MBS tournament coming to Cocoa Beach

Major Beach Soccer tournament coming to Cocoa Beach

Article by David Berman | courtesy of FLORIDA TODAY
Published 7:04 p.m. ET March 13, 2017 | Updated 5:25 p.m. ET March 19, 2017

A large beach soccer tournament for both youths and adults has been scheduled for Cocoa Beach this summer.

The beach at Alan Shepard Park at the east end of State Road 520 will be one of four sites for the Major Beach Soccer Summer Qualifying Tournament, joining Clearwater Beach, Coquina Beach in Bradenton and Daytona Beach. The Cocoa Beach event will be the weekend of July 22 and 23.


Major Beach Soccer action during 2016 Summer Qualifying Tournament Series in the adult open division.
(Photo: Photo courtesy of Major Beach Soccer)

In announcing the addition of Cocoa Beach to the tour, Major Beach Soccer managing partner Eddie Carvacho said he is "thrilled to add Space Coast/Cocoa Beach as a host destination," and is looking forward to producing a "fun and action-packed tournament."

The tournament will have as many as 14 divisions, ranging from a coed event for players under 8 years old, to open division for adult men, adult women and coed teams, as well as a coed event for players over 30 years old. Some divisions might be combined, depending on how many teams are entered.

Carvacho said, for a first-year tournament site, 40 teams would be a good turnout for the Cocoa Beach event.


Major Beach Soccer action during 2016 Summer Qualifying Tournament Series in the youth division.
(Photo: Photo courtesy of Major Beach Soccer)

Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director Eric Garvey said the wide beaches of Cocoa Beach make it a perfect venue for beach soccer.

"Florida’s Space Coast is home to some of the best beaches in the state,” Garvey said in announcing the event. “Bringing in events like Major Beach Soccer highlights the area’s clean, safe and accessible beaches to the world. We are very happy to welcome Major Beach Soccer’s active-lifestyle and family-friendly atmosphere to Cocoa Beach. We think it's going to be a huge success for Cocoa Beach. The excitement of the games and talent of the players will bring lots of attention to our destination."

Garvey said beach sports "are an ideal segment of the sports tourism industry that we are trying to capitalize on to expose visitors to all the area has to offer.”


Major Beach Soccer action during 2016 Summer Qualifying Tournament Series in the youth coed division.
(Photo: Photo courtesy of Major Beach Soccer)

Garvey said the Space Coast Office of Tourism will pay tournament organizers $10,000 to help cover event costs and marketing. The money comes from Brevard County's 5 percent Tourist Development Tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals.

But Garvey said the county's tourism sector will recoup much more than that in added business that the tournament will generate.

Many of the players and their families also are likely to extend their stays on the Space Coast, and make a vacation out of it.

"We'll see a positive return on investment," Garvey said.

The event is expected to generate about 940 nights of hotel room rentals, and will have an estimated economic impact of $470,000.

Carvacho said his goal is "to expand the footprint" of beach soccer to new tournament sites like Cocoa Beach.

He said the Cocoa Beach location "provides tremendous value," with its proximity to such popular locations as Port Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.


Major Beach Soccer action during 2016 Summer Qualifying Tournament Series in the adult over-30 division.
 (Photo: Photo courtesy of Major Beach Soccer)

These are some of the differences between beach soccer and traditional field soccer:

Field size: Beach soccer is  played on a 40-yard-by-30-yard space. By comparison, a standard size soccer field is 120 yards long by 80 yards wide.

Goal size: The goals in beach soccer about 1 foot shorter in height and 3 feet shorter in width.

Number of players: Beach soccer teams have five players on the field at one time — four field players and a goalkeeper — compared with 11 players in conventional soccer. Five additional players are allowed on the beach soccer roster, and the coach can substitute on the fly, like in ice hockey. In traditional soccer, substitutions occur during stoppages of play.

Time of game: Beach soccer includes three 10-minute periods, so it's a 30-minute game. A field soccer game ranges from 70 to 90 minutes, divided into two halves.

Game tactics: The announcement said that, "as it is difficult to roll the ball on the sand, the strategy naturally shifts to flicks, tricks, volleys and bicycle kicks."

Garvey said many coaches of field soccer teams like their young players to also play beach soccer to help develop their skills. Garvey was a striker and midfielder on the Oglethorpe University soccer team in Atlanta, and later was inducted into  the university's Athletic Hall of Fame.

Beach soccer started in Brazil, and has been played on beaches around the world for years. The rules were codified in 1992. Beach soccer is sanctioned by FIFA, the international soccer governing body, with the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup held every two years. The next World Cup is April 27 through May 7 in the Bahamas.

Major Beach Soccer has held beach soccer tournaments in Florida for nearly 30 years.

Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., on Twitter at @bydaveberman and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dave.berman.54.