The game of soccer is much more than just a game, it is a sport that radiates with acrobatic acts of athleticism through skill and agility. It is about passion shared amongst the brotherly team players, the goalie who prays to the soccer gods above every time he saves a goal, the coach who fusses over his brood with intense pride, and of course, the passionate fans whose love of the game and their team is evident in the cheer of every goal scored and heckle on every hit made. Soccer is also about the sheer human strength and spirit to play through injury, challenging terrain, and in the case of this weekend through rain, hail or shine.
Over the past three days the shores of South Beach once again played host to yet another successful sporting extravaganza, following last weekend’s Miami Beach Polo World Cup. This time around, fans and the curious alike gathered to watch some of the world’s best known soccer stars and international celebrities in action at the 2011 Beach Soccer Worldwide Miami Cup, the nation’s first ever FIFA Beach Soccer tournament in association with Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW).
Although all-stars in their own right, playing in the tournament were some of the world’s top Soccer icons including Brazil’s Buru, Benjamin and Andre, Spain’s Amarelle and Javier Torres, Mexico’s Ricardo Villalobos, Morgan Plata and USA’s Oscar Gil and Zak Ibsen.
The battle for the cup began on Friday, April 29, where four of the world’s leading national teams went head to head in a ‘visual spectacular’ exhibition between Brazil, Mexico, Spain and USA. Threats of thunderstorms and constant downpours of rain could not deter the superstars from putting on a show in the first contending games between USA’s glorious last minute 7-6 victory over Mexico, the current CONCACAF champions, and Brazil reigning their throne in a 3-1 win over Spain.
The second day bought on the contending matches between Mexico and Spain with a 7-3 win for Mexico followed by the Brazil v. USA game with a 7-2 win for Brazil. Excitement off the field also arose when one of Latin’s favorite Pop Star’s, Paulina Rubio, was spotted in the Air Europa VIP suite cheering on Brazil’s defeat with husband and new born baby in hand.
On the grand finale of day three, amongst a highly anticipated crowded stadium, USA claimed third place over Spain with a penalty kick shoot out, which was followed by a deafening roar from the team USAsupporters as one of their beloved goalies showed his appreciation by high-fiving fans in the stadium.
Prior to the final showdown between Brazil and Mexico, the crowd was treated to a celebrity match where some of the biggest names in world soccer, both past and present, played with a handful of well-known sports and entertainment personalities such as Oscar Quijano, Manolo Quijano, Craig David, Hector Soberon, Antonio Orozco, Yotuel (Orishas), Saul Lisazo, Javier Hidalgo, Javier Bordas, Marcelo Claure, Youri Djorkaeff, Arnaud Benasim, Christian Karembeu, Juan Pablo Galavis and Gustavo Mefa.
Then it was back to business as all eyes were on who was going to take home both trophy and title of the 2011 Beach Soccer Worldwide Miami Cup. At the end of an electrifying match where Mexico gave Brazil a run for their money, it was Brazil’s quick feet and defensive tactics that clenched yet another championship win, upholding their reputation as the ‘Kings of Soccer’ and carrying on their country’s pride in being the best at a game that originated from the famed beaches of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro.
Throughout the weekend attendees were also entertained by the sexy cheerleaders busting out their best moves, fashion shows, and a continual stream of high energy music that amped up the excitement between the crowd and players alike, all in turn resulting in an extremely successful event which we are sure to see returning to our pristine beaches next year.
As I write this article I find myself humming away the Latin hip shaking grooves and flashing back to the gravity defying moves of a sport that I had never taken too much interest in previously, not to mention the warm energy and smiles received from the players, which I guess now makes me an avid soccer fan…count me in!
Viva La Soccer!