUR KICKS ON THE BEACH Born on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, beach soccer didn't get organized into a professional competition until 1993, when teams from the U.S., Argentina, Italy and Brazil gathered to face off on Miami Beach. Since recognizing beach soccer in 2005, FIFA has hosted the Beach Soccer World Cup, the premier international beach soccer competition for men's national teams. U.S. Soccer is the national governing body for the sport in the states and its focus is on developing and training players at a high level of competition, said Jim Moor- house, Director of Youth National Teams. "The best players are not playing at the beach level," he said. "Some are former Beach Volleyball is the fastest growing NCAA Division I sport. The North American Sand Soccer Championships have been a big draw for Virginia Beach since 1994. The 10th annual Beach Soccer Championships in Oceanside, CA brings more than 300 youth teams and 16 professional teams from eight countries around the world. USA Volleyball Virginia Beach CVB Beach Soccer Championships

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