The 2013 Major Beach Soccer National Championships, presented by Nike, kick off this Saturday on Clearwater Beach, Fla., with the third annual event bringing together qualifiers from across the country to compete for a championship. Thirty-seven teams are set to compete in six divisions, including a record 12 teams in the Men’s Open Division.
“We are very pleased to be returning to Clearwater Beach for a third consecutive season,” MBS Director Peter Mellor said. “The national championships have grown strongly since 2011, with more and more players enjoying the heightened level of competition in the qualifying tournaments held throughout the summer.”
Rush BSC from Michigan returns to defend its championship in the Men’s Open Division. In 2012, Rush defeated fellow returnees Calvary Chapel from Florida in the championship game. Tampa-based side La ‘U’ is also expected to challenge for the championship, with their clash against the Rush in group play one of the highlights of Saturday’s action.
The Women’s Open Division features five teams aiming for the championship, with last season’s runner-up IABS returning to try and go one better than a year ago when it fell 2-0 to De Best Orange County. IABS’ women’s team is one of four competing under the club’s banner this weekend, with teams also competing in the Boys U18, Men’s Open and Co-Ed Divisions.
Competing at the championships for the first time is a pair of teams competing under the banner of Quality Beach Soccer from the Bahamas. The Caribbean country hosted the CONCACAF Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifiers earlier this year, which was won by the U.S., with the host nation finishing second to the U.S. in its group.
Major Beach Soccer has also reached an agreement with One Nation TV for the rights to televise highlights and features from the 2013 and 2014 MBS National Championships, and the 2014 MBS Florida Qualifying Series.
The competition will feature Strike balls, provided by presenting sponsor Nike, for the first time. Major Beach Soccer also receives support from Saint Leo University, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, Volusia County, the Lee County Sports Authority, Soccer on the Beach, Soccer in the Sand, and Far Post Goals.
Major Beach Soccer: Created by USL Technical Director Peter Mellor, Major Beach Soccer joined USL in 2010. A fixture on Florida beaches for the past 23 years, Major Beach Soccer events feature teams competing five-on-five in 30-minute games with prizes for champions and runners-up in all age groups. Flicks and acrobatic bicycle kicks are the norm in beach soccer, where the fields and goals are small but the action is nonstop.