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June 2, 2015

Sand Soccer tournament at the Oceanfront this weekend

Sand Soccer Tournament Virginia Beach

Nearly 10,000 soccer players are expected to be joined by nearly 80,000 family and fans at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront over the course of the weekend.

The inaugural sand soccer tournament in 1994 featured just 26 teams and 260 players on six fields. It has since grown to feature 1,075 teams composed of elementary school-aged players to senior citizens who will be participating in 2,000 matches on 63 fields stretching 25 blocks (from 9th Street to 34th Street).

In addition to the recreational component, the North American Sand Soccer Championship also features a “Pro/Am” competition called the McDonald’s® U.S. Open. This event is the tournament’s centerpiece and it is held at a stadium constructed right on the beach at 24th Street. Sixteen highly skilled teams representing eight states and five countries are competing for a $25,000 purse. Matches will be determined using a “World Cup-Style” selection process that divides teams into groups of four, with the top teams from each group advancing in the tournament.

For the first time ever, FC Barcelona, one of the premier professional beach soccer clubs, has joined the competition as the first European-based team to participate in the U.S. Open, thanks to a new affiliation between NASSC and Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW), FIFA’s beach soccer operations.

Initially developed to help support the privately-operated, 75-acre Hampton Roads Soccer Complex​ at Princess Anne Commons, the wildly successful tournament has helped fund lighted fields, restrooms, offices, concessions, turf fields and paved gravel parking lots. In fact, the event has been so popular, that proceeds now also benefit additional charities, including the Special Olympics, Ronald McDonald House and the Joy Fund among others.

Besides pumping money back into the local community, the annual event also has a huge impact on Virginia Beach businesses — in recent years generating about $2 million in economic impact.

Additional “sidekick” sporting events including Coed Flag Football Beach Blastoff, Beach Tennis USA, North American Beach Wrestling Championships, and the North American SANDLAX Championships, will be interspersed among sand soccer fields.

Repeatedly recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of its “Top 20 Summer Events” and selected by Discovery/ESPN as one of the premier sports tourism attractions in the United States, this is a “don’t-miss” battle at the beach.​

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