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23 Jun 2020
Why beach soccer has a bright future in Belgium
Royal Excel Mouscron become the first top-flight club to form beach soccer teams in Belgium
You may have seen a lot of beach soccer activity in Belgium on social media over the last few weeks; that’s because they have been very busy, working hard to build a bright future for our sport and inspiring the next generation, as well as existing football clubs and athletes.
Royal Excel Mouscron, whose season was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic, finished the Belgian first division in a respectable tenth place and have now become the first professional football club in Belgian’s top league to commit to a future in beach soccer.
The club now has teams in youth categories, all the way from Under-10s to Under-21s, and they are training regularly.
More good news is that the national team is looking likely to be reestablished soon, as Jeremy Chojnowski from Beach Soccer Belgium told us: “We are working with all the departments and our common goal is to revive the Red Sands as soon as possible.”
Chojnowski has been one of the key players in the boost in beach soccer activity in Belgium, which has seen research being carried out in order to encourage football teams to incorporate beach soccer into their clubs.
“Over the past two years, it has been shown and demonstrated that there is a perfect complementarity between football and beach soccer.”, he states.
“We carried out extensive research in order to convince important football community leaders by using strong sporting and financial arguments. We discussed it with RCS Brainois (a Division 3 club) in order to carry out a pilot project in their football club with 500 youngsters. The idea is to install a soccer field within the football club, to give introduction classes to all the young players of all categories at the club but also to the participants of the multi-sports training courses in the city of Braine l'Alleud.”
“The project was a huge success! We conducted a survey of young people (both boys and girls) and parents, and it turned out that more than 80% wanted to join the beach soccer club.”
As a result of the findings, the team put together a list of concrete benefits of incorporating beach soccer into a football club:
• Increase in turnover and number of members due to an increase in visitors to the facilities (shop, restaurant) as well as extending the months the club is active from nine to 12.
• It provides young people with a summer activity when the football season finishes.
• It is now proven that sand and beach soccer improve the technical and physical capacities of football players. (Explosiveness, balance, ball control etc.).
• All top players use sand rehabilitation when recovering from injuries, and the club’s football players would have access to the onsite facility.
With these solid arguments, Jeremy and the team began to approach the big clubs in Belgian football, with their ideas, and they are already seeing the results.
“Royal Excel Mouscron is the first pro club to trust us and is already proud of it. Today we have pitches in three football clubs, and are in advanced discussions with 12 others. We hope to be able to help all the other countries in the world to convince football as we do in Belgium.”
There are giant steps being taken in the small country to develop beach soccer, and it is genuinely exciting to see such advances being made in Belgium. How is beach soccer being developed in your country?