Last Updated on January 10, 2023

Sand soccer is a rapidly growing and exciting sport that is played on the beaches of the United States and around the world.

The North American Sand Soccer Championships (NASSC) is the premier sand soccer tournament in the United States, attracting thousands of players and fans to the beautiful Virginia Beach oceanfront every year. Another popular location for sand soccer is Huntington Beach, which host an annual surf and sand soccer tournament. Sand soccer tournaments are also held in Ocean City, Clearwater, and Wildwood, NJ.

The game is fast-paced and requires minimal dribbling, and this sport is enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels.

Playing sand soccer at the beach
Playing sand soccer at the beach

What is sand soccer?

Sand soccer, also known as beach soccer, is a variant of the popular sport of soccer that is played on a beach. The sport places a strong emphasis on skill, agility, and accuracy when shooting at the goal. With an irregular playing surface, the soft sand requires players to have a different style of play than traditional soccer, with greater improvisation.

The compact field size, smaller than a standard soccer field, allows players to score from various positions on the sand, resulting in an average of sixty shots on goal per game.

Sand soccer originated in Brazil, but has rapidly grown in popularity worldwide, including in the United States.

The first sand soccer event in the US was held in May 1994 in Virginia Beach and has since grown to become one of the largest and most popular sand soccer tournaments in the country: the North American Sand Soccer Championships (NASSC). The tournament is held annually, attracting thousands of players and spectators to the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

Rules and Gameplay

In sand soccer, each team consists of five players, including the goalkeeper, and an unlimited number of substitutions are allowed. The game is played on 25-35 or 30-40 yard grids, 5v5, with limited dribbling and an average of 60 shots on goal per game.

The game is split into three 12-minute periods, for a total of 36 minutes of gameplay. Shoes and regular socks are not allowed, although ankle guards and sand socks are permitted and are highly recommended for comfort and safety.

Soccer ball on sand at the beach.
Soccer ball on sand at the beach.

Clothing and Equipment

When it comes to clothing and gear, players can wear anything that is comfortable and allows for easy movement in the sand. Lightweight and loose-fitting clothing, such as t-shirts and shorts, are ideal for playing sand soccer. It’s also important to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

As for equipment, players are allowed to wear ankle guards and sand soccer socks, but other than that, all you need is a soccer ball. It’s a good idea to bring extra water and snacks, especially on hot days.

Formal soccer uniforms are required in some tournaments.

Sand socks

Sand socks are a type of athletic footwear designed specifically for playing sand soccer and other sand sports like beach volleyball. They typically have a lightweight, breathable upper and a durable, non-slip sole that provides excellent traction on the sand.

Sand socks are designed to protect your feet from the hot sand and also provide support and cushioning while playing. They are also great to wear over ankle guards as they help keep the sand out of the ankle guards and also keep it in place.

Sand soccer socks are widely available online, and you can purchase them from sports retailers or websites that specialize in sand soccer gear. They can also be found in some sports stores on certain areas.


National Sand Soccer Championships

The North American Sand Soccer Championships (NASSC) is the largest sand soccer tournament in the United States, attracting thousands of players and spectators to the Virginia Beach oceanfront every year.

The tournament features international teams, men’s and women’s U.S. Open Pro matches, youth teams, college teams, and “corporate-coed” teams. The tournament also features a variety of other sand sports like Beach COED Flag Football, Beach Volleyball, Sand Kickball and Sand Hockey.

The NASSC tournament purse for the U.S Open championship is Men’s & Women’s – 1st Place-$5000, 2nd Place-$2,000, 3rd Place-$1,000. The entry fee per team is $750 and the deadline to enter is April 15 of the tournament year.

The next edition of the championships will be held on June 9th-11th, 2023 in Virginia Beach, Virginia and will feature over 11,000 players from all around the world.


Read also: Sand Sports and Desert Activities

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