When is a sport bigger than the fans or the less fortunate?
We like to show people that is never the case in beach soccer. The semi-finals begin on Saturday but that did not mean that the entire Tahiti side, players from Portugal, Russia, Italy, and FIFA representatives could not take time out of their day to teach, train, and play with disabled children from the Cerciespinho Center based in the beautiful Portuguese beach town.
Tahiti was thrilled when they learned of the charitable event and offered to bring their team for the fun activity. The captain of the Tahitian side, Naea Bennett was very happy to take part, and said, “We love children and love to do the same thing in Tahiti and it is honour to be able to do the same thing so far from home and to see the same kind of joy and happiness on the faces of the children.”
The players were all excited to work with the children on their beach soccer skills, and it was evident that the kids had played on the sand many times before. The Tahitian captain also added, “I think the kids enjoyed it because maybe they get to see some of the players on tv and then it is great for them to meet all those players and learn from them. It really was a happy experience for everyone.”
The Beach Soccer Foundation has always been dedicated to helping out those in need and doing this on a day without any beach soccer matches was a perfect fit. Joan Cusco, FIFA Beach Soccer Committee Member noted, “We do these activities all over the world and the reception and happiness is the same everywhere. The beach soccer family knows how important these events are and everyone enjoys laughing and playing with the children. These less fortunate kids also have a great time scoring on some of their idols.”
The children were also very ecstatic when the Tahitian side performed their signature Haka Dance for everyone to see. Those moments will not be forgotten by the children or the other participants. The President of the Cerciespinho Center, Doctor Lino Alberto, finished with, “This is something that the children will be talking about for a long long time.”