Francis Farberoff is living a dream. After captaining the USA at the first four FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups, he was the top assistant coach at the 2019 edition in Paraguay. Now, the Miami native heads the U.S. team that will play in its sixth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. The 2021 tournament will take place in Russia, a place where he can trace his roots over a hundred years ago.
“I’m super excited because I’ve been here on the other side,” Farberoff told . “It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m excited for what this team can do. We’ve built a team mixed with veterans and newer players- and they’re excited for this opportunity to show that they belong here.”
Farberoff was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to a Brazilian mother, Ester, and a Colombian father, Jorge. He spent much of his youth living in both countries, but his roots are Russian.
Moises Farberoff was born in Gomel in 1913. Now a city in Belarus, at the time Gomel was part of the Russian Empire. The Farberoffs were living in Siberia in 1926 when Moises's parents told him the family was about to start a new life on the other side of the world.
“My grandfather told me that at the time he didn’t know exactly where he was going, only that he was going to the Americas,” Francis says of his grandad’s stories. “All he knew was that it would be a new country with a new language.”
The Farberoffs settled in Medellin, Colombia. Years later, Moises married and his son, Jorge, was born. Jorge met Ester on a trip to Israel and they began their lives together in South America, raising Francis in both countries.
Medellin was a host city for the 1982 FIBA Basketball World Cup and Moises arranged to host the eventual champion Soviet Union squad.
“My grandfather was so excited that he invited the whole team to a dinner,” Francis recalls. “I got to meet the team and went to their game. He was very proud of where he came from and that has always stayed in my memory.”
At age 16, Francis moved to Miami where he lived with his grandfather. Like most South Americans, Francis found his footing on the beaches and in soccer.
He would go on to captain the U.S. Beach Soccer Men’s National Team from 2003 to 2014, appearing in over 100 matches over his 14-year international career and representing the USA at eight beach soccer world championship events, including four FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. He won four Concacaf Beach Soccer Championships in seven appearances with the Beach MNT and took home tournament MVP honors at the 2006 tournament in Costa Rica.
In July 2020, Farberoff was named head coach of both the Men’s and Women’s Beach Soccer National Teams. At his first tournament in charge, he led the Beach MNT to a second-consecutive World Cup appearance, where the U.S. will face the Football Union of Russia, Japan and Paraguay in Moscow.
“It’s a difficult group and we start with a very difficult game against the hosts,” he said. “But the guys are up for the challenge. They’re highly motivated and they believe in themselves, and I believe in them.”
Moises passed some years ago, but Francis smiles as he recalls his grandfather and where he is today.
“It’s pretty cool coming back to some of my roots,” he said. “I’m excited and if he was alive he would be very proud and excited that I’m coming back to Russia coaching the USA team in the World Cup.”