Buarcos Beach, in Figueira da Foz, hosts from Friday more than 550 athletes as part of the third edition of Foz Plaza Figueira Smash Fest, organized by the Portuguese Volleyball Federation and integrated in the project Figueira Beach Sports City, promoted by the local authority.
EVENTS NATIONAL BEACH VOLLEY CIRCUIT
The 5th Stage of the National Beach Volleyball Circuit is held on August 2 (qualifying phase), 3rd and 4th , with the participation of 104 athletes. The finals of this competition scheduled for 17h (women) and 18h (men) will be assured by TV on Bola Tv.
NATIONAL BEACH VOTE CIRCUIT U22
On August 2nd, the Under 22 Circuit Stage will be held with the participation of 40 athletes.
YOUTH NATIONAL CIRCUIT
On the 3rd and 4th of August about 250 athletes from the Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18, compete in the National Stage of the Youth National Circuit.
FIGUEIRA SMASH CUP
The 3rd edition of the Figueira Smash Cup 4 x 4 Men’s, Women and Masters tournament, will take place on August 3rd and 4th, with the participation of 30 teams, total of 200 Athletes. Highlight the presence of international athletes for the first time in this event, from Germany.
FBSC : Stefano, it is a great pleasure to see Viareggio Beach Soccer attending the 1st Madjer Cup. What do you expect from this participation?
S : we work with youth players, from 10 years, and we wait a lot of time to have the occasion to understand the level of our youth players with other teams in the world. This is a big occasion to understand and complete the work of Viareggio with youth players.
FBSC : Tell us a little, about the team and the youth beach soccer approach you are undertaking in your club.
S: 14 years ago a my big friend, MATTEO Valenti, died after a serious accident at work.
I was a professional football player and after an injury to my knee my career is over very soon. So I thought to organize something special for my friend, and I did the first official beach soccer tournament in Viareggio, in his name. After one Year we built the first MATTEO Valenti beach Stadium and over the local tournament I organized a stage of the Italian serie A beach soccer.
For the first time I saw the champions of beach soccer playing, but one of them made me fall in love with this sport. He did amazing things with the ball on the beach, his name was Madjer, and watching him play made me want to create and train a team, the team of Viareggio beach soccer born in 2010…. from there in a few years this team won the Serie A and the Italian Cup twice and in 2016 won its first Euro Winners Cup becoming European champion. So I owe Madjer the love for this sport.
In 2012 viareggio beach soccer created his first youth tournament and his first beach soccer academy. The best players of this tournament will form the first Viareggio beach soccer under 18 for this occasion
Our presence at this tournament has the double meaning of evaluating the level of our boys and especially of paying homage to a champion like Madjer, who made me fall in love with this sport to the point of building a team and a youth sector in my town of Viareggio.
FBSC : How do you see the impact of this tournament on the future of Youth Beach Soccer worldwide?
S : Thanks to this initiative, the various countries will be able to start evaluating their work on a global level, it will only be the beginning of what will be the future basis of beach soccer in the World, and it is also a recognition for those few clubs that have workedthe young people in four years and in Itslia we can say that we are few.
FBSC : Have you ever heard about Figueira? What do you know about the place where the event will take place?
S : I’ve never been to Figueira, but I know it’s a beautiful Portuguese seaside town that every year hosts many sporting events and cultural events, in short, a modern city that makes sport and tourism its faith.
FBSC : Final words to all the teams attending the event…
S : I thank the organizers of this tournament and I invite all the teams to play with the true spirit and values of beach soccer. Values represented in the world in all these years by that great champion that gives the name to this tournament and that for me is also a friend, Madjer Saraiva.
1. Madjer, it’s a pleasure to be in conversation with you! After so many years connected to the sport, the emotion of stepping on the sand is still the same as when you were a kid?
Madjer : The emotion remains the same as always, and it feels like it’s always the first time.
2. In June this year will be Madjer Cup International Yout Beach Soccer Tournament! What are the expectations about this event?
Madjer: Expectations are undoubtedly very high, considering that it will be the first international tournament, held worldwide. And bearing in mind that there is an existing gap in the sport, the affluence is also expected and in turn success as well.
3. Being one of the greatest athletes of World Beach Soccer, and an example for all young fans of the sport, what is the feeling of laying the groundwork for creating a unique project in youth beach football?
Madjer : It is a feeling of accomplishment of a dream, and of many years of struggle for a sport that tends to grow more and more and only with this type of initiatives will help.
4. Despite the tremendous growth of Beach Soccer around the world, and of the major competitions that exist at senior level, the training at the level of beach soccer clubs seems to be still little organized and developed. Do you consider it essential for the future of the sport, the development of training in beach soccer?
A: As I mentioned, there are still many gaps and one of them is the youth and the women beach soccer development.
Having a global view of the sport, I think it is important to carry out projects in this direction, so that we can have more and more support at the level of Federations and Associations, so that Beach Soccer is no longer seen as a seasonal modality.
5. What message would you like to leave to all the young Beach Soccer fans who read this interview?
A: The message that I always leave is that they always follow your dreams, because reaching them is difficult but when they become reality they are for life.
