Beach Soccer: Equipment + Everything You Need to Know About the Sport

Are you ready for the new summer season? Even with everything going on right now in the world, undoubtedly some people will find the possibility and suitable place to spend some time out in nature. And while at it, why not learn a different sport this summer you can play with your friends at the beach?

Last season we reviewed many different sports like spikeball and slammo, so this season we are reviewing beach soccer, all the gameplay rules along with the best ways to play, and all the needed equipment. Enjoy!

Beach Soccer Introduction

Beach soccer, also known as beach football, sand football, or beasal, is a similar sport to association football. The thing that differs is that this game is played on a beach or some form of sand. Such terrain emphasizes skill, agility, and accuracy in shooting at the goal even more than when playing association football.

Even though people have been playing football informally on beaches for many years, beach soccer appeared and was promoted as such because players wanted to codify rules for the match. That way, anyone anywhere could learn the beach soccer rules and play without any inconsistencies.

In 1992, the founders of Beach Soccer Worldwide, a company set up to develop the sport and responsible for most of its tournaments to this day, decided to unify all rules and set a name for beach soccer. Such a move led to the sport rapidly growing in popularity and being played all across the world.

The beach sand surface is softer than the grass that regular football is played on. This requires a totally different style of play than what is required in football with a greater degree of improvisation.

Additionally, the compact field in which beach soccer is played is a much smaller field than a standard football field. This enables a team to score from anywhere on the sand, leading to an average of sixty attempts at goal in a single game. Also, with an average scoring rate of one goal every three or four minutes, around eleven goals are scored in total during an average game by the teams.

The History of Beach Football

beach soccer
Beach Soccer Player

Beach football, also known as beasal or futebol de areia, draws its roots in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1950 the first official tournament was created to unite small tourneys that were organized since 1940. Ever since then, beach soccer has grown to be an international game broadcasted to large audiences in over 170 countries worldwide.

Since its early beginning, beach soccer had been played recreationally all over the world for many years and in many different formats. In 1992 the laws of the game were envisioned, and a pilot event was staged by the founding partners of BSWW in Los Angeles. By 1993, the first professional beach soccer competition was organized at Miami Beach, with teams from the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and Italy taking part.

World Growth

beach soccer
Group of friends playing beach soccer

In April 1994, the first event to be covered by network television transmissions was held on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. The success of the tournament saw commercial interest and laid the foundation for the Pro Beach Soccer Tour in 1996.

In that tournament, there were 60 games played during two years with various teams, all across South America, Europe, Asia, and the United States. As such, it attracted some notable names both in the teams and off the field.

Such tour also sparked interested in Europe and led to the creation of the European Pro Beach Soccer League in 1998, providing a solid infrastructure that would increase the professionalism of the spectacle on all levels.

The EPBSL, now known as the Euro BS League, brought promoters together from across the continent and satisfied the demands of the media, sponsors, and fans. Only four years on from its creation, the successful first step in the building of a legitimate worldwide competition structure for the sport of pro beach soccer had been taken.

During this time, there was an initiative to form a Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW) entity that would unify all major Pro Beach Soccer tournaments in the world under the same structure and providing representation of the sport to major sponsors, the media, and FIFA. This way, the sport could be represented better and gain even better quality over time.

In a short time, the Pro Beach Soccer Tour extended its horizons to the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Mexico, Greece, Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom. FIFA became the global governing body of the sport in 2005, acknowledging BSWW’s framework and organizing the first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Beach Soccer Rules of Play

beach soccer
Soccer ball on the beach

The rules of playing beach soccer are very similar to the Laws of the Game of association football. However, due to the different terrain, these two games differ vastly in some aspects of the rules. Here we will go through all of them to give you a better overview of the similarities and differences.

The Field

Beach soccer is played on a level sandy area that is considerably smaller than a regular football field. Before the game, the sand is cleared of pebbles and seashells, along with any other objects which could injure a player.

The shape of the field itself is rectangular, and the touchline is longer than the goal line.

