U.S. Beach Soccer National Team History
Born on the beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, beach soccer has long been played informally on sandy shorelines around the world. Despite its South American roots, the game was codified in 1992 by a group in Los Angeles and one year later the first professional beach soccer competition was held at Miami Beach with the USA hosting Brazil, Argentina and Italy.
In 1994, the first World Championship was held for beach soccer in Rio de Janeiro, and the U.S. team had modest success with a second-place finish in 1995 and a third-place finish in 1997. FIFA recognized beach soccer beginning in 2005, and has staged four FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. The first three tournaments were staged on the beaches of Rio in Brazil. In 2008, the tournament moved to Marseille, France, with the 2009 edition gracing the beaches of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. After 2009, the tournament became a biennial event, with the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup taking place in Rome, Italy.
In 2005, qualifying for the Beach Soccer World Cup for the U.S. was a combined tournament with North and South America. Since then, CONCACAF has hosted its own Beach Soccer Qualifying Tournament, with the U.S. winning both the 2006 and 2007 editions before dropping two of the team’s three matches in 2008 and failing to qualify for the 2008 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
The U.S. kicked off 2013 by winning the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship in Nassau, the Bahamas, with a 5-4 overtime victory against El Salvador. The team qualified for the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup by virtue of a 4-2 victory against Costa Rica in the semifinals.
At the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, the U.S. was drawn into Group A with Spain, host Tahiti and the United Arab Emirates. Despite a 6-4 victory against UAE in the final group game, the U.S. finished in third place and did not advance to the knockout rounds. The tournament started with a 5-4 loss to Spain, followed by a 5-3 loss in extra time to Tahiti that eliminated the team from the knockout rounds.