Each year, after the Beach Polo event in Sandbanks ends, the stadium and facilities are generously handed over on the Sunday to the Borough of Poole to provide beach based activity for disadvantaged groups with the area.
Beach Soccer again figured as a main activity of the day and 12 local teams has a really good go at converting their football skills onto the slightly more trickier surface of sand.
Head of England Beach Soccer, David Jones was joined by Player/Head Coach, Terry Bowes and current England international, Mark (Mitch) Mitchell, whom hold between them more than 275 caps. Terry and Mitch showed the players how to use the ball on the uneven sand surface, which is a different set of skills to what you need on grass.
David spoke to Colin, the Poole Town Ability Counts Team Manager and his players before they played their first game, explaining the basic differences within the rules. David supported the team during their games and was greatly impressed by their team spirit and desire to maximise their enjoyment from the day. It’s left him wondering whether EBSL can join forces and maybe host next year an Ability Counts Beach Soccer event for teams from around the country.
Much credit for the Beach Soccer element of the day has to go to Rob Amery and everyone from Longfleet YFC. It was their first attempt at hosting such an event and despite the rain, they were able to ensure that all pitches were in constant action throughout the day with everyone seeming to enjoy their sand experience.
After the action was over the Mayor of Poole, Ann Stribley, presented all teams with a medal for participating in the day and they all got take a Beach Soccer ball home with them, so hopefully they will get some practice in for next year.