Field Dimensions

The field dimensions are:
Length: 35–37 meters (38.3–40.5 yards)
Width: 26–28 meters (28.4–30.6 yards)

The penalty area is within 9 m (9.8 yards) of the goals and is marked by a yellow flag situated in touch. Two red flags opposite each other are at the center of the field to represent the halfway line. The goals are slightly smaller than their standard association football counterparts, being 2.2 meters (7 ft. 3 in) from the ground to the bottom of the crossbar and 5.5 meters (18 ft.) in width between the inside of each upright.

The Team

beach soccer
Beach soccer player team

Because the game field is much smaller than the regular football on grass, in beach soccer, the teams consist of five players. This includes the goalkeeper and an unlimited number of substitutions, from a selection of three to five players. Throw-ins and kick-ins mean the pace and flow of the game are much faster than regular football.

Goal clearances (the equivalent of a goal kick) are taken by the goalkeeper using their hands to throw the ball, and a goal cannot be scored directly from these.

Players are not allowed to wear shoes, so beach soccer is played with bare feet. However, everyone is allowed to wear ankle guards.

Match Length

One game of beach soccer lasts 36 minutes, and just like regular football, it is split into three periods lasting for 12 minutes. Unlike association football, in professional matches, the referee is not the sole arbiter of the end of a period.

There is a separate timekeeping official that controls the official game clock, which typically counts down to zero. The clock can be stopped for stoppages in play and resumed when the game continues.

Draws are not permitted and with the game going into three minutes of extra time, followed by a penalty shoot-out if the score is still on level terms after regular time. Unlike football, penalty kicks are directly decided.

Referees and Discipline

beach soccer
Group of friends playing soccer at the beach

Beach soccer has two on-field referees who co-operatively referee the game. They are assisted by a third referee, who acts in a manner similar to football’s fourth official and a timekeeper.

As in football, yellow and red cards can be issued. Unlike in football, the team can then bring on a substitute to replace the dismissed player after two minutes. Similar to a power play in ice hockey, this period of numerical advantage ends early if the penalized team concedes a goal.

Free Kicks and Penalties

Free kicks are awarded for various fouls. All free kicks are direct free kicks that have to be taken by the player who was fouled unless granted for deliberate handling. The laws specify that all players apart from the opposing goalkeeper must clear a zone between the kicker and the goal. Because of this and the small playing area, all free kicks represent an excellent opportunity to score. Penalties are awarded for fouls within the penalty area.

Other Major Differences from Football

  • The ball is inflated to a lower pressure (0.4–0.6 atm, compared to 0.6–1.1 atm in football)
  • Instead of a throw-in, a team may choose to take a kick-in
  • Preventing an opponent from doing a bicycle kick is a specific foul
  • Teams may not keep possession in their penalty area for more than four seconds

Beach Soccer Gear Checklist

Beach Soccer Balls ✔

Beach Soccer Socks ✔

Beach Soccer Goal ✔

Main Beach Soccer Tournaments

Similar Sports

  • 5-a-side Football — Each team fields five players on a smaller pitch, with smaller goals and reduced game duration.
  • Futsal — a variant of association football played on a smaller field and usually indoors
  • Indoor Soccer — an indoor version of Association Football developed in North America
  • Association Football — more commonly known as Football or Soccer. It is the world’s most popular sport, played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object is to score by using any part of the body except the arms and hands to get the ball into the opposing goal.
  • Swamp Football — a version of association football played in bogs or swamps.
  • Beach Basketball — a version of basketball played on sand with two teams of three players.
  • Beach Handball — a variation of Team Handball played on sand instead of indoors.
  • Beach Rugby — a version of rugby played on the sand.

Beach Soccer Conclusion

Beach soccer, ever since its invention in the 50s has been a very popular game played worldwide. In its basics, it has a similar gameplay as regular football. The main differences being the number of players and the size of the field.

Other Interesting Articles

I might earn a small commission when you make a purchase through my link, so that I can keep my site running and pay the hosting bill. Read my affiliate policy to learn more.
Best Paddle Board Banner

Download our 60-page SUP Guide

* indicates required
The Best Paddle Board of the Year

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Review written by: Tom

Hi! My name is Tom. During the year I try to be on a paddle board as much as possible. By reading this blog you'll stay updated on everything I test on the water :)