Looking to win the first annual Madjer Beach Soccer Cup in Portugal
Photos by: Kristi Citron
Oceanside CA— SoCal Legacy, a competitive youth beach soccer team from Oceanside, California, has accepted an invitation from Figueira Beach Sports City to compete in the first annual Madjer Youth Cup, being hosted at Buarcos Beach in Figueira da Foz, Portugal this summer.
The competition is endorsed by one of the greatest beach soccer players in the world, João Victor Saraiva, better known as “Madjer”, who plays for the Portuguese National Beach Soccer Team and is a strong advocate for the sport. “Expectations are undoubtedly very high, considering that it will be the first international youth tournament held worldwide”, said Madjer, the sport’s greatest ambassador, “this is a tournament which comes to fill an existing gap in the beach soccer world.” The event is also sanctioned by Beach Soccer World Wide (BSWW), the organizing body designated by FIFA to manage all aspects of beach soccer as a professional sport. “A competition of this kind, that involves young players and enhances the formative aspect of our sport is great news!” said Joan Cuscó, the longstanding CEO of BSWW, “Besides being played in one of the cradles of our sport, as is Portugal, with the name of one of the greatest athletes of beach soccer ever, the expectations could not be greater,” he stated, highlighting the importance of such contests in a recent interview posted on the BSWW web site.
The first edition of the competition will include both a U16 and U18 age division, for players with birth years of 2003/2004 and 2001/2002 respectively. Twelve to sixteen teams will be placed within each division, for a total of 24 to 32 teams, representing countries from all over the world. An official opening ceremony will commence on Thursday, June 21st, and the finals will be held a few days later on Sunday, June 24th. The fans at beautiful Figueira da Foz will certainly be treated to hundreds of incredible beach soccer matches, at this unique, one-of-a-kind
youth beach soccer festival. The organizers plan to expand the divisions to include U14 and U20 in subsequent years along with both male and female offerings.
The event has attracted many teams throughout the world including from countries such as the UK, Senegal, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Switzerland. Many of these youth teams are being led by older professional or national team coaches and players, who share a common vision for promoting and growing the sport. This includes Spanish beach soccer legend Ramiro Amarelle, who is bringing two teams for each age division. Madjer is reportedly bringing one team for each age division from the Sporting Lisbon youth academy. This kind of talent, commitment, and passion are all the ingredients needed to ensure a highly successful event.
Consisting of some of the best beach soccer players in the area and having been hand-selected from multiple high schools and competitive soccer clubs within the region, SoCal Legacy is now heading towards their sixth straight beach soccer season and is considered by many as one of the best U17 beach soccer teams in North America. The team has an overall record of 82-9-3, with most of their losses occurring back in 2013 and 2014, when they were still in the very early stages of development. If you review the statistics closely, the fact is they have only lost 3 matches since 2015, with some occurring when they were playing up in a higher age bracket, a strategy that their coach has frequently deployed to keep the team challenged and continually evolving.
Since inception, the team has scored 629 goals and allowed only 257, which means when these young men from Southern California step onto the sand to compete, they score nearly 7 goals a match and allow less than 3 goals against – impressive by any measure, and exciting to watch.
But more importantly than their statistics and match track record, the team has been able to convert their performances into first place medals and trophies, having won 16 local and national tournaments, including several contests in distant locations across the country.
They have been a dominate force within the local tournament scene, such as in Soccer in the Sand’s Coronado Island National Qualifier and Copa Cabana’s El Segundo Tournament, which Legacy has won 3 and 4 years in a row respectively, but their most impressive championship titles include two consecutive Major Beach Soccer (MBS) National Championships in Clearwater Beach, Florida (in 2015 and 2016), and their more recent title victories at The Beach Soccer Championships (aka The USA Cup) in their hometown of Oceanside, California, in addition to the most prestigious beach soccer tournament of all, The North American Sand Soccer Championships in Virginia Beach, Virginia (both victories just weeks apart in 2017). The team appears well positioned for a higher level of competition, “Indeed,” states Steve Citron, head coach for Legacy, “we have been training with Nick Perera, Captain of the US Men’s National Beach Soccer Team, since 2015, we have the experience of playing in nearly 100 tournament matches, and we have won all the big titles in North America, so this international competition is truly the next logical step for the team.”
Like most teams looking to compete at this first-ever international event, the challenge is to raise enough funding to help pay for travel related expenses. “Our most pressing need is funding to help us get the team to the event,” Citron added, “we are reaching out to our community for help in the form of donations and business sponsorships that can allow these deserving young men to participate in this important competition, as it appears we will be the only team there representing California and the USA.” SoCal Legacy BFC is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that teaches and promotes the sport of beach soccer and is the fundraising arm for the team. “The team has had the opportunity to travel throughout the state, and across the nation, to compete and win at these major events and this has only been possible through our many successful fundraising events and the generosity and support of our friends, relatives and community at large,” said Dean Gillespie, SoCal Legacy’s team manager, “and this is our largest endeavor yet. We really need our community and local businesses to help back this team, so they can represent our state and nation on the international stage.”
“This is going to be an incredible experience for the players”, stated Citron, “It is the closest thing there is to a youth Beach Soccer World Cup and it is attracting a lot of interest, which is really great for the future of this sport.” Beach Soccer has been growing in popularity and has even been considered for inclusion as an Olympic event on multiple occasions.
“We are extremely excited to participate in the first annual Madjer Cup”, concluded Citron, “and we’re looking forward to making history with the other teams there at this inaugural event, establishing what we hope will ultimately be the premier international youth beach soccer tournament in the world.”
The team has created a GoFundMe campaign and has been hosting various fundraising events to help get the players onto the Portuguese sand. They are also actively seeking business sponsors who may be interested in supporting the team. See the contact information and link below to make a tax deductible donation or to discuss sponsoring the team.
Tax deductible donations can be made at the team’s GoFundMe campaign (link below) or mailed to the following address (please make all checks to “SoCal Legacy BFC”):
SoCal Legacy BFC
c/o Coach Steve Citron
PO Box 4186
Oceanside, CA. 92052-4186
For business sponsorship opportunities e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GoFundMe link: www.gofundme.com/socal-legacy-madjer-cup
For more information about the event visit please see the following links:
Event Coverage on BSWW:
Various articles on Figueira Beach Sports City Web Site:
Event Presentation: ClickHere