1. Steve, SoCal Legacy is the first international team confirmed in the first edition of the Madjer Cup. What do you expect from this participation?
We are extremely excited to participate in the first annual Madjer Cup and we are looking forward to making history with the other teams there in establishing what we hope will ultimately be one of the premier youth beach soccer events in the world. The future of beach soccer, from a popularity, Olympic sport inclusion, and evolution of the sport perspective is dependent on youth players and the programs that can be developed for them. We are hoping that this event will feature the highest level of youth competition and quality of play that can be found globally and that it will also provide a platform for positive multi-cultural experiences and lifelong friendships between all the participants, founded on the shared passion for this sport. We look forward to representing Southern California and the USA at this event.
2. Flying from the United States to Portugal, concretely up to Figueira da Foz, is a great adventure. What do you know about where the tournament will take place?
The team has traveled across the US to compete in Florida and Virginia, but we have never traveled outside of the country, so this will be a great adventure and important learning experience for these young men. I have never been to Portugal, but the pictures and videos of the event site and facilities look fantastic. It is my understanding that Figueira da Foz hosts one of the largest and most renowned beach rugby tournaments in the world annually, the Figueira Beach Rugby International, as well as several other beach sporting events, so they definitely have experience in organizing large scale, beach-based competitions and Figueira appears to be the ideal location to host such a prestigious, international tournament worthy of being named after Madjer, the Portuguese beach soccer legend. I have been told that the weather is perfect for beach soccer and the sand looks good too – so we can’t wait to go. In fact, we may go a few days early so we can get used to the time zone change and to explore the city.
3. The presence of Madjer, a living legend of beach soccer, is an extra motivation for your athletes to participate in this event?
I have been coaching this team since the players were 12 years old. During those early years we watched several videos of Madjer in order to help provide a firm foundation to work from. After all these years it will be an incredible experience for the players to actually meet him in person! This will be a dream come true for the players because they have admired him ever since their earliest beach soccer experiences.
4. We know that you have been in constant contact with the local organization, what do you think about the work they are doing?
The real advantage is that you have three exceptional entities there, the Municipality of Figueira da Foz, Figueira Beach Sports City, and DoctorSport working together with a common goal of transforming Figueira da Foz into the ultimate destination location for beach sporting events. They have a proven and successful track record of organizing and hosting the Figueira Beach Rugby International, the Hugo Almeida International FootVoley Cup, the Figueira Summer Cross Games, and other Sports and Music Festivals, so I believe the Madjer Cup will be another extremely successful and exceptional event in their overall offering.
5. How do you see the impact of this tournament on the future of Youth Beach Soccer worldwide?
“It is an important step in the right direction as others provide their support of Madjer’s endorsement, such as BSWW, who are officially recognizing the event, as well as several past and present national team and professional players who are looking to participate, such as Ramiro Amarelle, the incredible Spanish player and coach, who has indicated that he will bring a team or two. There are significant opportunities here to not only sustain, but to grow the popularity of the sport exponentially by establishing some youth programs and events such as this. For example, this event, which is the closest thing we will have to a Youth Beach Soccer World Cup, will attract much interest of the younger players over the next several years and many will dream of participating in the Madjer Cup and desire the experience and excitement of international competition. The success of this event will not only influence the long-term popularity of the sport by increasing interest at the youth level, but it could help to inspire others to create similar international events in other regions as well. With the exception of Brazil, and a few other countries, youth beach soccer tournaments are typically ad-hoc events hosted by various de-centralized and regional organizers. I would like to think that the success of the Madjer Cup will help to drive a more formal structure or system and facilitate other changes that will increase opportunities for the world’s youth players.
6. Any final comments, for all those who read this interview?
This event holds much promise of being the perfect venue to unite and showcase the best youth players from around the globe, who truly represent the future professional and national team players of this exciting sport. This event is the right thing to do on a number of different levels. Beach Soccer is an incredible sport and my hope is that the Madjer Cup will be the beginning of something truly great and that is one of the many reasons why we are participating. I encourage anyone reading this to consider bringing or sponsoring a team and making huge difference in the lives of your local youth players. It is guaranteed to be an absolutely unforgettable event.
Steve Citron is the President of the Southern California Beach Soccer Club and has been the head coach of a youth beach soccer team named SoCal Legacy since 2013. Legacy is a boys U18 team with a cumulative match record of 82-9-3 and has won 16 youth tournaments, including two consecutive Major Beach Soccer (MBS) National Championships in Clearwater Beach, Florida (in 2015 and 2016), The Beach Soccer Championships (aka The USA Cup) in their hometown of Oceanside, California (in 2017), and the North American Sand Soccer Championships (NASSC) in Virginia Beach, Virginia (in 2017). He is a strong beach soccer advocate and was a founding member of the Southern California Beach Soccer Club in 2015.
The Figueira Beach Summer Games 1st edition was a huge success. Five beach sports events organized from late May till early July, set the kick of for the global project, “Figueira Beach Sports City”, which aims to promote the practice of Beach Sports in Figueira the Foz, and establish the City as a leading destination for Beach Sports.
1381 athletes from 11 countries attended the events, aged from 13 to 52 years old.