A brief history
People have played beach soccer for decades in Brazil, with the first official tournament held in 1950 in Rio de Janeiro. However, it wasn’t until the early nineties that the sport grew to international fame. Its growth in popularity hasn’t slowed in pace since. One of North America’s largest tournaments (North American Sand Soccer Championships) has been running since 1994, in Virginia Beach, VA.
Beach soccer has two opposing teams vying for the win. Each team has five players on the field (including the goalie) and can have as many substitutions they need. The field is considerably smaller than traditional soccer and is a much faster-paced sport as well. The significant differences in rules are: the inflation of the ball is lower; players can choose to kick or throw the ball when the ball goes out of bounds; a player is not allowed to prevent an opponent from performing bicycle kick; teams are not allowed to keep possession of the ball in their penalty area for more than 4 seconds; and if a player is given a red card the team may replace that player with a substitute after 2 minutes of play (making the 2 minutes similar to a power play in hockey).