CHICAGO (April 22, 2009) — The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team has been drawn into Group B of the CONCACF Beach Soccer Championship along with Costa Rica and Bahamas. Play in the six-team tournament begins on April 29 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with the top two teams advancing to the 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai.
“Even before the draw we knew it was going to be tough,” said U.S. head coach Eddie Soto. “With the exception of Bahamas, who cannot be overlooked, every team has competed at a high level in the world of Beach Soccer.”
The U.S. opens its tournament against Bahamas on April 29, in what will be the first meeting between the two countries in Beach Soccer. Eddie Soto's U.S. team concludes Group B play against Costa Rica on May 1. The U.S. and Costa Rica have met three times before in World Cup qualifying, with the U.S. coming out on top twice.
Should the U.S. finish in the top two in Group B, the team will face an all-important cross-over match with a team from Group A. With two teams gaining berths to the Beach Soccer World Cup, the winners of the semifinals of the CONCACAF Championship will be the teams representing the confederation in Dubai.
The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team has competed in three out of four Beach Soccer World Cups. The U.S. competed in the inaugural event in 2005 in Brazil, before returning to the country for the 2006 and 2007 editions of the tournament. After missing out on the World Cup in 2008, the U.S. will look to qualify for the 2009 tournament, which will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the first time.
“I feel the experience [in our team] combined with our youth should make for a well balanced group,” continued Soto. “We have worked extremely hard in preparation for this event and look forward to being in Mexico fighting for the opportunity to reach the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai.”
CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship Groups
|Group A||Group B|
|El Salvador||Costa Rica|
CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship Schedule
|Group B||April 29||USA vs. Bahamas||5 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Group A||April 29||Mexico vs. Canada||6:15 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Group B||April 30||Costa Rica vs. Bahamas||5 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Group A||April 30||El Salvador vs. Canada||6:15 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Group B||May 1||USA vs. Costa Rica||5 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Group A||May 1||Mexico vs. El Salvador||6:15 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Fifth Place||May 2||Third Place A vs. Third Place B||3:45 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Semifinal||May 2||First Place B vs. Second Place A||5 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Semifinal||May 2||First Place A vs. Second Place B||6:15 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Third Place||May 3||Loser SF1 vs. Loser SF 2||5 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|Chamionship||May 3||Winner SF 1 vs. Winner SF 2||6:15 p.m. PT||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|