On 5th November at the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Awards in Dubai, Sarah Kempson, captain of both England Women’s and Portsmouth Ladies Beach Soccer teams, won the Best Women’s Player award.
The other nominees for the award were Grytsje van den Berg from the Netherlands and Leticia Villar from Brazil.
England midfielder Sarah Kempson has enjoyed a spectacular season both for her country and at club level with Portsmouth.
The England women’s team are current European Champions and Sarah’s club team, Portsmouth Ladies, were runners up in Beach Soccer’s equivalent of the Champions League, the Euro Winners Cup, after which Sarah was named MVP.
A comparatively new sport, David Jones has been in charge of trying to develop Beach Soccer in England since 2013. The FA agreed to him running the men’s and women’s national teams but for 2013, 2014 and 2015 the responsibility for finding funding was his alone.
Things improved in 2016 with the FA awarding a small grant for unfortunately it goes nowhere near covering expenses.
Beach Soccer is a FIFA approved form of football and has its own World Cup for men. Since FIFA have just agreed to retain Beach Soccer within its 2018-2024 programme then it is expected to see the first ever Women’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup take place in 2019.
Beach Soccer is again to be part of the European Olympics in Minsk in 2019 and it will be part of the World Games in San Diego in the same year. It was at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas earlier this year.
The ultimate goal is to get it into the Olympics for 2028. All of this means that the women’s game is due to explode around the world and England have the opportunity to be leading on this, if the chance is taken on promoting the game.
Here is a list of all the winners at the Beach Soccer Awards:
Beach Soccer Stars 2017
Best Event: The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017 (Nassau, The Bahamas)
Best Coach: Gilberto Costa (Brazil)
Best Goal: Peyman Hosseini (Iran) – Watch here courtesy of FIFA TV
Rising Star: Boris Nikonorov (Russia)
Best Goalkeeper: Peyman Hosseini (Iran)
Five Stars: Mão (Brazil), Bruno Xavier (Brazil), Mauricinho (Brazil), Noel Ott (Switzerland) and Mohamad Ahmadzadeh (Iran)
Best Women’s Player: Sarah Kempson (England)
Best Men’s Player: Mauricinho (Brazil)