Phillip Gyau (standing right, wearing blue jersey), who played in the 2005 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, took part in the first-ever CONCACAF Beach Soccer coaching course, April 4-6, 2014, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo: Maisha Mitchell)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida -- With some of the most beautiful sandy coastlines in the world, the CONCACAF region is in prime position to make the most of beach soccer’s huge potential, says Phillip Gyau.
The 48-year-old took part in CONCACAF’s first-ever beach soccer coaching course this past weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“It was great,” said Gyau, who represented the United States in 1990 FIFA World Cup Qualifying and at the 2005 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. “I learnt a lot and the instructors were very good.
“We certainly have the beaches in this region and it is not even expensive to play – you don’t even need shoes! If you are wearing your flip-flops at the beach, you kick them off and you are right there. Beach soccer as a sport is thriving and the teams are getting better and better. I said it during the course that it is a great teaching tool to just become a better player, whether it be in terms of 11 v 11 or beach soccer. It is a great skill tool.”
Two days after the course’s completion, Gyau was named the new head coach of his alma mater -- Howard University in Washington, D.C. He said as well as being a great sport in itself, beach soccer can be a very useful development arena for the game as a whole.
“The most important thing is to get the young kids involved in it,” Gyau stressed. “You just need introducing to it – look how many Brazilians came through futsal, like Ronaldinho and, in the same way, Junior (who played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups) came through beach soccer.
“People need to know that if you take the route of beach soccer that you can veer off later into 11 v 11, it only makes you a better player.”
The Maryland-native, whose father Joseph played for the Ghana national team, noted the skill-set developed on the sand is definitely transferable to the grass.
“I used some of the training methods from beach soccer with youth teams all the time – and I had players who went on to become national team players,” noted Gyau, head coach of the U.S. national beach soccer team from 1998-2002. “It teaches you to control the ball in the air, to gain a close control….the technical skills are certainly very useful.”
The CONCACAF course for 13 coaches from four of the confederation’s member associations had a chance to get input from FIFA instructor Angelo Schirinzi as well as CONCACAF beach soccer manager Betto Lima.