El Salvador provided the venue for the latest FIFA/CONCACAF Beach Soccer Seminar, held on 1-4 April. As part of the new strategy developed jointly by FIFA and Beach Soccer World Wide, the event was held to coincide with the latter stages of the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship, which was won by Mexico, with Costa Rica joining them in qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015.
A total of 41 national associations took part in the course, 35 of them directly affiliated to the Confederation and the remaining six associate members. The participants, who totalled over 80, discussed issues relating to the growth of the sport in the region and also attended the Portugal 2015 qualifiers. For the first time, the tournament was contested by 16 nations, eight of them making their debut appearances.
As part of the Seminar, FIFA’s Development Department spoke to the national associations about the importance of adopting a strategic approach to beach soccer and using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis as the starting point in each specific case.
The need to create national championships was just one of the key topics up for debate, as was development and support for women’s beach soccer, the appropriate use of the region’s natural resources and the importance of laying solid foundations for the continued development of beach soccer markets.
Representatives from Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and the Bahamas, which was recently named the host nation of the 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup, all gave presentations, providing participants with specific cases to analyse.
Looking on was Spain legend and FIFA instructor Ramiro Amarelle, the adidas Golden Ball winner at Brazil 2008, who was a moderator of a panel discussion at the seminar.